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Some Common Human Injuries Also Common in Dogs

Like their human owners, dogs are at risk of suffering broken bones, torn ligaments, arthritis and congenital diseases. Fortunately for both pet owner and pet, there are veterinarians who can treat these ailments and get pets back on their feet. James Roush, an orthopedic surgeon at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at Kansas State University, is one such veterinarian.

Roush frequently performs orthopedic surgeries on small animals and repairs many different kinds of injuries.

One injury Roush treats regularly is a cruciate ligament rupture, an injury common in large breed dogs, especially dogs that are very active, or in older dogs with arthritis. The rupture occurs when dogs stands on their toes with their knee bent forward, causing the femur to bear down heavily on the cranial cruciate ligament, the only ligament opposing the femur as it pushes down. When the stress becomes too much, the ligament ruptures. Rush likened the cruciate rupture in a dog to a knee injury suffered by athletes when they tear their anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL.

"One way that we see a very active dog tear their cruciate ligament is when they jump up in the air, come down and land on one leg with a little twist and a pop. That would be similar to the way a football player or a basketball player would get a cruciate rupture," Roush said.

There are certain factors that may contribute to a cruciate ligament tear. These factors also mirror risk factors for people. Obesity, activity and genetic tendencies may all play a role in the dog's level of risk of a cruciate tear.

Like surgery to repair a torn knee in humans, there are also surgeries available to repair cruciate ruptures in dogs. The most common surgery Roush uses to repair cruciate ruptures is tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, or TPLO. The TPLO surgery levels the tibial plateau and eliminates the need for the ruptured cranial cruciate ligament. According
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