The most common cause of rear limb lameness in dogs is a disease of the cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL). This painful problem also leads to degenerative changes +/- instability in the stifle joint (which, despite its location, actually corresponds to the human knee joint). 

Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO), is a surgical procedure which leads to 95% of dogs returning to normal function including running, jumping and playing.

Cranial cruciate ligament disease is the most common orthopedic problem seen in dogs. Approximately 1 in 700 people suffer from a similar problem (Anterior Cruciate Ligament Disease) but approximately 1 in 70 dogs are diagnosed with CrCL each year. CrCL disease can be crippling if left untreated. 

Over the last 20 years, a technique known as TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy) has been scientifically proved to be the best surgical technique to deal with CrCL disease in the dog. Through a cut (osteotomy) through the upper portion of the tibia (‘shin bone’) and flattening (‘levelling’) of the slope on the top of the tibia stifle joint, the forces through the stifle are modified in such a way that an intact cranial cruciate ligament is no longer needed for normal function of the stifle. A bone plate and screws are utilized to stabilise the cut bone whist it heals.

The TPLO was designed by a veterinary surgeon in the United States named Dr. Barclay Slocum out of Eugene Oregon. It was the first veterinary surgery that was ever patented. One of his goals was to design a surgery for CrCL disease that allowed working/performance dogs to return to work following repair; with a TPLO, this is often achieved.

 

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