The cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) in dogs is comparable to a human's ACL, so when it is injured or torn, it can be very painful for your pooch. But, sometimes, surgery can fix it. In this post, our Nashua vets explain more about cruciate injuries in dogs and how TPLO surgery could help to restore your pup's mobility.
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) Surgery
A torn CrCL will likely need surgery to repair it. The surgery the dog undergoes to repair the cruciate ligament is called TPLO, short for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. This operation can help your dog get back to running and jumping like normal!
Unlike other surgeries, TPLO restores mobility to the dog's knee without relying on the damaged ligament for stability.
Tearing the CCL is Painful
Tibial thrust is a sliding movement caused by the transmission of weight up a dog's shin bone (tibia) and across the knee, causing the shinbone to jump forward in relation to the dog's thigh bone. This forward "thrust" movement occurs because the top of a dog's tibia is sloped, and can not prevent unwanted movement. When this movement occurs, it is very painful for your pup, which is why immediate treatment is vital.
Details of TPLO Surgery
In short, TPLO surgery eliminates the need for the cranial cruciate ligament by reconfiguring the function of your dog's knee.
The surgeon first makes a curved cut to the patient's tibia before rotating the top section of it to level the tibia and femur. Once the tibial plateau is in the desired position the TPLO surgery is completed by attaching a metal plate to stabilize the knee as it heals around the new configuration.
Recovering From TPLO - Dog Recuperation Times
Dogs will typically be able to walk on the injured leg within 24 hours of surgery, and within 2 weeks can put full and consistent weight on it again.
Recovering from TPLO surgery is a long process for dogs, but the recovery time for TPLO surgery is still much shorter than comparable operations, coming in at around 12 to 16 weeks. Expect your dog to return to full physical activity approximately 6 months after TPLO surgery.
What to Do if Your Dog Jumped After TPLO Surgery
Following your vet's post-operative instructions will help your dog to avoid re-injuring the leg while it's still healing. Your dog should not be permitted to run or jump after TPLO surgery until the knee has had time to heal. However, incidents might still occur. No one is perfect, and unfortunately, there's no way to explain to our dog friends what TPLO surgery is.
Be sure everyone in the household, including guests, is aware of the rules, and try not to leave couches or beds uncovered if your dog is used to jumping up on them prior to their TPLO surgery.
Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms following TPLO surgery:
- Signs of infection or inflammation at the incision site
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Reluctance to put weight on recovering leg
- Sensitivity to pain medications
- Loss of appetite
- Missing staples or stitches
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.