To compare the long-term outcome of tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) and extracapsular repair (ECR) for treatment of a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament (RCCL).

Study Design

Prospective clinical trial.


Normal adult dogs (control, n = 79); dogs with unilateral CCL disease (n = 38).


Dogs had TPLO (n = 15) or ECR (n = 23) for treatment of RCCL. Force plate gait analysis was performed for the control group at one time point and for treatment groups at serial points: preoperatively, 2 weeks, 8 weeks, 6 and 12 months postoperatively. Symmetry indices (SIs) were calculated between operated and unoperated pelvic limb for ground reaction forces (GRFs), including peak vertical force (PVF), contact time (CT), and vertical impulse (VI). GRFs of the treatment groups and control group were compared using a general linear model and Kaplan–Meier survival analysis.


At 8 weeks, for PVF and VI, the TPLO group had more symmetric limb loading than the ECR group at the walk and trot. SIs of the TPLO group were not different from the control group by 6 months to 1 year postoperatively. SIs for the ECR group were less symmetrical than the control group at all time periods. Using survival analysis, median time to normal function was no different at the walk between groups, but was shorter for the TPLO group for VI and PVF.


Dogs achieved normal limb loading faster after TPLO than ECR. TPLO resulted in operated limb function that was indistinguishable from the control population by 1 year postoperatively.