Our furry friends love running and playing, especially when they get to play with their owners or other pets. Unfortunately, this playing can sometimes lead to injuries. Here, our Greeley vets discuss CCL (cranial cruciate ligament) injuries in dogs and how TPLO surgery can help get them moving again.
CCL Injuries in Dogs and How They Are Treated
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) is a surgical procedure used to stabilize the stifle joint after a ruptured Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL). The CCL is similar to the ACL in a human knee, but unlike in humans, the CCL rarely ruptures from sudden trauma in an otherwise healthy ligament. The only way to permanently "fix" the instability and relieve the pain caused by the rupture is through pet surgery.
The TPLO surgery entails cutting the top of the tibia (the bone beneath the knee), rotating it, and stabilizing it in a new position with a bone plate and screws. These modifications affect the dynamic movement of the bones in the knee and compensate for the loss of the CCL. It has been shown that the dog will likely be able to live an active life after pet surgery in Greeley.
TPLO Surgery For Torn Cranial Cruciate Ligaments
A dog with a torn CCL joint cannot walk normally, and the instability caused by the tear damages the bone and cartilage surrounding the joint. Plus, it's very painful! If your dog is showing the signs that they are suffering from a torn CCL your vet surgeon in Greeley will likely begin to consider TPLO surgery in order to help repair the injury.
Signs That a Dog Has a Torn CCL
Here are some common signs that your dog might be suffering from a CCL injury.
Your Dog Won't Step Fully Down on the Affected Leg
When your dog walks or stands still, not putting full weight on a leg can be visible. You'll notice it when you're out walking your dog. However, when they are standing, their toes may barely touch the ground. This is a sign that they are in pain or have weakness in their leg, and you may need to look into pet ACL surgery options as a result.
You've Noticed That Your Dog Has a Limp
Dogs can limp for a variety of reasons. They could have something stuck on their paw, or they could have a cut or scrape that is causing them to walk differently. For a few days and weeks, keep an eye on your pet's walking and make note of any differences. ACL tears in pets can develop slowly, so it's important to monitor them over time to see if TPLO surgery is required.
Your Dog Isn't Sitting Normally
If your pet has an ACL injury, it may sit with one leg out to the side instead of both legs under them. This is one of the most obvious signs that TPLO surgery is required. It indicates that they are experiencing pain in their leg and should be examined.
Other Signs That Point Toward CCL Injuries in Dogs
Other than the most common signs noted above, some other common signs your pet may be suffering a CCL injury include:
- Reduced activity and unwillingness to play
- Limping / lameness
- Having difficulty rising or jumping
- Pain and stiffness in the hindquarters
- Reduced range of motion
- Muscle atrophy in the affected leg
- Swelling on the inside of the shin bone or a popping noise
Age, obesity, poor conformation (structure), breed, and a lack of fitness are all risk factors for CCL tears. This disease can affect any size, breed, or age of a dog.
When TPLO Surgery is Needed to Treat CCL Injuries
When your dog requires TPLO surgery, it is often obvious. When you notice these signs, it's critical to take note of and document everything your dog has done in the last few weeks. These habits can assist a veterinarian in accurately diagnosing the problem and properly presenting you with dog surgery options in Greeley.
Any time that you notice that your dog is in a great deal of pain you should schedule an appointment with your vet. Once treatment is complete your pet should be happy and healthy.
What Happens With TPLO Surgery?
The most common procedure for pets with cruciate ligament tears is TPLO. The TPLO procedure aids in stifle stabilization and reduces the likelihood of further osteoarthritis progression. This surgery can be performed by a veterinary specialist, a veterinary surgeon or a vet with surgical qualifications.
Before Your Dog Has TPLO Surgery
An X-ray will be taken of the affected area to assist with the planning of the surgery. The surgeon looks at the damaged parts of the knee and cuts away the damaged ligament(s). To do this, they either open the joint to look inside or make a small cut to look more closely.
The TPLO Surgery Procedure
The surgeon cuts the tibial plateau, the load-bearing part of the knee, and moves it at a 5-degree angle. The dog's stifle (knee joint) will then be stable when it has to bear weight. The surgeon does the TPLO by cutting, rotating, and then repositioning the tibia. The bone grafts are held in place with a special bone plate and screws.
The surgeon will also check the meniscus. A torn meniscus can constantly irritate the joint. If the meniscus is not damaged, the surgeon does a "meniscal release." This helps keep the meniscus from being damaged in the future.
After Your Dog's Surgery is Complete
X-rays will once again be ordered to determine the new angle of the shin. Your dog will also spend the night at the hospital for post-surgery monitoring. During the procedure, your pet will be under general anesthesia, and the hospital will provide painkillers and antibiotics afterward, The vet will fit the area with a bandage.
Ongoing Care For Your Dog and Their Limbs
Some of the things you can do to prevent joint and tendon issues from occurring are:
- Keeping your dog at a healthy weight
- Supervising your pet to help minimize accidents and injuries
- Exercising your pet every day through walks and other age-appropriate activities
- Following up on all postoperative care recommendations and yearly examinations
- Asking your veterinarian about supplements and medications that may aid in reducing inflammation and pain and supporting mobility
- Encouraging low-impact forms of exercise, such as walking and swimming
The main goal is to ensure that pets live a long, happy life, free of pain. To achieve this goal, TPLO surgery may be the best option. Speak with our vets to learn more about surgical options to treat CCL injuries and more.
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.