FAQ about TTA / TPLO Cruciate Repair
1. How long will it take for my dog to be back to normal?
That depends on the dogs age, length of injury, any pre-existing arthritis or other orthopedic issues, and type of activity your dog enjoys. 95% of dogs are back to normal in 3 months. The first 6-8 weeks they are on NO running, NO jumping, NO stairs restrictions, but a walking program and early rehab can preserve and speed up the recovery of the muscle strength. Most dogs are walking 70-85% or better by 8 weeks. Dogs that have significant arthritis in thier knee or hip/spinal problems may have residual stiffness permanently and a less than optimum outcome, but they will always still do much better with surgery than they would have without.
2. What complications might I expect?
Our incidence of complications is below the reported levels for both the TTA and the TPLO. The most common complications we see are more minor like licking at the incision, fluid build-up under the incision, swelling around the ankle several days out. Dogs are discharged on one week of antibiotics, and pain medications. Reported complications include: infection or draining tracts (sometimes a year or more later), cold sensitivity of the metal in cold weather, additional meniscal damage (even 1-2 years later), migration or loosening of screws, fluid build-up around the surgery site, failure of bone plate, fractures of tibia, and rarely osteosarcoma of the surgery site.
Our experience is that with careful care the first 2 weeks, then controlled leashed activity the next 4 weeks, we just have not seen any major complications that required a second surgery, and only a few knees that required a second look at the meniscus a year or so later.
3. Which surgery is better, the TTA or TPLO?
We are certified to do both. TPLO is able to correct some of the torsion, steep tibial slopes and patellar issues at the same time as the cruciate repair. TTA provides a slightly quicker return to full walking and can also correct some of the luxating patella cases so in most cases we are recommending the TTA as our first choice. Each case is evaluated individually and the recommendation is based on exam and radiographs. Currently we are doing 49 TTA to every TPLO.
4. How will I pay for surgery?
We accept Visa and all the major credit cards which is how most fund the surgery. We have also begun offering Care Credit: a no or low interest payment plan available for pets. See www.carecredit.com and get pre-approved. Payment can also be by check or cash and is expected at the time of discharge.
5. What Follow-up is required after surgery?
Dogs that have knee surgery generally need to stay over one night. The next day they are started on oral medications and are discharged with strict instructions for restricted activity, icing, and monitoring of incision. Staples are removed at 2 weeks post-op, and generally an early leash only rehab program can begin then. 6 weeks post-op an x-ray is required to asess bone healing and more exercise is prescribed. A third exam and x-ray may be required 4 weeks after that for final discharge. Most dogs can have all the follow-up done at their Veterinarian if needed. If you are able to travel, we have a recheck package that covers all the x-rays, rechecks, and rehab recommendations required to get to final healing.