Objective—To determine whether decreases in peak
vertical force of the hind limb after transection of the
cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) would be indicative of
medial meniscal damage in dogs.
Animals—39 purpose-bred adult male Walker
Procedure—The right CrCL was transected arthroscopically.
Force plate measurements of the right
hind limb were made prior to and 2, 4, 10, and 18
weeks after transection of the CrCL. Only dogs with
≥ 10% decreases in peak vertical force after week 2
were considered to have potential meniscal damage.
Dogs that did not have ≥ 10% decreases in peak vertical
force at any time point after week 2 were
assigned to group 1. Group 2 dogs had ≥ 10%
decreases in peak vertical force from weeks 2 to 4
only. Group 3 and 4 dogs had ≥ 10% decreases in
peak vertical force from weeks 4 to 10 only or from
weeks 10 to 18 only, respectively. Damage to menisci
and articular cartilage was graded at week 18, and
grades for groups 2 to 4 were compared with those
of group 1.
Results—The percentage change in peak vertical
force and impulse area was significantly different in
groups 2 (n = 4), 3 (4), and 4 (4) at the end of each
measurement period (weeks 4, 10, and 18, respectively)
than in group 1 (27). The meniscal grade for
groups 2 to 4 was significantly higher than for group
1. A ≥ 10% decrease in peak vertical force had sensitivity
of 52% and accuracy of 72% for identifying
dogs with moderate to severe medial meniscal damage.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In dogs with
transected or ruptured CrCLs, force plate analysis can
detect acute exacerbation of lameness, which may be
the result of secondary meniscal damage, and provide
an objective noninvasive technique that delineates
the temporal pattern of medial meniscal injury.
( Am J Vet Res 2005;66:156–163)