An Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury is as devastating for dogs as it is for humans. Without being too technical, the ACL runs from the back of the lower femur to the front of the upper tibia, in the stifle (knee) joint. It stops the tibia (lower leg) from moving forward when we place weight through the knee joint. Tearing of the ACL leads to marked pain and lameness, and usually, cartilage damage as well if the stifle is not stabilised.
There are many surgical options for stabilising the stifle after tearing the ACL. The technique that we use is called MMP or Modified Maquet Procedure. This is a modification of another procedure commonly used by specialist veterinary surgeons called TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement). MMP was developed after much research to provide both a rapid method of stabilisation/return to function and a very low complication rate. The development of this procedure was also undertaken to provide a much less costly, yet highly successful, method of stabilisation that meant more people could afford to have ACL tears treated in their pets.
In brief, a titanium foam wedge is placed in a cut in the tibial tuberosity (upper front part of the tibia). Using the extra force generated in the patella tendon, this forces the tibia back and results in normal stifle stability. Bone grows into the wedge, resulting in a very strong, permanent method of correction of the ACL tear. The aim of the surgery is not just to solve the problem, but to actually return the dog to its previous level of activity.
The procedure is usually performed as a day procedure and usually takes less than 30 minutes surgery time. The implants (titanium wedge/staple/pin) alone for this procedure costs us around $400 to buy, yet we are offering this surgery for between $1,050 and $1,200. We are confident that you will not find this surgery anywhere near this price anywhere else in Australia, let alone Melbourne. We have done this on purpose, as part of our philosophy and the large amount of rescue work we perform, to allow more pet owners access to a high-quality method of stifle stabilisation post-ACL tear.
Returning the stifle to stability, as well as leading to a more normal life for the pet involved, also delays the onset of arthritis in the stifle later on. Unfortunately, there is no surgical procedure that will stop arthritis developing over time, post-ACL tear. This is where we use pentosan polysulphate (zydax and cartrophen) injections to look after the health of the joint, which helps avoid arthritis later on. They are used as a series of weekly injections under the skin for four weeks and repeated every three to six months. The majority of our clients are happy to give these to their pet themselves at home, thus being more convenient and cheaper, by saving on revisit fees.
Here are some important links that you’ll find handy:
If you’d like to book an appointment for your dog to undergo our ACL repair treatment, get in touch with us anytime.
Related Tag: Melbourne Veterinary Specialist Centre