Cruciate Ligament Disease and TPLO Procedure

Cruciate ligament disease is the most common cause of hind limb lameness in dogs.

It can result in sudden and severe lameness with a ruptured ligament, but about 50% of the time it has a much more insidious onset with lameness that comes and goes, and you may notice your dog sitting with one leg out to the side.  This condition tends to gradually worsen over several months until your dog is noticeably lame most days.

Cruciate disease causes pain and instability of the knee joint which then results in further soft tissue damage such as meniscal tears and also osteoarthritis.

Over the last 50 years, many different methods of repair have been tried.  Most of these have come and gone as it became clear that they did not really give the satisfactory result we were after.

In the early 1990’s a new method known as a Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy (TPLO) began to evolve and after many years of modification, we now have a very well researched and critically evaluated procedure.

This procedure involves cutting and rotating the top of the tibia (shin bone) to a more level position and then fixing it in position with a bone plate.

While previous procedures often attempted to replace the function of the cruciate ligament, the TPLO procedure provides dynamic stability to the knee/stifle. Repeated studies have shown excellent results with this procedure and it is becoming regarded as the Gold Standard for treating cruciate disease.

Dogs return to full, active status much more rapidly than in previously developed techniques. The TPLO procedure is also more effective at minimising arthritic changes in the knee joint in comparison to more traditional types of repairs.

This procedure is an advanced orthopaedic operation requiring a high level of orthopaedic experience, competence and equipment. 

At Midcoast Vets, we have been very pleased with the outcomes we have achieved for our patients with TPLO procedures and are very happy that we can offer this procedure for your dog if needed.