If you or someone you know has experienced a torn ACL, you likely have an idea of how painful that type of injury can be. Unfortunately, our canine companions can also experience a similar kind of injury. Rupture of the cruciate ligament causes instability in the knee joint (stifle) of the dog or cat. While there are some non-surgical treatments and therapies that can ease the pain associated with cruciate rupture, the ligament does not heal. Chronic instability results in thickening of the soft tissue surrounding the knee, loss of mobility, and discomfort associated with activity. TPLO surgery for dogs is a restorative procedure that changes the mechanics of the knee to re-establish stability, prevent further cartilage and bone deterioration, and ease the pain.
About Cruciate Ligament Rupture
Like many ailments, injuries to the cranial cruciate ligament exist on a spectrum. From a minor tear to a full-blown rupture, cruciate ligament injuries can progress and cause significant damage to your dog’s joints, limit your companion’s mobility, and cause severe pain. Unlike a torn ACL in humans, dogs do not require sport- or trauma-related injuries to sustain tears to their cruciate ligament. The dog tibia has a naturally occuring slope at the top of the bone called the tibial plateau. The slope of the plateau can be steep causing stress to the cruciate ligament of the knee resulting in rupture. The steeper the slope, the greater the stress and the younger your companion may be when symptoms occur. The symptoms are similar to those that occur at the onset of arthritis such as favoring the hind limbs, hesitating to climb stairs or jump onto furniture, and having a sore or stiff appearance after rest or activity.
What is TPLO Surgery For Dogs?
TPLO is an acronym for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. During this procedure, the boarded veterinary surgeon will change the slope of the tibial plateau by cutting the top of the tibia and rotating it to reset the pivot point of the joint. A specialized plate and screws are then applied to secure the tibial plateau in the new position until it heals. The new position shifts the pivot point of the joint so that the stabilizing role the cruciate ligament previously played is redirected to the patellar ligament at the front of the joint and the caudal cruciate ligament at the back of the joint. The result is a stable joint with excellent long term comfort and function.
Benefits of TPLO Surgery Vs. Non-Surgical Treatments
The TPLO is a complicated procedure that requires experience and training in order to be performed correctly. When done correctly, the TPLO offers a restorative lifetime repair with little forward progression of arthritis and exceptional long term comfort and function. Non-surgical treatments for cruciate ligament rupture include weight management, pain management, orthopedic bracing, and physical therapy. While these treatments can have positive outcomes in some instances, they are not always the most suitable or cost-effective options.
Trust Maryland Veterinary Surgical Services With Your Companion’s Health
Your companion’s health is important, and the team at MVSS is ready to provide the best care possible for your furry family. We are dedicated to combining comprehensive exams and assessments with informative and honest discussions of your companion’s care. Once we have worked with you to decide on the best course of action for your dog, our professionals will use their surgical expertise to work towards the goal of giving your companion an active and pain-free life. We are proud to serve loyal companions in Catonsville and Baltimore. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 410-788-4088 or visit us online. For more information and tips for pet health, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.