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In general dogs are allowed only on-leash activit 1 Week ago  
Once this slant is removed, the bone is held in this new position with a special bone plate while the fractured bone heals. The result of doing this is that when the dog bears weight on the leg, the joint is in a neutral position and there is no movement of the tibia and femur, effectively eliminating the need for the dog to have their cruciate ligament. Understanding why this works requires an sliding bearing understanding of the dog's anatomy within the knee or stifle.The tibial plateau is the top part of the tibia which comes in contact with the femoral condyles. Both cruciate ligaments originate on the tibial plateau and there are two other structures called menisci that sit on the tibial plateau. It is considered the "weight-bearing surface" within the knee.
In people, the tibial plateau is a flat surface but in dogs, because they don't walk upright, the tibial plateau has a slant to it, usually around 25 degrees. In dogs, what has been discovered is that when all of the muscle contract during weight-bearing on the leg, this downward slant on the top of the tibia causes the femur to want to slide back on the tibia, a process we have termed cranial tibial translation. It is the function of the cranial cruciate ligament in the dog to stop this sliding of the two bones and keep the knee stable. Because of this, every time that the dog bears weight on the leg, they are stressing their cruciate ligament. It is tilting pad bearing thought that this is the reason why dog cruciate ligaments will degenerate over time and why a majority of dogs will slowly tear their cruciate ligament over time and do not require a traumatic injury like people do.The TPLO procedure is done by using a semi-circular saw blade to make a semi-circular cut across the top part of the tibia to free up the tibial plateau. Once the plateau is free, it is rotated downwards or caudally from the usual 25 degrees of slant to about 5 degrees of slant. Once it is in this position, a specially designed bone plate is applied to the tibial plateau and tibia to hold it in this new position until the bone has completely healed. The result of this is that when the muscles contract with the tibial plateau in the new position, the femur and tibia are in a neutral position and there is no shifting of the two bones, effectively eliminating the need for the dog to have a cruciate ligament. Although this may seem to be a very radical way to fix a torn ligament, it has been proven to be very successful over many years and hundreds of thousands of dogs. Complications with the TPLO can occur and range from 10-20% depending on what you read. The most common complications involve the bone plate and screws that are placed to hold the bone still while it heals. Breakage of the bone screws holding the plate in place occurs more frequently than breakage of the plate. Fortunately, both of these are rare. Breakage of screws holding the plate can result in delayed bone healing or the bone not healing at all. Plate infection can occur and if it does, can be very difficult to completely eliminate.

In general, dogs are allowed only on-leash activity for a full three months. This means no running, jumping, playing with other dogs, stairs, twisting or turn motions which could damage the repair. Dogs are encourage to bear weight on the leg as soon as they are willing. Most surgeons will encourage leash walks when the dog starts putting the surgery leg down each step. Leash walks should start slow and short but can be built up rapidly over the full 3 months. After 3 months, if radiographs show the bone has completely healed and if the recovery has gone well, then the dog can return to their normal, off-leash activity. Some surgeons do like to have physical therapy done on the dogs which may help to speed up the recovery. With the TPLO surgery, the outcome in a majority of cases (90%+) is good to excellent function on the leg. This means the dog returns to normal or near-normal performance with the affected leg. So, which dogs require TPLO surgeries? Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to cruciate ligament repair in dogs. TPLO surgeries tend to be reserved for the medium, large, and giant breed dogs and the very active dogs. TPLO surgeries can be performed on any size dog except maybe the very tiny, teacup-size dogs like Teacup Poodles and Chihuahuas. Decisions about which surgery is the best for your dog should be made in consultation with your veterinarian who will give you their recommendations.
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