Petworks Veterinary Services

What is a TPLO Procedure?

The TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery has become one of the most popular orthopedic surgeries performed on dogs who have torn their cranial cruciate ligament, also commonly referred to as a dog’s torn ACL.

A TPLO or a Tibial-Plateau-Leveling Osteotomy is the surgical treatment performed on dogs to secure the stifle joint after a rupture of the Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL). A dog’s CCL is comparable to a human’s Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). The CCL is the most torn major stabilizer in a dog’s knee. The TPLO surgery adjusts the angle and connection of the femur and tibia. In smaller breed dogs, there is a comparable procedure called a Lateral Suture. Like the TPLO, the lateral suture procedure provides stability to the unstable canine knee. This suture stabilizes the knee for about 12 weeks while your pet’s knee repairs itself on its own through creating scar and fibrous tissues.

Risk Factors for Cruciate Tears

Some breeds of animals are susceptible to CCL tears, but almost all breeds of dogs and cats are at risk. Breeds that CCL tears are seen most often in are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, Pitbulls, German Shepards, American Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, and Rottweilers. Dogs that are fit are at risk of a CCL tear, but obesity and poor physical condition can predispose dogs to CCL tears. CCL tears are most commonly seen in dogs aged 2-5 years old but have occurred in dogs as young as 5 months old and up to 14 years of age.

Symptoms of CCL Tear in Dogs

  • Mild to severe lameness
  • Shifting weight from the affected leg
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Difficulty when jumping into/onto surfaces (such as the couch or into a vehicle)
  • Reduced activity level.
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Inflammation of affected leg
  • The affected leg is non-weight bearing.
  • Decreased muscle mass (muscle atrophy)

Most of the time, these symptoms show up gradually, with some symptoms they can progressively worsen in time.

Recovery Process

The healing from a TPLO surgery is generally quick.

  • Approximately half of patients following the TPLO surgery will begin walking on the repaired leg within 24 hours.
  • After two weeks postoperatively, most dogs will bear moderate to complete amounts of weight on the mended leg.
  • At 4 months postoperatively, most dogs can resume walking and playing activities, while still keeping more intense activity restricted.
  • Full physical activity following TPLO surgery can be expected to return approximately 6 months post-operatively.

Following the procedure your dog will need several re-check examinations and possible X-rays to ensure proper healing. To ensure proper healing we recommend confining your pet to controlled leash walks for 6-8 weeks.

Who is Specialized to Perform the TPLO Surgery?

Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine / Mobile Veterinary Surgery

Dr. Andrea DeLuke, DVM Mobile Veterinary Surgeon is our MOVES™ Veterinary Surgery partner. Dr. DeLuke is available to perform advanced soft tissue and orthopedic surgeries at Petworks Veterinary Hospital. Dr. DeLuke earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Ross University in 2004 and later completed a small animal surgery residency at Mission MedVet in Mission, KS.

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