Dogs typically spend a good amount of time running and playing, while this exercise and stimulation is necessary for their health it can also lead to occasional injuries to limbs. Here, our Rancho Palos Verdes vets talk about how your dog's CCL may become injured and how your vet may use TPLO surgery to treat it.
Ruptured CCL in Dogs
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) is a surgical procedure used to stabilize the stifle joint after a ruptured Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL). In dogs, this ligament typically does not rupture without prior damage or ongoing wear and tear. When it comes to treatment, the only way to permanently repair the instability and relieve the pain caused by the rupture is through veterinary 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 Rancho Palos Verdes.
Signs That a Dog Has a Torn CCL
If your dog has experienced an injury to their CCL, they may show the following signs:
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 Symptoms of CCL Injuries in Dogs
Some of the other commonly noted signs of CCL injuries in dogs 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. While these are the main risk factors, CCL injuries can happen to dogs or all ages and breeds.
Using TPLO Surgery to Treat CCL Injuries
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 Rancho Palos Verdes will likely begin to consider TPLO surgery in order to help repair the injury.
When TPLO Surgery May be Recommended
The signs of a CCL injury in a dog are ususally obvious. If you happen to notice the signs you should make a list of activities and events in the past few weeks. Theis information can assist a veterinarian in accurately diagnosing the problem and properly presenting you with dog surgery options in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Any time that you notice that your dog is in a great deal of pain you should schedule an appointment with your vet. The treatment of these injuries can greatly improve the quality of your dog's life and get them moving again.
TPLO Surgery for Dogs
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.
Prior to the TPLO Surgical Procedure
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.
During 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.
What to Expect During Your Dog's Recovery
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.
You will need to take precautions to ensure that your dog recovers without complications. This can mean setting them up in a quiet area, crate rest if necessary and not allowing them to run, play, and jump. If your dog has jumped after TPLO surgery don't worry. Monitor them for any signs of discomfort and contact your vet. They may want to do a quick checkup to make sure that your dog didn't further injure itself.
How You Can Help Prevent Injuries
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.