Dogs have what is known as the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), it is comparable to a human's ACL and helps their knee function correctly. It is also one of the most likely places for traumatic injury in our canine companions. Today our San Diego vets discuss the details of TPLO surgery, dogs who need it, and what to do if your dog jumped before they were fully recovered.
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) Surgery
If your dog tears their cranial cruciate ligament, your vet will probably recommend a surgery called TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) to fix it. TPLO can help your dog regain their ability to run and jump just like before!
What makes TPLO different from other surgeries is that it restores mobility to your dog's knee without depending on the injured ligament for stability.
Tearing the CCL is Painful
If your dog has a torn cruciate ligament, pain arises from the knee's instability and a motion called 'tibial thrust'.
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.
Details of TPLO Surgery
TPLO surgery helps your dog's knee by reconfiguring it, removing the need for the cranial cruciate ligament.
During TPLO surgery, the surgeon makes a curved cut in the tibia and then rotates the top section called the tibial plateau. This repositioning levels the tibia and femur. To ensure stability during the healing process, a metal plate is attached to the knee, allowing it to heal in the new configuration.
Recovering From TPLO - Dog Recuperation Times
Following TPLO surgery, dogs will be able to walk on the leg within 24 hours, and most will be bearing moderate amounts of weight on the leg within 2 weeks.
Recovering from TPLO surgery is a long process for dogs, but the recovery time for TPLO surgery is still much shorter than comparable surgeries, coming in at around 12-16 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
To prevent your dog from re-injuring their leg during the healing process, it's important to follow your vet's post-operative instructions. After TPLO surgery, your dog should avoid running or jumping until their knee has fully healed. However, accidents can still happen because we can't explain TPLO surgery to our furry friends.
Make sure everyone in the household, including guests, knows the rules, and consider covering couches or beds if your dog is accustomed to jumping on them before the surgery. While recovery from TPLO surgery is typically complication-free, it's best to minimize jumping or running as much as possible. If your dog has recently jumped, be extra watchful and monitor their condition closely.
A single instance of exerting the knee too early should be okay, but it's important to limit these activities as much as you can.
You'll want to contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- 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
Your vet will be able to examine your pup for signs of complications and treat any issues before they become more severe.
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.