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TPLO for ACL Injuries in Dogs

Dr. Dutton, Board certified ABVP Canine and Feline Specialist, performs TPLO surgeries at our Hopkinton office.

Please note: The cost of TPLO surgery can vary, depending on your veterinary surgeon, where the surgery is being performed, the size of your dog, and what part of the country you live in. Costs in several New England states such as Massachusetts and Connecticut are as high as $5,000 to $8,000. Prices for TPLO surgery here at Hopkinton Animal Hospital are lower than average: $4,000 all-inclusive for dogs weighing less than 100 pounds; and $4,500 all-inclusive for dogs weighing 100 pounds or more. See the detailed costs and what's included with those costs lower down on this page.

What is Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)?

Tibial plateau levelling osteotomy (TPLO) is a surgical procedure used on dogs who have torn their anterior (sometimes called cranial) cruciate ligament, or ACL. The anterior cruciate ligament is located in the pet’s knee and stabilizes the front to back motion. A torn ACL is painful and if untreated leads to early arthritis in the joint.

TPLO changes the mechanics of the dog’s knee so the torn ligament is irrelevant to the knee’s stability. The procedure is one of the most popular orthopedic surgeries performed on dogs.

Efficacy of TPLO Surgery in Dogs

This procedure is highly effective in achieving its aim of returning stability to the knee, allowing full weight bearing. Approximately 90% of dogs that undergo the surgery return to normal functioning of the limb.

Considerations and Complications of TPLO Surgery

TPLO is major surgery, so with it comes some risk. There is the short-term risk of infection plus the risk of the screws coming loose or the bone healing slowly.These risks are most likely to occur if the pet becomes active too quickly after surgery. These could have long term implications as further surgery would be needed. As with any surgery on a joint, there is also an increased risk of osteoarthrosis and degenerative disease.

Complication rate is 8 to 11%.

The benefits of this operation far outweigh the risks. The likelihood of the aforementioned risks is extremely low, while the likelihood of a fully functioning limb again is over 90%.

Many dogs have bilateral disease in both knees. Studies have shown over a 10-fold increase in complication rate if both knees are done at the same time. Due to this, we will not do bilateral knee TPLO until Dr. Dutton has approved it.

If you suspect that your dog has torn their ACL or your veterinarian has suggested TPLO surgery, please call us for a phone consultation or an initial exam.

The initial x-rays are to determine if the dog is a candidate for a TPLO. Almost all ACL dogs are TPLO candidates but there are a few cases where a different technique such as a tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) or a cranial closing wedge osteotomy (CCWO) is indicated. We don’t perform the TTA or CCWO surgeries. If your pet has torn their ACL and is not currently on anti-inflammatory medications (like carprofen), the initial exam will include x-rays of the knee and a 10 day course of anti-inflammatories to reduce the soft tissue swelling in the knee joint before the surgery.

If you suspect that your dog has torn their ACL or your veterinarian has suggested TPLO surgery, please call us for a phone consultation or an initial exam.

Hopkinton Animal Hospital offers  TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) Surgery on dogs who have torn their cranial cruciate ligament, also commonly referred a dog’s torn ACL.

TPLO Surgery

If we determine that TPLO surgery is the right course of action for your dog, we will schedule surgery around your schedule to insure the best possible recovery for your pet.

The breakdown of the surgery is:

  • The dog will be anesthetized.
  • Antibiotics and painkillers will be administered.
  • An incision will be made, and the torn ends of the cranial cruciate ligament will be entirely removed. The medial and lateral meniscus cartilages (which serve as knee shock absorbers) will be examined for damage. If they are torn, they will be removed.
  • A curved cut will be made in the top of the tibia bone to fit the tibial plateau.
  • The tibial plateau is then rotated to a level of about 5 degrees. Plates and screws are then fitted to hold the tibial plateau in its new place.
  • Post-surgery x-rays will be reviewed to determine proper placement.
  • Most pets will be discharged late afternoon of surgery.

What Is Included in the Cost of TPLO Surgery for Dogs

Dogs weighing less than 100 pounds is $4,000 all-inclusive barring complications or visits to other veterinary facilities.
Dogs weighing 100 pounds or heavier is $4,500 all-inclusive barring complications or visits to other veterinary facilities.

Fees are due the MORNING of the surgery. We do not offer payment plans for this procedure.

This price includes:

  • Initial exam and initial x-rays
  • Day of Surgery (in between 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Hopkinton Animal Hospital, please fast your pet for at least 4 hours before then)
    • IV
    • Pre-anesthetic blood work
    • Chest x-ray if needed
    • Pain meds
    • Anesthesia
    • Detailed pre-op x-rays
    • Surgery including plate and screws
    • Post-op x-rays
    • Recovery day in the hospital
    • Take home pain meds and antibiotics (if needed)
    • Cold laser therapeutic treatment on day of surgery
    • E-collar
  • 10-14 days recheck
    • Exam
    • Cold laser therapeutic treatment
  • 8 weeks recheck
    • Exam
    • Sedation if needed
    • X-rays

What is not covered:

  • Any service that does not occur at either the Weare Animal Hospital or Hopkinton Animal Hospital.
  • Correction of post-surgical complications that are a result of owner noncompliance. Examples are: Pet able to lick incision open because not using the protective e-collar as directed for 2 WEEKS or too much activity resulting in lameness or damage to the TPLO plate or screws. We understand the e-collar is frustrating for all. In the long run, it is best for your pet to use it for 2 full weeks.