Cruciate Ligament Rupture

Description: The cruciate ligament is the band of connective tissues at the knee joint that helps to provide stability. Cruciate ligament injuries describe either a partial or a complete tear of the cruciate ligaments in the knee. This injury can occur in both dogs and cats, and may occur in one or both back legs.

Causes: Cruciate injuries can occur in any healthy dog or cat, any age or breed, simply by landing "wrong" while running or playing. A tear or complete rupture is more likely to occur with repetitive movements, causing micro-injuries to the area. Overweight dogs may face a greater risk due to the increased weight on their joints. It may also be caused by structural abnormalities which cause undue stress on the ligaments.

Symptoms: When a pet injures its cruciate ligament, the limb will suddenly appear lame, including limping or inability to bear weight on the leg, and may have unusual range of movement. Additional symptoms include pain and swelling.

Diagnosis: Your veterinarian will examine the leg for unusual movement of the joint. A diagnostic evaluation includes a cranial drawer test, which requires specific manipulation of the joint to test its mobility. If the joint is very swollen, they may also take radiographs to confirm the injury.

Treatment: Torn cruciates usually require surgery. If not treated and the dog weighs over 20 pounds, it can lead to permanent damage. Cat and dogs weighing less than 20 pounds may not need surgery.
During surgery, the vet will open the knee joint to remove pieces of the torn ligament and check for damage. There are a few different surgical procedures that repair a torn cruciate ligament, with the two most common being TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) and TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement). Both types of surgeries create stability by altering the angle of the knee and using implants to hold it in place while the joint heals in its new position. Your veterinarian will discuss which option is best for your pet.

Example claim 1:

Total claim amount: $6,798.45
Deductible applied: $0.00
10% co-insurance: -$653.45
Trupanion repaid: $5,881.01
Example claim 2:
Total claim amount: $4,957.94
Deductible applied: $0.00
Ineligible costs (boarding, exam fee): $206.22
10% co-insurance: -$475.17
Trupanion repaid: $4,276.55


TPLO surgery: $1,500-$3,000+

Breeds prone to Cruciate Ligament Rupture include: