Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy

Published: 06th November 2010
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The knee of a dog and a human's knee are very similar. To keep the knee of a dog stable, the cranial cruciate ligament is inside of the joint to the job. The cranial cruciate ligament prevents the femur from sliding forward and backward on the tibia. If the dog tears the cranial cruciate ligament a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy - TPLO surgery will need to be done. The TPLO surgery costs $1,500 to $5000 and most veterinarians want 80% down before the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy surgery is done.
When your dog has had the surgery, the recovery will take some time. A dog's recovery from TPLO surgery is speedy and complete. A dog with a partial tear will recover faster that a dog with a complete tibial plateau leveling osteotomy repairs.
If a total tibial plateau leveling osteotomy surgery has been done, it may be 2 weeks after the surgery before full weight bearing can be expected.
The veterinarian will want an X-ray of the dog's knee will be done in 6 to 8 weeks after the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy surgery. There should be little or no sign of lameness in the dog. All signs of Lameness should be gone 10weeks after TPLO surgery.
2 months after theTPLO surgery, walks on the leash should be increased regularly each week. If you walk your dog more times per day after the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy surgery, this is a lot better than increasing the length of the walk.
4 months after the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy surgery, most of the dog's restrictions of exercise should be finished. Hunting, agility exercising, etc. should begin 6 months after the TPLO surgery. Any unrestricted activity prior to 6 months following the TPLO surgery, can cause spraining of the soft tissues of the patellar ligament, resulting in a sprain and longer recovery.
The veterinarian will require yearly x-rays done after the TPLO surgery of the stifle, soft tissues of the patellar ligament, while examining the stifle to evaluate for arthritis. The dog's chance of getting degenerative joint disease is lessened with the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy surgery. Most dogs return back to full working function after a TPLO surgery.

The most important concern is death from anesthesia. (This is a rare occurrence.)
TPLO Surgery, like any surgery has the risk of infection. Dogs tend to want to clean their wounds. By licking the surgery site bacteria from the dogs tongue can cause an infection in the wound. Antibiotics will be used during surgery for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. Another way to prevent the dog from reaching the incision area after TPLO Surgery is to use an Elizabethan Collar. This is a hard plastic cone that is placed around the dog's neck thus preventing him from reaching the wound.

Bone infection can occur following Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. It doesn't happen often.Don't let the dog be too active during the first two months of recovery from Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. The screws can loosen thus causing the metal plate to shift. If this happens then further surgery will be needed.

If this does happen plenty of rest and an anti-inflammatory is prescribed. A fracture of the tibial crest can happen if the dog isn't confined after TPLO Surgery.

Another problem arising from Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy is bone cancer. Removing the screws and plate after healing may or may not prevent this.

Tearing of the Meniscus lining following TPLO Surgery can also be a problem. Surgery to repair the tear would be needed. Torn Meniscus linings are painful and limit mobility.Another condition following TPLO Surgery is a fracture of the tibial tuberosity. This can delay recovery.If Arthritis is already in the knee joint prior to TPLO Surgery, the procedure won't eliminate it, but will help slow its progression.

As with any surgery there are risks and complications can occur. Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy can help your dog to have a better life. Wouldn't TPLO Surgery be worth the risk? For more information please visit TPLO

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