Arthroscopic surgery is the current standard of care for human knee joint surgery; however, the veterinary community has not yet adopted this technique. It is commonly reported in human and veterinary literature that meniscal tears contribute to the pain and arthritis associated with injuries to the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). This retrospective study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of arthroscopically detected meniscal injuries in dogs with CCL injuries. Records for 94 large dogs weighing more than 20 kg (44 lb) with 100 injured CCLs (6 dogs had 2 injuries each) examined arthroscopically by one of the authors during 1999 to 2000 were reviewed. Seventy-seven dogs had tears of the lateral meniscus, and 58% had tears of the medial meniscus. No other significant relationships were detected. Although the clinical significance has not been determined, the new finding indicates that meniscal injury may be more common in dogs with CCL injuries than was previously recognized. Most meniscal tears in dogs cannot be viewed well enough for reduction and repair, so partial meniscectomy is the traditionally recommended treatment. Minimally invasive arthroscopy, by allowing examination of the joint under magnification with more physiologic aqueous conditions, may permit better evaluation and treatment of such changes.

COMMENTARY: Using arthroscopy, the authors identified an increased incidence of meniscal injuries associated with CCL injuries, pointing out the emerging importance of arthroscopy for diagnosing and treating joint disease in dogs.

Arthroscopic evaluation of menisci in dogs with cranial cruciate ligament injuries: 100 cases (1999-2000). Ralphs SC, Whitney WO. JAVMA 221:1601-1604, 2002.