If you’re an aspiring veterinarian,
odds are you are going to see more than your fair share of injured knees over the coming years. Luxating patella, cruciate ligament rupture and torn meniscus are things you may see on a daily basis, so it’s critical that you develop a solid understanding of the anatomy of the canine knee from an early stage in your veterinary career.
Without fail, anytime we demonstrate EasyAnatomy to a practicing veterinarian one of the first things they ask to see is the knee. Most vets tell us stories about trying to demonstrate knee injuries to owners through a combination of textbook images, plastic models and hastily hand-drawn doodles. One of the huge advantages of interactive 3D, is that you can examine 3D structures such as the canine knee with much greater precision, ease and clarity.
This post highlights some of the key elements of the anatomy of the canine knee, and includes information such as why the structures are present, their clinical significance, and associated ligaments.
Patellar Ligament (NAV Term: Lig. Patellae)
NAV Term: Lig. Patellae
Lateral Collateral Ligament
NAV Term: Lig. Collaterale Laterale
Clinical Significance: It is possible to check the integrity of the collateral ligaments by palpating the stifle and attempting to cause varus and valgus motion of the tibia.
NAV Term: Ariculatio Femorotibialis
Associated Ligaments: The four femorotibial ligaments are the medial and lateral collateral ligaments of the stifle and the cranial and caudal cruciate ligaments.
NAV Term: Meniscus Medialis
Clinical Significance: The medial meniscus is susceptible to damage by becoming wedged between the medial femoral and tibial condyles when the joint is unstable (e.g. with cruciate ligament injury).
Cranial Cruciate Ligament
NAV Term: Lig. Cruciatum Craniale
Clinical Significance: Cranial cruciate ligament rupture is a common condition in dogs. A technique used in diagnosis is evaluation of the cranial drawer sign. This is done by grasping the distal femur in one hand (index finger on patella, thumb on lateral fabella) and the proximal tibia in the other (index finger on tibial tuberosity, thumb on caudal aspect of the tibia) and attempting to move the proximal tibia cranially, with respect to the femur. If the cranial cruciate ligament is intact, very limited movement is possible. Damage to the cruciate ligament permits increased movement, depending on the degree to which the ligament is compromised. Treatment of cranial cruciate rupture may range from conservative (in small dogs) to surgical. A few of the common surgical procedures include extracapsular stablization, tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO), and tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA).
All of the information and images in this post are taken from EasyAnatomy. The content is all written by our team of veterinary anatomists, and the goal is always to focus on the things veterinary students are most likely to need to know for exams, and for clinical practice. For a similar overview on the canine digestive system, be sure to check out our next post in this series.
To learn more about why schools such as the University of Pennsylvania, and students from over 60 schools across the world trust EasyAnatomy for their veterinary studies – head to our website: www.easy-anatomy.com/stu