Rob McCarthy, DVM, a Professor at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, wrote an article in the Journal of Small Animal Practice: “Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury in Dogs – Are We Really Making Any Progress? (This article is free if you click on the full text option.)
Dr. McCarthy cites these widely published statistics: the incidence of cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) surgery exceeds that of anterior cruciate ligament surgeries in humans in the U.S.; the estimated repair costs in 2003 were $1.23 billion; and, as Dr. McCarthy states, “despite these staggering figures, it was recently demonstrated that not a single surgical technique consistently returns dogs to normal function.” Dr. McCarthy also notes that “seventy years ago Dr. Erwin Schroeder suggested that we could obtain ‘near perfection as far as function is concerned’ by immobilising the knee of dogs with CCL injury in a bandage.”
At the very least a brace or orthosis is something that a veterinarian should consider. This post “Dog Brace for Injured Stifle” lists companies (scroll down to comments section) that fabricate orthoses for pets, many of which use Tamarack joints. This post “Dog Braces or Orthoses for Management of Ligament Tears” discusses in greater depth the issue of CCL injuries and has a link to Tamarack’s white paper: “Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Dogs.”
I have had great success with the atrac brace from woundwear. I could not afford the surgery at the time and I was not confident that for the full tear it would be the best option. I am happy I went with the brace route for Zep!