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What Is TPLO?

TPLO, or Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, is a very common orthopedic surgery performed on dogs. The surgery is done to stabilize the knee joint if there is a rupture of the Cranial Cruciate Ligament. This procedure is unique to our pets and is considered the optimal repair of an injured knee joint ligament.

Dog laying down in between sheets

Optimal Repair for Knee Joint Ligaments

If a dog has a rupture of the Cranial Cruciate Ligament, the knee will become very unstable. When the dog puts its weight on the leg, the limb will be unsteady and feel like it is “giving way”. The instability is due to the shin bone (tibia) moving forward in relation to the thigh bone (femur). This unsteadiness will cause the dog to become “lame”, or Non-Weight Bearing.

The goal of a TPLO surgery is to make the tibial plateau perpendicular to the long axis of the bone. Performed correctly, it will prevent the shin bone(tibia) from moving forward. After the surgery, the stifle will feel stable and the dog will be able to put weight on the leg. This procedure is highly successful in returning our beloved dogs to their normal active selves (usually within a few months) and preventing crippling osteoarthritis later in life.

Reed Animal Hospital is very experienced with TPLO Surgery.

Should My Dog Have a TPLO?

TPLO is a surgery that has many benefits and only a few complications. These issues should be discussed between the owner and their veterinarian to determine if the benefits of surgery outweigh the potential risks and if there are any other options for treatment that could be more successful.

vet with golden retriever

The TPLO Procedure

The Cranial Cruciate Ligament prevents the knee joint from excessive front to back motion. In some cases, the slope of the tibial plateau (the upper portion of the tibia, near the knee) becomes excessively slanted. This slope causes constant stress on the cruciate ligament. Over time, the stress can cause the ligament to rupture, after which the knee joint becomes insecure and leads to pain and arthritis if left untreated.

In the TPLO procedure, the tibial plateau is cut and rotated to change its slope to approximately 5 degrees from being horizontal. The change in the angle prevents the femur from sliding down the slope of the tibial plateau when weight is placed on the knee to re-stabilize the joint. The recovery time of the TPLO surgery is generally fast in comparison to the other knee-stabilizing procedures. After surgery, most dogs regain an active lifestyle without pain or long-term complications.

After TPLO Surgery

Post-surgical care of your dog after a TPLO procedure is extremely important. Orthopedic Rehabilitation can take months, including follow up visits in the first weeks after the surgery. These visits will be critical to confirm everything is healing properly and will include suture removal approximately 2 weeks after surgery is performed. It is more than likely your dog will need to wear a plastic E-Collar to prevent them from licking or chewing at the surgery site during the initial healing process.

For the first 2 weeks, exercise needs to be very closely limited. In the following weeks after that, controlled exercise is gradually increased with the careful direction of your veterinarian. Each individual dog recovers at their own rate.

The professionals at Reed Animal Hospital have specialty surgeons that regularly visit to perform TPLOs among other orthopedic procedures. As a team, these professionals and the Reed Animal Hospital staff will monitor your dog’s progress during the routine check-ups to make sure your dog’s recovery is smooth and successful.

We Treat Your Pet as if They Were Our Own