5 Important points about the Tibial Compression Test

I really like the tibial compression test (TCT), or tibial thrust, as a diagnostic tool for dogs with a damaged cranial cruciate ligament.  I have small hands and sometimes doing a drawer test on a large dog is almost impossible because I cannot properly position my hands around the dog’s limb. 

I also like that I can do the TCT with the dog standing as they seem to be more relaxed.  I also find that the TCT is more sensitive to the detection of partial tears than the drawer test.  The key to the TCT is to NEVER move the stifle, all the motion comes from the hock.  

It can take practice to get the hang of doing this test, but if you have small hands and see a lot of dogs with damaged cruciates then it will be worth taking the time to learn.  Start with a patient that is under anesthesia or heavy sedation so that you can manipulate and try different things while “keeping the dog out of it!”.