TPLO surgery, also known as Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, is a method of repairing the cranial cruciate ligament in dogs. At VCA Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles, our team of board-certified veterinary surgeons is here to repair your dog’s knee injury with advanced surgical methods and a wide range of expertise in the field of animal surgery.

Signs Your Dog Needs TPLO Surgery

You know your dog better than anyone, which is why you know when something isn't quite right. If your dog has a torn ligament, they will likely experience pain and a lack of functionality in the leg. Most dogs are unable to bear their full body weight on the leg that is injured. You might also notice them dragging or carrying it.

While this injury is common in larger, more active breeds, it can occur in dogs of all sizes. Some signs you should be aware of would include: 

  • Acute or Chronic Pain in the Leg 
  • Limited Range of Motion
  • Clicking/Popping of the Knee 
  • Sitting With Hind Legs to One Side 
  •  Lameness or Carrying Leg 


It is important to note, pain can be acute or severe, depending on the case. If you notice any of these signs of ligament damage in your dog, you should schedule a consultation with one of our veterinary specialists to diagnose and correct the issue.

Canine Knee Injuries Can Cause Serious Pain

If you notice your dog is experiencing knee pain, discomfort, or a decreased range of motion due to potential ligament damage, you should consider discussing your options with a veterinary surgeon. You should speak with your primary care veterinarian regarding a referral to our surgery department. 

When the cranial cruciate ligament is torn or damaged, surgical stabilization of the knee joint is most likely required. In most cases where ligament damage is suspected, surgery is recommended as quickly as possible to reduce the likelihood of irreversible joint damage. 

How Long Until My Dog Recovers From Knee Surgery?  

The majority of patients will have the ability to walk with minimal weight bearing on the limb within 24-hours after TPLO surgery. For the first two weeks after the procedure you will need to evaluate the incision daily for increased swelling, redness, bleeding or discharge, or missing sutures. Some other things to keep in mind about postoperative care would include: 

  • Activity Restrictions - Your dog needs to be strictly confined for the first two months following surgery. When not under direct supervision, they need to be restricted to an airline kennel, crate, small room with non-slip floors, or equivalent. No running, jumping, or playing should be allowed during this time.  
  • Recheck Examinations - Rechecks are performed at one, four, and eight weeks after surgery. The knee is examined for stability and x-rays are taken to assess proper healing.
  • Rehabilitation - Once x-rays confirm bone healing, your dog should begin a rehabilitation program as soon as possible. You will see a slow return to normal function over the following four to six weeks. 


While the recovery period might seem long, the success rate for dogs who undergo TPLO surgery is extremely high, with 90% or more returning to normal function. Within six months, most dogs are able to resume full physical activity.

Schedule an Appointment With a Veterinary Surgeon 

If your dog is experiencing knee pain, TPLO surgery may be the best solution for restoring full range of motion. The surgery team at VCA Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles is here to guide you through the surgical process and answer any questions you may have about your pet’s care plan. After performing an orthopedic exam, we'll help you decide if this procedure is the best option to correct your dog’s knee pain. Contact us today to schedule a surgical consultation.