OBJECTIVE: To assess the relationship between histologic degeneration of cranial cruciate ligaments (CCLs) and severity of synovitis and ligament vascularity.
SAMPLE: CCL and synovium from 59 stifle joints (53 dogs).
PROCEDURES: CCL and synovium specimens were obtained from stifle joints of juvenile (15 joints; 12 dogs) and adult (25 joints; 22 dogs) dogs with intact CCLs and dogs with CCL rupture (rCCL; 19 joints; 19 dogs). Vascular density and degenerative changes of the CCL core region and severity of synovitis were semiquantitatively evaluated. Relationships were analyzed by use of a random effects model to account for correlated specimens.
RESULTS: Mean ± SD modified Bonar scores (scale, 0 to 9) of adults (4.85 ± 0.44) and dogs with rCCL (5.69 ± 0.49) were significantly higher than scores of juveniles (1.13 ± 0.55). Vascularity scores (scale, 0 to 3) were significantly higher for juveniles (3.00 ± 0.24) than for adults (1.53 ± 0.27) and dogs with rCCL (0.78 ± 0.23). Synovitis scores were not significantly different among groups. There was a significant negative relationship between modified Bonar scores and vascularity scores for juveniles and adults and for adults and dogs with rCCL when controlling for age, but there was not a significant relationship between modified Bonar scores and synovitis scores. There was a significant relationship between modified Bonar scores and body weight of adults.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Poor blood supply to the core region could be an important underlying condition for spontaneous degeneration of the CCL in at-risk dogs.