Orion Animal Care Center Lgog


3480 E. West Maple Road, Commerce TWP, 48390



Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) Surgery 

Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, called TPLO for short, is a surgery that is used to repair the cranial cruciate ligament in dogs. TPLO surgery can help restore mobility to your dog's knee, allowing them to get back to a joyful life of jumping, running, and playing!

Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) Disease

Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) disease is the MOST COMMON orthopedic disease in dogs. Think of the CCL as the dog equivalent of the human ACL - prone to injury and often in-need of medical attention.

The CCL is located on the inside of the dog's knee. The CCL's main purpose is to stabilize the knee during locomotion. If your dog's CCL is torn or injured, the knee is unstable and, thus, a pain arises with a motion called tibial thrust.

Tibial thrust is a sliding motion that occurs when the dog's weight is shifted up their shin bone and across the knee. This causes the dogs shin to be placed in front of the thigh bone. An in tact CCL helps stabilize the knee, but a damaged CCL leads to tibial thrust. This is uncomfortable, awkward, and unwanted, and can lead to lameness, osteoarthritis, abnormal cartilage wear, and/or meniscal injury.

The TPLO is the #1 way to fix this issue in dogs with CCL disease. TPLO helps flatten the natural slope of the tibia to eliminate tibial thrust and provide stability to the knee. This relieves discomfort and can help mobilize your dog's injured area.

TPLO surgery

When Should You Consider TPLO?

Almost any dog suffering from CCL disease is a good candidate for TPLO surgery. Traditionally, TPLO surgery was most often done on large, active dogs. However, small/medium breeds have been recently found to have great success with TPLO as well. 

In addition to CCL disease, dogs with steep tibial slopes are also often great candidates for TPLO. A full assessment of the dog's history, condition, and health is helpful for the surgeon to decide whether TPLO is the best option.

What is the TPLO Procedure?

As you know now, the TPLO procedure's main goal is to stop the abnormal thrust motion. To do this, the goal of TPLO surgery is to eliminate the need for the damaged cranial cruciate ligament altogether by reconfiguring your dog's knee.

But what does the TPLO procedure actually look like? 

The surgery itself starts with an incision to the inner area of the patient's knee. Then, the CCL is examined, arthritis is assessed, and potential meniscal injury is evaluated. If meniscal injury is found, the surgeon will then partially remove or "release" the meniscus. 

Then a curved incision is made to the patient's tibia. The tibial plateau is rotated and positioned to lessen the tibial slope. Ultimately, we want a flatter tibial slope. Finally, the bone is held in place by a screwed-in metal bone plate. After that, the TPLO is complete. 

Now What? - Recovery and Post-Operative Care

After the TPLO surgery, post-operative care includes activity restriction, incision care, physical therapy, medications, and follow-up X-rays.

Activity Restriction
8-12 weeks is the most common recovery time needed for the bone that is cut during TPLO surgery. As the bone is healing, the recovering dog should be restricted from activity that may cause complications with the healing process. Too much activity too soon can cause a loss of rotation, implant failure, meniscal injury, and pain. Lisner Animal Hospital recommends that the patient's owner utilize confinement methods to aid in recovery. Crates, gates, small areas, and kennels are all great tools for this part of recovery. Additionally, walks should be restricted to calm, leashed walks only. No jumping, playing, climbing, or other strenuous activity should take place at this time. As the patient recovers, activity will be slowly and methodically reimplemented by the surgeon. 

Incision Care
Incisions take less time to heal than bone. With incision recovery, we are usually looking at 2-3 weeks. During these first few weeks post-op, it's important to monitor the incision closely. Look for unusual swelling, oozing, or any incision openings. To decrease swelling of the area, cool or warm compress can be applied to the incision site.
A cone may be helpful during this time. Lisner Animal Hospital recommends a cone to dissuade and prevent any chewing, licking, or nosing around the incision as that can cause infection and/or dehiscence. This can be a severe and serious complication.

Physical Therapy
Your surgeon should guide you in any necessary post-op physical therapy. Consult with your veterinary surgeon for patient-specific physical therapy needs.

Pain medication is prescribed to all TPLO surgery patients. However, the need for pain medication varies from patient to patient. Your dog may only need a few doses until the pain subsides. On the other hand, some patients require pain medication throughout the entire recovery phase. 
Antibiotics may also be prescribed at this time. Discuss medication and antibiotic needs with your surgeon. 

TPLO patients are recommended to have an 8-10 week post-op appointment. At this appointment, X-rays will be taken to evaluate bone healing. After the X-ray results, your surgeon will make recommendations for activity resumption and/or limitations. 

Are There Any Complications with TPLO Surgery?

Although we can never say 'never', TPLO surgery complications are rare. Under 5-10% of patients face complications - as long as post-operative care is executed as directed. Following post-operative instructions is imperative for your pet's healing.
Potential complications include infection, implant failure, meniscal injury, or problems with bone healing. As long as complications are discovered early on, they can almost always be addressed. This is why it is especially important to keep a close eye on your pet after their procedure. Be aware of any warning signs and check for them often. 

Potential signs of complications include: 
Signs of infection or inflammation at the incision site
Diarrhea or vomiting
Reluctance to put weight on recovering leg
Sensitivity to pain medications
Loss of appetite
Missing staples or stitches

Contact Lisner Animal Hospital if you notice anything concerning surrounding your dog's healing process. The earlier you can catch a potential problem, the more likely it is that it can be resolved. 


Prognosis varies from patient to patient. As a whole, a good to excellent prognosis is expected for dogs undergoing the TPLO procedure.


123 Main St., New City MA 33333



Wellness consults and prevention through vaccines like distemper, parvo and rabies are common practice at Lisner Animal Hospital.
Broken leg, torn CCL (ACL for people), luxating patella, or other vet orthopedic injuries?  Our certified team can help with your pet's orthopedic surgery.
Our team uses ultrasound to look in your pet's abdomen for answers to the veterinary questions in a noninvasive way.
Using our safe protocol we can ensure we take every precaution to ensure that your dog or cat's dental cleaning is a success.
No matter the situation our team of veterinary professionals can handle your crisis.  Staying calm and using our training will assist in recovery of the urgent problem.
In House Blood
Advanced testing in house gives answers to your dog or cat when we need them.  This is a unique emergency service that helps us give clear answers quickly.
Digital Radiographs
Using up to date technology is key to helping have answers when problems happen.  New digital x-ray in veterinary medicine helps with clear and fast x-ray development. 
Laser Therapy
Laser therapy assists in the healing process for your pet with any injury.  We have nurses trained to assist in your pet's needs and how the laser therapy can assist.
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What Patients Are Saying About Us
I needed a second opinion on euthanizing my 14-year-old dog, though I am not ready to leave my regular vet. They saw us right away and agreed to share info with my regular vet. Dr Alex was very professional and answered all my questions. I am even considering Walnut Lake for future visits with my other pets!
Dr. G was not only able to. get us in so quickly but was able to see the pain our pet was in and offered to do the surgery same day, we have never seen such a compassionate vet & clinic! I cant say good enough things about Dr. G and the way he is taking care of our collie!
I found 2 stray kittens that were abandoned near our house one night during my walk. These little guys were skin and bones. It was nearly closing time when I called Walnut Lake Animal Hospital and they didn't hesitate for a single second to stay open past work hours to look at the kittens. The Vet and his staff were so kind and generous with their time and services. I definitely recommend this Veterinary practice to anyone who has pets, or is looking for a reliable and trustworthy veterinarian!
Lisner Animal Hospital
3480 E. West Maple
Commerce Township, MI 48390

Email: lisneranimalhospital@gmail.com

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