Dog - cranial cruciate ligament partial rupture - TPLO surgery - any experience?

My SO’s young dog came back from training 3 legged lame - brought her to the vet as soon as they could get her in. She’s been diagnosed with a partial tear of the CCL, and is scheduled for TPLO surgery on Monday.

Any advice, experiences? Even words of support. I’ve alternated between “she’s going to be fine, let’s do this” to being in a puddle of tears today. Thanks in advance.

It is a very exacting surgery. You want it done by a surgeon that has a ton of experience doing it, usually not your regular vet. (I was told this by the head of orthopedic surgery at Michigan Vet School). I took mine to a specialty clinic and had good results. Make sure you have good pain control as the recovery can be hampered by the pain. Mine had an epidural in addition to general anesthesia. Good luck and also a final warning. You will likely be doing the othe knee in year or two especially if the risk factor was a pediatric spay/neuter…


That’s the only thing we can think of as the cause. As of right now, the other knee looks fantastic. Dog is a VERY fit hunting dog, always kept at or slightly below a good weight.

Here she is, my soul mate dog:


So was mine. He was a lean fit german shepherd. He was neutered at 5 months and grew 6 inches taller than breed standard. In addition to the knees, he developed other orthopedic issues and had to be euthanized at 10yrs due to chronic pain and digestive issues most likely caused by all the pain drugs.

1 Like

Mine is still on house arrest after having TPLO surgery 3 weeks ago.

So far, the worst part has been the first 2 weeks, with the cone on because of the staples. I had to buy a kennel 2 sizes larger than his usual crate, just so he could turn around in it. Still kept banging the sides when shifting positions and going through the door. I did take the cone off for our SHORT potty walks outside, and to eat (leashed).

Since the crate has always been his comfort zone, he has handled confinement very well, even though it’s a bigger crate, in a different room, and the door is closed. I spend most of my time in the living room, so that’s where this day crate is, and now that the cone is off, he can fit in his usual crate by my bed at night.

The drugs help keep him sleeping most of the time, but when we walk, he’s totally awake, and is back to pulling! His limp is barely noticeable now, and we’ve started rehab at the surgical practice which includes exercises and water treadmill. He loves it, he gets to swim and eat chicken! (They use chicken as the high value reward.)

He really wants to get back to patrolling the property, but since it’s 7 acres, we have to follow orders and bring him back properly! So for now it’s brief leash walks only for another couple of months.

Oh, and mine was neutered at 4 months, after which his legs shot up, and he is part Basset Hound, so I think his knees were doomed anyway. If we can escape doing the second knee, it’ll probably be a miracle.

1 Like

My SOs yard is small, but he has a dog door. We plan on full supervision for a week, then we all have to figure out how to go back to work etc. I was thinking of maybe an electric feeder to deliver mid day meds? At least to try it, if she decides not to take them then we will have to find another way. We will confine her to a puppy play pen. She tends to sleep during the day (his other dog is constantly up and about, patrolling), so we don’t anticipate problems with the layout.

Our hope is that her existing high level of fitness will help bring her through. My dog has a routine vet appointment tonight, I’ll ask the vet a few questions. The vet is known as the top sport dog vet in the area, so we are confident in his abilities.

I’m so sorry for your early loss. Maci is not a tall vizsla, but you can tell she was spayed early because she’s… “fine boned” if you will. Just never developed substance like most intact bitches do. She’s obnoxiously fit, we don’t let our hunting dogs sit all year like many others do - they’re out on 80 CRP acres 2x a week, and doing fitness stuff daily at home. Hunting season is definitely their hardest work, but they are also competed in NSTRA year round.

Follow the discharge instructions!! I cannot tell you how many animals I saw come back in to the sx dept because their owners either didn’t pay attention to the discharge instructions or “didn’t want to be mean” in terms of cage rest, etc.

Your dog being so fit is going to be a double-edged sword… her ideal body weight and muscle mass will help her body heal, but her brain may not appreciate the forced rest. Does she have interest in food puzzles or other things that will help keep her brain busy?

1 Like

She is a bit of a space cadet dog. Really sweet but not very bright.

That said, I’ve got a TON of puzzle toys for my dog, so I’ll bring them over and she can do her very very best to figure them out. I do think she’s going to get frustrated quickly. I bought a no-pull harness for her - we don’t bother to teach the hunting dogs to walk nicely on a leash, so she pulls on a collar. That is a hard NO.

1 Like

We had a dog who tore the cruciates ligaments in both back legs a few weeks apart. We opted for tightrope surgery and she had a full recovery. We followed the rehab plan to the last detail. We also used an equine electro therapy wrap on her leg a few times a week. I’m not sure if it helped but she started out being afraid of it and the showed signs that she looked forward to it. There were times when it was really hard to not let her run because she seemed fine but on the day when the vet finally cleared her to run off leash, she ran like the wind and I bawled tears of joy. I can’t remember how many months the rehab was but it was a long haul.

We then had a dog with a partial tear and he was a good candidate for a non-surgical recovery. We then followed the same rehab plan but also included taking him walking in a shallow river several times a week. We didn’t have access to th3 electro therapy boot this time so we put Back-On-Track braces on his legs regularly. He was a beagle who always wanted to run so it was even harder to keep him quiet. He also had a full recovery.

For both dogs we put them on cartrophen to support their joints, which are more prone to arthritic damage after this injury.

I suggest getting a brace to support the other leg as it will bear more weight. It’s a pretty high percentage that ends up injuring the other cruciate ligament once the first is injured.

Be patient, don’t take any shortcuts in the rehab and the dog should recover beautifully!

Here we go…


She’s already pissed off. This is going to be fun. And as soon as she’s cleared of crate duty, our puppy will arrive. So this crate is going to be in the basement for many months…

Watching videos of squirrels while doing another round of icing. I also slept in this cage with her for longer than I care to admit today. One benefit of being really, really short…


Looks like you’re on the right track! I love the photo with the squirrel videos!

1 Like

She will be fine! My dog had TTA surgery many years ago and the recovery was pretty easy. You probably won’t need to worry about mid-day pain relief after you return to work.

Also - our vet said that he could be loose in small spaces when under supervision. So in the evening he was allowed to be in the bedroom or living room so long as one of us was with him, and that quickly turned into an easy routine. He was free from the crate while being contained, and it allowed him to snuggle with us, etc. which made him happy.

I moved a twin mattress to our bedroom floor and slept with him there because he normally slept in the bed with us. That was the biggest concern - jumping on/off a bed so that was a good solution.

Fingers crossed!

Also - my dogs seem not to be able to see videos. I’m not sure if they just don’t care, or if their brains can’t figure it out. Other dogs like to watch - like yours, but mine don’t.

1 Like

I’ve got some floor chairs that just arrived, so that is the plan now that we can all sit on the ground. She’s normally a super sweetie, but has been acting quite sharp with the other dogs - I think the leash makes her feel trapped. Will have to make sure she minds her manners, and that the other dogs give her some space.

We’re sleeping on a blow-up queen mattress right next to her cage - when the staples come out and the healing progresses a bit, we will allow her on there with us. My SO tosses and turns a bunch, so it’s too risky for her, because of him!

This dog, while very sweet, can be a bit of a space cadet, so I was quite surprised and pleased that she enjoyed the squirrel videos! I turned them on as a bit of a joke - turns out she loves them!

1 Like

Being sharp with the other dogs may be from pain. She knows she’s compromised right now and so is defensive. Will probably ease up as she heals.

My guy, normally as passive and docile as they come, would whip his head around in warning during the PROM exercises. Never nipped, but was as close as he’s ever come. He did really well walking, so vet said could stop the PROM. Now he is loving the active rehab/water treadmill sessions, and starts whining in excitement if I’m too slow getting him out of the car! :smile:


For sure. I just give a gentle but firm “Hey now, hey now, that’s not nice” when she gets all crinkly nosed at my dog, who is her BFF in normal times. My dog just misses her - so Ms. Maci can’t get crinkly nosed when dogs so much as look her way, and Ms. Zipper needs to give Maci her space. It’s so out of character for Maci to be like that, that I’m sure it will relax as the days go on.

Now, our oldest Vizsla. She is such a cutthroat dog, always has had an edge on her which is what make her such a great competitor. She’s been trying to bean Maci since the injury started, sensing that she’s weak. What a butthead. I would expect no less from Lucy though, she’s the Queen Bee, in a big way. Gotta love 'em…

He’s pretty chill right now. :smile:
Wait until he hears it’s a rehab day! :tada:


My big guy (Cane Corso x Mastiff) had TPLO surgery a year and a half ago. He had a partial tear of the CCL and a full tear of the meniscus. The surgery was definitely rough on him but he did really well with recovery and rehab. We followed the instructions to the letter and he was never left unsupervised for 16 weeks post surgery (my DH and I literally slept on the living room floor with him so that he didn’t have to do stairs). He is back to do feeling excellent, we’ve done up to 12 mile hikes again with no issues. We are pretty strict on things he will never be allowed to do again in hopes of avoiding a second surgery- like no more jumping up into the trucks (he has a ramp) and we keep a very close eye on his weight. We also do Dasuquin & Wellactin daily.

1 Like