Dog Surgery

Today my beloved dog Roger underwent major knee surgery to correct a torn cruciate ligament that was making his knee unstable and painful.

There are two ways to fix a cruciate ligament. One is to replace it with an artificial ligament fashioned out of sutures which takes over the job of bearing the stress and holding the joint together. This works best in smaller, less active dogs.

For bigger, stronger, more athletic dogs like Roger, it’s better to use a procedure called TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) in which the top of the tibia is cut, rotated, and bolted into a flatter position. By changing the angle at which the femur meets the tibia, this operation eliminates the need for a cruciate ligament altogether because there’s no longer an angled surface to slip on. It’s a better design than nature’s original.

The boy comes home tomorrow and begins a month of very restricted activity. He’ll spend most of his time in a small room or a crate until his bone heals. Then we’ll gradually increase his activity. Within three months, he should regain his full former level of athletic ability and be able to run hard with the other dogs at the park again.

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