Common Mistakes made by Veterinarians when doing the Drawer Test

The drawer test is one that we commonly perform and rely on to determine whether or not a patient has a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL).

Unfortunately, the drawer test is one that will give false positive results when inappropriately performed.

To properly do a drawer test:

1. Place the patient in lateral recumbency and allow him/her to relax.

2. Place the stifle in a natural standing position; do not place in a flexed or extended position.

3. The hand on the femur should be just above the stifle and it serves to STABILIZE the femur; it does not move.

4. The hand on the tibia is positioned at the very top of the tibia with the index finger on the tibial crest and the thumb directly behind the tibial plateau.

5. The thumb is then pushed straight forward, causing the tibia to slide forward (or not).

6. The hand on the tibia relaxes and the tibia is allowed to slide back into place.

7. Repeat steps 1-5 several times until you have determined if the CrCL is intact or not.

Watch the video to see how the test is properly performed and for more information.