The cranial cruciate ligament rupture is one of the most common causes of canine hind limb lameness. The radiographic and ultrasonographic are methods of diagnosis frequently used in small animal clinics, but there are few studies of computed tomography to exam the stifle joint in dogs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the contribution of negative contrast in computed tomography arthrography of the normal stifle of dogs for the visualization of intra-joint structures, and to standardize the use of contrast in this joint. Twenty-four hind limbs from dogs of several breeds were used. They were selected based on history of absence of previous stifle joint disease and normal radiographic, ultrasonographic and macroscopic exams. The experiment was designed in two groups: Group I animals weighing up to 20 kg, and Group II animals weighing above 20 kg. Tomographic sections were done with the limb flexed and extended. The amount of air used for the joint capsule distension was approximately 49 ml for group I and 81 ml for group II. A latex tube was used on the distal portion of the stifle to reduce air escaping through the long digital extensor tendon, which has intra-joint communication. In all joints, the tomographic image allowed the visualization of the following structures: cranial and caudal cruciate ligament, medial and lateral menisci, patellar ligament, medial and lateral collateral ligament and joint capsule. Thus, the negative contrast (air) showed to be an effective alternative in the evaluation of the stifle anatomical structures by using tomography arthrography.
Imaging diagnostic; joint; small animal; ligaments