Tessa's Tough Time

Tessa is a 7 year old Golden Retriever that came in to see Dr. Tania Mullen at our clinic after her owners noticed that she had become acutely lame after running after a ball.

Tessa’s lameness and our physical examination indicated strongly that she had injured the left anterior cruciate ligament. The underlying cause is not well understood but is known as the cruciate disease complex. This is a degenerative disease where the cruciate ligaments weaken over time and the stifle joints become degenerative. In order to confirm this we referred Tessa to our staff Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Andrew Jacotine who then examined Tessa under general anaesthetic. The anaesthetic ensured she was relaxed and pain free; which allowed him to assess her injury objectively. He confirmed that the stifle was stable and the findings were consistent with a partial tear.

As the damage occurred over time, the joint had undergone some permanent changes in response. Some of these permanent changes include thickening of the joint capsule and degeneration of the joint cartilage. Radiographs of the left hind leg were taken for measuring and showed degenerative arthritic changes.

In order to address the injury it was decided that she would need surgical intervention. Dr Andrew Jacotine examined Tessa's cruciate ligaments with a small endoscopic camera and found that the anterior cruciate ligament was indeed ruptured, consistent with the clinical findings. Tessa's knee joint showed some degenerative changes on the cartilage lining the joint.

After having a thorough look at the cartilages in the joint Dr Andrew ascertained that the medial meniscus appeared normal and then surgically removed the damaged section of Tessa's cruciate ligament. The aim was to change the angles of Tessa's joint to provide dynamic stability of the left stifle. Tessa's surgery was a success and Dr. Andrew achieved the desired changes. Tessa is currently enduring a three week period of strict rest, which includes her being confined to a small area to allow for the healing of her surgical wound, soft tissues and bone. She will also be receiving extended pain relief and will undergo a course of synovan injections.

We wish her and her family the best of luck for a full recovery.