01584: Creation of a Conformation Score to Evaluate Susceptibility to Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $34,000
Dominique J. Griffon, DVM PhD; Western University of Health Sciences
January 1, 2012 - June 30, 2014

Sponsor(s): Giant Schnauzer Club of America, Great Pyrenees Club of America, Labrador Retriever Club, Inc., National Beagle Club, Samoyed Club of America Education & Research Foundation, Standard Schnauzer Club of America

Breed(s): Labrador Retriever
Research Program Area: Musculoskeletal Conditions and Disease
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Project Summary

A torn ligament in the knee, known as cranial cruciate ligament deficiency (CCLD), is the leading cause of lameness affecting the knees of large breed dogs. Our research focuses on ways to identify individual dogs that are susceptible to this problem and, ultimately, prevent CCLD. We previously developed a “CCLD conformation score” to differentiate limbs of Labradors with or without CCLD based on their characteristics. We later found that sound Labradors with a high “CCLD conformation score” displayed stride and body mechanics that could predispose them to CCLD. We intend to evaluate the ability of this score to predict CCLD in a large pet population.

A total of 167 Purebred Labradors with CCLD and those at low risk for the disease have been recruited from several practices. Radiographs have been obtained to calculate the “CCLD conformation score” of each limb. Measurements have been made and analyzed on a preliminary set of 158 limbs. Based on these results, the conformation score seems to have a high predictive value, supporting its potential role to detect Labradors at risk for CCLD. The lack of difference between right and left limbs within dogs suggests that the score on one limb may be used to predict the risk of CCLD in a dog.   Once confirmed on a larger population, these results will help us understand the relationship between body characteristics and CCLD in Labradors. Ultimately, successful identification of dogs predisposed to CCLD is the first and crucial step in developing strategies to reduce the risk or delay the onset of CCLD.


Cunningham, D. P., Mostafa, A. A., Gordan-Evans, W. J., Boudrieau, R. J., & Griffon, D. J. (2017). Factors contributing to the variability of a predictive score for cranial cruciate ligament deficiency in Labrador Retrievers. BMC Veterinary Research, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-017-1154-9

Griffon, D. J., Cunningham, D., Gordon-Evans, W. J., Tanaka, R., Bruecker, K. A., & Boudrieau, R. J. (2017). Evaluation of a scoring system based on conformation factors to predict cranial cruciate ligament disease in Labrador Retrievers. Veterinary Surgery, 46(2), 206–212. https://doi.org/10.1111/vsu.12593

Keebaugh, A. E., Redman-Bentley, D., & Griffon, D. J. (2015). Influence of leash side and handlers on pressure mat analysis of gait characteristics in small-breed dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 246(11), 1215–1221. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.246.11.1215

Mostafa, A. A., Cunningham, D. P., Boudrieau, R. J., Kowaleski, M. P., & Griffon, D. J. (2018). Influence of radiographic techniques on the measurement of femoral anteversion angles and a conformation score of pelvic limbs in Labrador Retrievers. Veterinary Surgery, 47(3), 421–430. https://doi.org/10.1111/vsu.12782

Ragetly, C. A., Griffon, D. J., Hsu, M. K. I., Klump, L. M., & Hsiao-Wecksler, E. T. (2012). Kinetic and kinematic analysis of the right hind limb during trotting on a treadmill in Labrador Retrievers presumed predisposed or not predisposed to cranial cruciate ligament disease. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 73(8), 1171–1177. https://doi.org/10.2460/ajvr.73.8.1171

Ragetly, C. A., Griffon, D. J., Klump, L. M., & Hsiao-Wecksler, E. T. (2012). Pelvic Limb Kinetic and Kinematic Analysis in Labrador Retrievers Predisposed or at a Low Risk for Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease: Pelvic Limbs Kinetic and Kinematic Analysis in Labrador Retrievers. Veterinary Surgery, 41(8), 973–982. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-950X.2012.01042.x

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