To assess the effect of tibial compression on radiographic cranial tibial translation measurements in healthy dogs and those with cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) rupture and establish specific criteria for the radiographic diagnosis of CCL rupture.
Dogs were divided into 3 groups with 20 dogs each: group 1, healthy adult dogs; group 2, adult dogs with CCL rupture; and group 3, healthy young dogs. For each dog, 2 images of the stifle joint in mediolateral projection were taken, of which 1 was conventional and 1 was under tibial compression. Variables were measured in each radiographic projection: the patellar ligament angle, the patellar ligament insertion angle, the angle of tibial translation measured by 2 different methods, and the linear distance between the points of CCL origin and insertion (DPOI). Additionally, a novel variable, DPOI ratio, was evaluated.
Regarding radiographic positioning, tibial compression significantly changed most of the variables in the within-group comparison. The variable DPOI were not different with and without tibial compression in the group of healthy adult dogs but were different for dogs with CCL rupture. Thus, these are important parameters in the diagnosis of CCL rupture. In the analysis of a novel variable, DPOI ratio, dogs with CCL rupture could be distinguished from healthy dogs at a high level of specificity and sensitivity.
DPOI ratio values above 1.18 were consistently indicative of CCL rupture, thus allowing for a precise radiographic diagnosis of the condition.