Pet TPLO Surgery

TPLO surgery, or tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, is a procedure that repairs a torn cranial cruciate ligament in dogs. It is one of the most popular procedures for a torn CCL as it offers the best chance at a full recovery and minimizes the progression of arthritis in the joint. At West Suburban Animal Hospital, Dr. Gary Thompson’s area of professional interest is orthopedic surgery, and is Board-Certified in Canine and Feline Practice, so you know your pet is in good hands.

Dr. Thompson looking at x-ray

Pet TPLO Surgery in Toledo, OH



The CCL’s primary function is to stabilize your dog’s knees. The ligament, however, is always load-bearing when your dog stands. This constant flexion is what makes the ligament so prone to injury. When a dog tears its ACL, the femur will rub against the tibia and slide backward every time the dog goes to stand or put weight on the leg. This rubbing causes pain and inflammation, which is why dogs with torn ACLs will try to avoid putting weight on the leg.


TPLO surgery works by completely changing the dynamics of the knee. It makes the CCL unnecessary by rotating the tibial plateau and changing the angle that the femur comes in contact with the tibia so that the femur can no longer slide backwards over it. This simple angle change immediately stabilizes the knee. Some dogs are even able to use the limb again on the same day as surgery, although it’s important to limit their activity!


It’s important to remember that while these recovery instructions are a good timeline to follow, each pet will recover slightly differently, so be sure to go at your pet’s own pace!

Post-Op Days 1-3:

  • Ice (15-min) 3x/day
  • Rest for the first few days (can start short leash walks if tolerating)

Post-Op Days 4-7:

  • Short leash walks 5-10 minutes 3x/day

Post-Op Days 8-21:

  • Short leash walks 10-20 minutes 3x/day
  • Limited by dog’s response/tolerance

*NOTE: If increased fatigue, soreness, or discomfort were noticed with increased distance walked, revert to the previous level of activity and begin from there

Post-Op Weeks 4-5:

  • Continue to progress in therapeutic activity. Slow leash walks (20-30 min) 3x/day to tolerance
  • Begin functional strengthening: Figure 8 circles to the left and right at a walk

Post-Op Weeks 6-7:

  • Increased intensity/duration of therapeutic activities
  • Leash walks on a longer lead (30-40 min) 3x/day to tolerance
  • Figure 8 trotting (no sharp turns)
  • Ramps (inclines and declines)
  • Ascend/descend stairs 5-10 flights slowly 2-3x/day
  • Swimming – no explosive water entry
  • Tug-O-War
  • Dancing
  • Trotting on a longer lead in a straight line (no sharp turns)

Post-Op Week 8:

  • Final check-up/healing complete (radiographs)
  • Therapeutic activities: Zig-zag trotting and running in a straight line
  • You may now return to the prior level of activity at the end of the 8 weeks.


Referral Surgical Services

Have you been referred to us for a TPLO procedure? Please read our referral policy and bring the following to your consultation:

  • Any recent radiographs or blood work from your family veterinarian
  • Any current medications your pet is taking
  • A completed referral form