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 Hounds.
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)