TPLO Surgery for Dogs and Cats

AVAILABLE AT: Greenville, SC • Brandon, FL

The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), similar to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans, is the ligament most prone to injury in dogs and cats. Because the CCL is one of the most important stabilizers of the knee joint, partial or full tearing of the CCL can be debilitating for your pet and greatly decrease their activity and overall quality of life. To repair an injured CCL, surgical intervention is often necessary. Our preferred technique to repair the ligament and stabilize the knee joint is the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, or TPLO surgery. Being an orthopedic procedure, TPLO surgery is not widely performed by general practitioners. That is why our experienced and skilled surgical specialists here at Fetch perform TPLO surgery in Greenville, SC and Brandon, FL.

To see images before and after a successful TPLO surgery, click here.

What Happens If My Pet Ruptures Their CCL?

The CCL is located inside the knee (or stifle) joint in your pet. Its primary function is to keep the joint stable at all times and prevent the femur from sliding backward over the tibia bone. When the CCL ruptures, the femur is no longer held stable; now it slides over the tibial plateau (the sloped top of the tibia bone) with each stride your pet takes, gradually wearing down the cartilage of the knee. The sliding motion of the femur also causes painful stretching of the surrounding tissues. Many dogs with this problem can develop debilitating arthritis.

Tplo Surgery In Greenville Sc

Signs of a CCL Tear

Some potential clinical signs of a torn CCL include:

  • Mild lameness (occasional limping)
  • Severe lameness (constant limping, holding up one limb)
  • Pain (reluctance to move, vocalizing, sleeping more often, eating less)

Ultimately, a ruptured CCL will be diagnosed by your veterinarian, who can check your pet for joint swelling and instability and perform X-rays for a more complete assessment. If surgery is recommended for your pet, your veterinarian can refer you to Fetch, and our team will help you schedule the TPLO procedure.

How We Perform TPLO Surgery

With TPLO surgery, the goal is to reduce the angle of the tibial plateau, the top sloping portion of the tibia bone. In dogs, this angle is steeper than in humans, ranging from 25 to 30 degrees, which makes them more prone to CCL tears.

We make a curved cut at the top of the tibia bone and rotate this top cut section (which includes the tibial plateau) to level out the slope. Next, to help the bone heal in this new position, we place specially designed plates and locking screws into the tibia. With the steep incline of the tibial plateau now reduced, the femur will no longer slide backward when your pet bears weight on the joint.

At Fetch, we use the Arthrex TPLO Locking Plate System, which is the gold standard for TPLO surgery. This equipment is designed to ensure optimal plate placement and provide maximum stability to the knee joint.

What Does TPLO Surgery Achieve?

Our primary goal with TPLO surgery is to relieve your pet’s pain and improve the function of their knee joint. The main benefits we aim to achieve with this procedure include:

  • Optimal range of motion in the joint
  • A quicker recovery
  • Reduced risk and severity of arthritis
  • Ability to resume everyday activity (work or sport) once the joint is healed
canine tplo surgery
tplo surgery

How Quickly Will My Pet Recover from TPLO Surgery?

TPLO surgery generally boasts a quicker recovery time for patients compared with other CCL repair surgeries. Some dogs may start walking on the treated limb within 24 hours of surgery, and it takes about a week for many patients to begin bearing weight on the limb. It is important to note that the severity of the ligament tear could affect your pet’s recovery time; a partial tear can heal more quickly, but a full tear will take longer.

For a more accurate timeline of your pet’s post-TPLO surgery recovery, your surgical specialist here at Fetch will consult with you about every step of the procedure and the care your pet will require in the following weeks. We will also work closely with your regular veterinarian to ensure consistent follow-up care.

Before and After


8 Weeks Post-Op