Objective—To determine prevalence of the contralateral radiographic infrapatellar fat pad sign and contralateral radiographic degenerative sign (degenerative changes) and evaluate both signs as risk factors for subsequent contralateral cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) rupture in dogs with unilateral CrCL rupture.
Design—Retrospective cohort study.
Animals—96 dogs with unilateral CrCL rupture and 22 dogs with bilateral CrCL rupture.
Procedures—Dogs with unilateral CrCL rupture were classified as having normal (n = 84) or abnormal (12) contralateral stifle joints on the basis of joint palpation. Associations between potential predictive variables and rates of subsequent contralateral CrCL rupture were evaluated.
Results—Of the 84 dogs with unilateral CrCL rupture in which the contralateral stifle joint was palpably normal, 29 (34.5%) had a contralateral fat pad sign and 31 (36.9%) had a degenerative sign. All dogs with unilateral CrCL rupture in which the contralateral stifle joint was palpably abnormal had a contralateral fat pad sign and degenerative sign. The contralateral fat pad sign was the most important risk factor for subsequent rupture of the contralateral CrCL. For dogs with unilateral CrCL rupture and palpably normal contralateral stifle joint with and without a contralateral fat pad sign, median time to subsequent rupture was 421 and 1,688 days, respectively, and the 3-year probability of subsequent rupture was 85.3% and 24.9%, respectively.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Bilateral stifle joint radiography should be performed for all dogs with CrCL rupture. Bilateral stifle joint arthroscopy should be considered for dogs with a contralateral fat pad sign.