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Detecting meniscal injury in dogs: are physical tests useful?

S. Valen, C. McCabe, E. Maddock, S. Bright, B. Keeley

CRANIAL cruciate ligament failure is the most significant underlying factor for development of meniscal injury in the canine stifle joint. Non-invasive methods of diagnosing meniscal injury in dogs include MRI, CT arthrography and ultrasonography. However, both MRI and CT arthrography are expensive and typically require sedation or general anaesthesia, and results from ultrasound can vary depending on the operator. Physical tests are available, affordable and can be easily performed, but their efficacy in diagnosing medical meniscal injury is considered low.

This study aimed to assess the diagnostic efficacy of physical tests in predicting medial meniscal injury in dogs with cranial cruciate ligament failure.

Dogs admitted for surgical stabilisation of stifles with cranial cruciate ligament failure were examined by five preoperative physical tests to assess medial meniscal injury: the tibial compression test (TCT), cranial drawer test in flexion and extension and range of motion, and a modified tibial compression test (mTCT), which involved performing TCT under axial loading through a full range of stifle motions. Results of each physical test were compared with findings at arthrotomy and used to calculate …

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