Just like you can tear the ACL in your knee during certain activities, your dog or cat can suffer a similar injury to their cranial cruciate ligament or CCL. These injuries are especially common in dogs and cause pain in your pet. A CCL injury is bad news for your pet's mobility and their general health by extension. Pet owners who come to us at Concord Veterinary Clinic often want to know whether and which surgery can repair the injury, which is when we begin a conversation about TPLO surgery.
Sometimes a CCL tear can heal if you can keep your pet immobile long enough. However, this isn't always easy with energetic pets. Large dogs and those with joint degeneration especially may benefit from surgery. Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy or TPLO surgery can repair the torn CCL and is the most successful of the surgery options. A successful TPLO surgery reduces the likelihood that your pet will develop arthritis as a result of a CCL injury.
What Happens in TPLO Surgery
TPLO is an intensive surgery that requires a skilled pet surgery team. Before the operation, your veterinarian will take x-rays, both to verify that surgery will help the CCL tear and to assist the surgical team during the procedure. Your pet will be given anesthesia for the operation. The veterinary surgeon may want to open up the impacted joint for a closer look or make a small incision to insert an arthroscopically camera for a better look at the injury. During these procedures, the surgeon may remove damaged ligament tissue.
The surgery itself involves cutting the tibial plateau, which bears the weight in the knee, to change the angle of the knee joint (also known as the stifle). A bone graft is then fixed into place with a bone plate and screws. The veterinary surgeon will also look at the meniscus, which is a cushion between the tibia and femur, and remove damaged tissue or loosen the meniscus to prevent injury in the future. The vet will apply bandages over the area after it's close up to aid in healing. Most dogs remain in the clinic overnight after surgery. During this time, the medical team will administer pain medication as necessary.
Initially, you should restrict your dog's activity as much as possible and always walk it on a leash. You must also keep the incision site clean, apply ice for swelling, and give pain medication. After 8 weeks, your vet will take x-rays to verify healing, and physical therapy helps ensure the surgery is a success.
Get Help in Concord, CA
Call Concord Veterinary Clinic if you think your pet might benefit from TPLO surgery.