Stifle or knee pathology is a common problem in small animal medicine with rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament being the most common injury. Ultrasound examination is now considered cutting-edge technology in evaluating the stifle joint.  A recent article published in JAVMA highlights the usefulness of ultrasound in diagnosing stifle injuries when performed by an experienced veterinary sonographer (J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2017 Jul 1;251(1):71-79).

Ultrasound has many advantages over other imaging modalities.  Unlike MRI or CT, ultrasound does not require anesthesia, and it costs significantly less. Ultrasound examination is quick, reliable, and noninvasive with no radiation exposure. Best of all, orthopedic ultrasound can be performed in your own hospital, providing your clients with the convenience and comfort of knowing that you are actively involved in their pet’s care.

There are multiple indications for a stifle ultrasound.  The primary indication is to evaluate for a cranial cruciate ligament rupture, especially when a drawer sign cannot be elicited.  Ultrasound is also helpful in assessing for evidence of a medial meniscal tear.  In addition, Dr. Weisman will evaluate the infrapatellar fat pad, patellar ligament, and quadriceps ligament and check for joint effusion.  She will also examine the bony surfaces of the tibia, patella, and femur for any evidence of degenerative joint disease (DJD) and other pathology that may influence treatment options.  Knowing what lesions are present will aid the surgeon in planning surgical technique and post-operative therapy.  Should lameness recur post-operatively, ultrasound can be used detect wound infection and other complications.

Do you currently have a patient where you are concerned about a cranial cruciate ligament rupture or meniscal tear?  Minnesota Veterinary Ultrasound would like to help!  Dr. Melissa Weisman was trained in orthopedic ultrasound by the European board-certified radiologist, Dr. Nele Ondreka, an international leader in the field of musculoskeletal ultrasound and head of the University of Giessen’s Diagnostic Imaging Services in Germany. Dr. Weisman’s current stifle orthopedic ultrasound package includes sonographic evaluation of both the affected stifle and the contralateral limb as well as additional review by a boarded radiologist.  Results are available within 24 hours or the next business day.  Have questions?  Please feel free to contact Dr. Weisman at or 651-456-8738 (cell).