Recommendations for rehabilitation after surgical treatment of cranial cruciate ligament disease in dogs: A 2017 survey of veterinary practitioners

Eiermann J, Kirkby-Shaw K, Evans RB, Knell SC, Kowaleski MP, Schmierer PA, Bergh MS, Bleedorn J, Cuddy LC, Kieves NR, Lotsikas P, Pozzi A.
Vet Surg. 2019 Aug 7. doi: 10.1111/vsu.13294.

OBJECTIVE: To report current recommendations made by veterinarians for rehabilitation after surgical treatment of cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) disease.

STUDY DESIGN: Anonymized electronic survey.

SAMPLE POPULATION: Veterinarians performing CrCL stabilization.

METHODS: An electronic survey was created to collect information on general attitudes toward postoperative rehabilitation and recommendations regarding therapeutic modalities and bandaging. Quantitative data are reported by descriptive statistical analysis, percentage of responses, or mean (±SD). The recommendations for postoperative bandaging beyond 24 hours and for postoperative rehabilitation after extracapsular stabilization compared with after tibial osteotomy were tested by using Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel tests, with P < .05 considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: The data analysis included 376 responses (13% response rate). Most (71%) respondents consistently recommended postoperative rehabilitation. Rehabilitation was more than twofold more likely to be recommended after extracapsular stabilization than after osteotomies (P = .0142). Most respondents did not recommend bandaging beyond 24 hours postoperatively (P = .00012).

CONCLUSION: Most respondents recommended either formal or informal postoperative rehabilitation therapy.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: If the survey respondents are representative of veterinarians performing CrCL surgery, the current attitude is supportive of postsurgical rehabilitation. Most respondents would welcome evidence-based guidelines for rehabilitation protocols.