One reason so many dog lovers adore their dogs is their willingness to work hard, love hard, and play hard. All that enthusiasm can take its toll on a dog, specifically the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). It’s similar to the anterior cruciate ligament in humans. The ligament may deteriorate to where your dog needs tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery.
What Is TPLO Surgery?
Your dog may injure its CCL while playing or have it break down as they age. CCL ruptures make a dog’s knee joint unstable and are one of the major causes of hind limb lameness. TPLO surgery helps restore natural limb function to the knee, helping your dog become more mobile.
Medium and large-sized dogs are typically the ones who end up needing TPLO. Sault Animal Hospital experienced staff understands how much you love your dog and want the best for them. We make sure they are safe and comfortable throughout the TPLO surgery procedure.
How Does TPLO Surgery Work?
The Sault Animal Hospital staff examines your dog and assesses its overall physical health. We talk with you about what the procedure involves, how long it will take, and what you can expect after we complete the surgery.
Once you give the go-ahead, we provide appropriate anesthesia to your dog. Options for pain management include:
- Injectable drugs
- Nocita (local anesthesia block)
The surgeon explores the joint and removes any torn pieces of the CCL. Next, they make a cut at the top of the tibia, or shinbone. Next, the surgeon rotates the bone to shorten the slope of the tibial plateau. The TPLO surgery procedure ends with the surgeon stabilizing the two bone segments using a plate and screws. That remains in place until the bone completely heals.
Rotating and leveling the tibial plateau should keep the thigh bone, or femur, from sliding down the tibia slope, helping to keep the knee stabilized.
How Long Does it Take for a Dog to Recover From TPLO Surgery?
The vet may provide you with a prescription for oral pain medication. It takes most dogs around 10-12 weeks to fully heal and resume their previous activity level. Most TPLO surgeries result in dogs recovering 90 to 95% of normal function.
Dogs typically return for a post-surgery checkup after two weeks, then rescheduled as needed. Restrict your dog’s activity to short walks on a leash. Talk with the vet about how you can safely restrict the dog’s movements.