In order to help your pet walk and run they have a ligament called the CCL which functions much like your ACL. Unfortunately, like our ACL, this ligament can also rupture in pets causing serious pain and injury. Here, our Springfield vets talk about the CCL in dogs and cats and when TPLO surgery may be needed to repair this ligament and help your dog become mobile again.
CCL Injuries in Pets and How TPLO Surgery Can Help
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 CrCL. It has been shown that the dog or cat will likely be able to live an active life after pet surgery in Springfield.
When is TPLO surgery recommended for dogs and cats?
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 Springfield will likely begin to consider TPLO surgery in order to help repair the injury.
Here are some common signs that your dog might be suffering from a CCL injury.
You Notice That Your Dog is Avoiding Applying Their Full Weight
When your cat or 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.
Your Dog Is Occasionally (Or Frequently) Walking With a Limp
Dogs and cats 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 or Cat Seems to Be Sitting Strangely Compared to Normal
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.
What are the signs that indicate your dog or cat may need TPLO surgery?
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 or cat.
What steps should you take if you notice the signs listed above?
When your dog or cat requires TPLO surgery, it is often obvious. When you notice these signs, it's critical to take note of and document everything your dog or cat 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 Springfield.
Of course, if your cat or dog appears to be in a lot of pain, you should take him to the vet right away. Once treatment is complete your pet should be happy and healthy.
What to Expect With TPLO Surgery For Dogs & Cats
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 procedure is usually performed by an experienced veterinary surgeon.
Prior to Your Dog's TPLO Surgery
The surgical team plans the TPLO procedure with the help of carefully placed digital X-rays. 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.
During the TPLO Surgical 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.
Once the TPLO Surgery is Complete
X-rays will once again be ordered to determine the new angle of the shin. For most dogs and cats, this surgery requires an overnight stay in the hospital. During the procedure, your pet will be under general anesthesia, and the hospital will provide painkillers and antibiotics afterward, A bandage is applied over the incision site for protection.
Caring For Your Dog or Cat's Orthopedic Health
Lifestyle changes can help your dog's recovery and ongoing health. These include:
- Keeping your dog or cat 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
In the end, we just want our furry friends to be happy and healthy, with a full range of motion and no discomfort. To achieve this goal, TPLO surgery may be the best option. Speak with our veterinary surgeons in Springfield to learn more.