Canine TPLO

Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy

Your pet was recently diagnosed with a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament or an ACL tear...
What's next?

A cranial or anterior cruciate ligament injury is one of the most common causes of rear leg lameness in dogs.

Some dogs are more susceptible to it than others (like the Akita, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, American Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, and Rottweilers) but there are many other factors that can be a precursor to CCL or ACL problems as well:

  • Being Overweight
  • Breed and Joint Confirmation Issues
  • Strenuous Exercise or Activity

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The good news is that 96+% of dogs can return to normal activity with the right surgical intervention, physical therapy and 8-10 weeks of restricted activity.

The bad news is this won’t go away on its own, and the longer you wait the less the chance of success.

Here’s what is going on if your dog has a Cranial or Anterior Cruciate Ligament condition.

Basically, in layman’s terms, the femur (top leg bone) and the tibia (lower bone) no longer have the stability needed to align properly one over the other. It is caused by a stretched or partially torn ligament which allows the tibia to move forward and out of place. This may have happened instantly, from trauma, or over time with increased stretching or tearing of the ligament. In addition, because the tibia is now able to move out of place, the meniscus (the shock absorbing material between the upper and lower bones) frequently becomes damaged.

This won’t heal itself. The condition and pain will only become worse over time. It takes surgical intervention to fix the problem.

What is the treatment?

Tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO), a surgery we’ve successfully used since 2004, is used to stabilize knee joints that have suffered acute or chronic cranial cruciate ligament injury. During this procedure we’ll look at the medial meniscus to assess any damage. If required it may be removed; if not we often use a releasing technique to prevent future entrapment or damage. The top of the tibia is then cut with a specialized TPLO saw that allows the bone to be rotated to a predetermined measurement/angle and leveling the tibia plateau.

Your pet will spend the night in the hospital with 24-hour doctor supervision and nursing care. The majority of our patients are discharged the following day with instructions for care and restricted activity for the next 8 weeks. Recheck examinations and physical therapy are scheduled at 2, 4 and 8 weeks post surgery. Most patients exhibit gradually increasing weight bearing within 2 to 10 weeks after surgery.


Want to know the secret for a full recovery and a happy, active life for your dog?

Don’t wait. Don’t assume your dog will be better over time. The longer you wait for treatment the harder the problem is to correct and the chances for full recovery drop off considerably. Contact us now using the form above for a consultation. Get your questions answered, find out what your next steps should be and let us correct your dog’s painful injury - quickly!

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During this COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our clients, patients & staff is our number one priority. Here are some additional precautions we are taking to minimize exposure. We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, thank you for your cooperation.


  • Existing Appointments: We kindly ask that you call to reschedule (410-414-8250).
  • Medical Emergencies: We kindly ask that you either arrange for a healthy friend or family member to transport your pet to our hospital. If this is not possible, please remain in your vehicle and call our front desk upon arrival (410-414-8250).  A staff member will come retrieve your pet and collect all necessary information.


  • Only one client per pet will be permitted inside our lobby and exam rooms at any given time. Please leave children at home.
  • Depending on the volume of clients in our lobby, you may be asked to return to your vehicle while your pet is waiting to be seen.
  • A staff member will direct you to either the waiting room or an exam room, please remain there. A staff member will be with you shortly.
  • Please practice “Social Distancing”. This includes appropriate hand washing, no hand shakes, and maintaining a minimum distance of 6 feet from others.
  • Clients will not be permitted in any treatment areas, including Rehab.
  • We will be limiting the amount of traffic at our front desk. You may be asked to schedule future appointments and make additional payments over the phone.
  • We will continue to allow clients to remain in exam rooms during end-of-life situations.
  • If you do not wish to enter our building or are unsure what to do, please call for instructions from a staff member (410-414-8250).


  • No personal items can be left with hospitalized pets. This includes leashes, collars/harnesses, toys, blankets, crates etc.
  • Our visiting hours have been suspended. You will continue to receive daily updates from our doctors and staff, and may call at any time for an update.

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