Expert TPLO Surgery in Ukiah, CA

TPLO Surgery in Ukiah, CA

TPLO surgery, or tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, is a common orthopedic surgery performed on dogs who have torn their CCL (cranial cruciate ligament), which is often compared to the ACL in humans. CCL injuries are the most common orthopedic injury in dogs, so knowing how to repair it is an important skillset! At Mendocino Animal Hospital in Ukiah, CA, we work with a traveling veterinarian with the skills to perform TPLO surgery in dogs and help get them back in shape!

Schedule an appointment to discuss your pet’s surgical needs.

Mini-Series: Daisy's TPLO Surgery

Follow one of our patients, Daisy, as she journeys through TPLO surgery. Watch a transformation that starts with a limp and ends with a puppy-like demeanor!

The Diagnosis

The Surgery

The Results

What Is a Dog’s CCL?

To understand how TPLO surgery works, we must first understand the function of the CCL. The CCL is the ligament that helps the knee function as a hinge joint. A dog’s hind legs are load-bearing when *they stand*, meaning the angle in the knee is always under tension. This constant stress on the ligament is why CCL tears are one of the most common injuries. When the ligament tears, *the knee becomes unstable which causes pain, inflammation, arthritis, abnormal cartilage wear and frequently meniscal damage.*

How TPLO Surgery Works

TPLO surgery levels the angle of the tibial plateau to stabilize the knee during weight bearing. The surgery is carefully planned with computer modeling and performed using specialized surgical tools and implants. The procedure involves an incision over the inside aspect of the knee. The joint is explored to examine the damaged CCL, assess arthritis, and evaluate and treat any meniscal injuries.  Next, a semicircular bone cut is made into the top portion of the tibia and the segment is rotated to level the slope. The two pieces of bone are then held in place with a locking bone plate and screws to allow for healing.

holding dog with purple leash

Post-Operative Recovery

TPLO surgery is a major orthopedic procedure and its success rate is very high. However, it will take some time for your dog to fully heal. Typically, your dog will need rest and exercise restrictions for 8-12 weeks following the procedure in order to give the incision and bone plenty of time to heal. Here are some tips to help your dog’s recovery at home:

  • Limit exercise and always supervise any movement. It’s recommended that you always put your dog on a leash for short walks and potty breaks to prevent falls or any unnecessary movement. Slings or harnesses that support your dog’s hind legs are available if needed.
  • Monitor the incision site and keep it clean and dry. Watch to signs of swelling, bleeding, or discharge and call us immediately if you notice any of these.
  • Use an e-collar to prevent your dog from chewing or licking at the incision. In some cases, a pair of snug-fitting shorts can work as well!
  • For the first 48-72 hours following surgery, put an ice pack wrapped in a towel on the area for up to 20 minutes 2-3 times per day.
  • Administer pain medications as prescribed to minimize discomfort. If your pet still seems uncomfortable, please give us a call.
  • By about 8 weeks, your dog should be able to take longer walks of about 20 minutes. We’ll schedule a re-check exam at this point to perform X-rays and make sure everything is healing as it should.

If at any point you have questions about your dog’s recovery, don’t hesitate to contact us at (707) 462-8833!