TPLO, also known as Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, is a surgical procedure in which the head of the tibia is surgically altered and plated to create a new joint angle.
A new angle is created in the stifle to prevent the femur from sliding off of the tibia.
Dogs require the TPLO surgery due to cruciate ligament injuries; hands down the most common orthopedic injuries in dogs today. There are several factors why this is an unfortunate reality for many dogs. Especially dogs here in Montana where we have so many activities people and their dogs enjoy together.
Some of the more common reasons dogs rupture their ACL are:
- Overweight: Believe it or not, at least 75% of dogs are considered overweight. Unfortunately most pet owners have a misconception on what the ideal body weight of their dog should be. Make sure you ask your us what your dogs’ ideal weight should be. Additional weight puts additional stress on joint and the rest of the bodies’ organs.
- Lack of Exercise: Due to the stresses placed on us in modern day society many pets do not get the necessary exercise that they require. There just does not seem to be enough time to exercise and spend quality exercise with our dogs. Much of the time, while we are working they are being “couch potatoes”. Remember that most dogs are really athletes and therefore require and tolerate a lot of exercise. This exercise keeps their bodies lean, flexible and strong.
- Week-end Warrior Syndrome: Since we work all week, most of the time the only chance we have to exercise our dogs is on the weekend. As stated above this lack of everyday conditioning makes our dogs vulnerable to injury when they try to overdo it on the weekend.
- Angle of the Joint: Rarely do people think about how their dog actually walks on their knees. This joint is always at an angle and therefore the ACL always has weight on it (otherwise referred to as load bearing). Therefore there is constant stress placed on this ligament which again makes it vulnerable to injury.
The most common way that dogs injure the cruciate ligament is via a hyperextension injury. The typical story is….he was running after a squirrel or chasing a ball or playing hard with other dogs and then yelped and started limping.
As stated before of all the orthopedic injuries in dogs the cranial cruciate ligament rupture is by far the most common and the TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery has become one of the most popular repairs for this injury.
Though there is no breed predisposition, it is definitely more common for larger dogs to get this injury.
Dr. Hardaway has done hundreds of TPLO surgeries on large and small dogs, making him a leading practitioner in Montana.