Frequently Asked Questions

Post TPLO Surgery

Healing from TPLO surgery tends to be rapid, as long as secondary infections or other problems don’t develop. Roughly half of canine patients that receive TPLO surgery will be able to walk on the affected limb within 24 hours of surgery, and most are bearing most of their previous amount of weight on the leg within 2 weeks. At roughly 16 weeks after surgery, most dogs are able to play normally, with on very stressful activities like jumping limited.

Rehabilitative therapy under specialized veterinary supervision has proven to accelerate and even improve recovery after surgery.

However, it alone has, so far, not proven to be a complete alternative to surgery for knee ligament injuries in dogs.

Likewise, tailored knee braces are a relatively new import in canine orthopedics and have gained some praise amongst owners and veterinary professionals.

You may want to speak to your vet or surgeon about these but bear in mind, while humans commonly wear knee braces, dog knee are very different, and a brace may not necessarily show conclusive results.

General

The cranial cruciate tendon is a vital ligament in the knee (stifle) junctions of dog bones. In a person, it is mentioned to as the frontal cruciate ligament (ACL). The joint acts an important character in stabilizing the choking during mass-bearing.

It is responsible for keeping Tibia’s place at a certain point that is right below the femur, plus stabilizes the knee joints in the pet’s leg. It helps soothe during weight gaining and prevents the pet’s shin bone to move ahead joint with the thigh bone.

The cranial cruciate ligament, also known as the CCL or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), is the ligament between the thigh bone and two leg bones, connecting all bones together and helloing to stabilize the stifle joint — located between the femur bone and the knee cap.

The Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an acute or progressive failure in the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) which leads your dog to partial or complete instability of the stifle joint. This ligament often ruptures due to excessive internal rotation of tibia when the known joint is partially bent. This can be the result of running or planting hind limbs, which leads to limping and complete loss of the use of limb in critical cases.

Excessive stress on the body due to obesity, and conformational deformities of the knee greatly contribute to initial and repeated CCL/ACL injury. Most ACL/CCL injuries occur in dogs five or more years of age. As a dog ages, especially in the latter stage of a dog’s life, their body strength, activity and mobility drastically decrease.

In most cases, you’ll know your dog has sustained a ruptured CCL due to knee area being swollen, or you notice your dog in sudden pain, weakness, or instability in the hind limb or knee cap area.

However, the key diagnosis is the presence of a type of knee instability called cranial drawer sign. This occurs when the tibia moves forward when touching the femur like in the motion of a drawer being opened. This extremely painful testing is best performed when the dog is under anesthesia, allowing for the knee to totally relax.

In serious conditions, radiographs, MRI, and arthroscopic surgery are helpful diagnostics tools that are used diagnose knee injuries.

Immediate surgery is required to fix a dog’s torn or ruptured ACL/CCL. If not fixed immediately, the dog’s ligament, and possibly joint health, progressively worsens.

Historic data reveals untreated or partially treated ACL or CCL injuries always result in full tears or ruptures within a few weeks or months of sustaining initial injury.

Early surgery has been the critical key to dog’s successfully rehabbing and recovering from CCL and ACL injuries, no matter the severity.

The common surgical techniques for addressing dog knee injuries:

  • Extracapsular repair to treat smaller breed dogs
  • Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)
  • Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA)

The latter two options are the common surgeries for medium- to large-breed dogs.

Healing from TPLO surgery tends to be rapid, as long as secondary infections or other problems don’t develop. Roughly half of canine patients that receive TPLO surgery will be able to walk on the affected limb within 24 hours of surgery, and most are bearing most of their previous amount of weight on the leg within 2 weeks. At roughly 16 weeks after surgery, most dogs are able to play normally, with on very stressful activities like jumping limited.

A tibial plateau leveling osteotomy is also known as TPLO surgery. With this surgery, the angle of the femur and tibia is adjusted to reduce the amount of movement in the tibia, which shifts forward with your dog’s stride. To accomplish the surgery, a semicircular cut is made in the top of the tibial bone, which is then rotated slightly. A bone plate is placed to secure the tibia in its new position, and it heals. The new position of the tibia reduces further joint disease, such as inflammation and the development of osteoarthritis, with less mechanical stress on the knee (read more about TPLO Surgery).

Various treatments exist to alleviate the pain and instability associated with knee ligament injuries in dogs. You may have been recommended TPLO because of its speedy recovery time (2,5 to 4 months instead of 6 to 8 months for other treatments).

TPLO is also specifically indicated for dogs with a high-angled tibial slope, for whom the results of ligament reconstruction may be compromised. Typically, it will be the technique of choice for medium to large breeds, dogs above 40 pounds, those with advanced arthritis, or with bilateral damage to cruciate ligaments. Certain breeds of dog may be directed towards TPLO for partial ACL tears.

However, TPLO may not be a suitable solution for all dogs, and it may not be the once you wish for your furry companion.

While providing a certain degree of comfort, pain medication will usually only do so much for dogs suffering from ligament injuries, as it does not provide a solution to persistent instability.

Strict activity reduction (walks on leash only) is the most effective way of reducing pain. If your dog cannot have surgery, your vet will probably recommend this.

Rehabilitative therapy under specialized veterinary supervision has proven to accelerate and even improve recovery after surgery.

However, it alone has, so far, not proven to be a complete alternative to surgery for knee ligament injuries in dogs.

Likewise, tailored knee braces are a relatively new import in canine orthopedics and have gained some praise amongst owners and veterinary professionals.

You may want to speak to your vet or surgeon about these but bear in mind, while humans commonly wear knee braces, dog knee are very different, and a brace may not necessarily show conclusive results.

Effective Surgery
It is the most effective for dogs especially for dogs of a larger breed.

Quick Recovery
The recovery is very quick. The dogs can maintain their active lifestyle after one day of surgery without any medication.

Expensive
It is expensive as the surgery cost is between $3500 – $5500. Pre and post-surgery expenses are not included in this cost.

Specialized Training
TPLO is the multifarious surgery and it requires the specialized surgeons who are trained in executing the surgery.

Slow Functioning
As the surgeons cut the load-bearing facade of tibia, it lowers the functioning of the limb and not recommended by most of surgeon and not desirable procedures for pet owners.

A dog’s ACL is comprised of a substantial group of tissues that hooks up the two main bones of joint: the femur and the tibia. These bones are helpful in allowing the bones fluid mobility. Any inflammation in these bones likely leads to degeneration.

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