While it may carry an increased risk of complications, the recovery from TPLO surgery is often more rapid and complete. About half of all dogs undergoing the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy procedure will be able to walk on the injured limb within 24 hours of post operative recovery. Within 5 days post-op, most dogs will begin weight bearing on their injured limb. After 2 weeks a moderate amount of weight-bearing can be expected. Dogs with partial tears heal more quickly than dogs with complete tears and those requiring removal of the meniscus. During this period it is important to keep your dog quiet with no movement other than bathroom breaks, this is the most crucial period for healing and bone growth.
Around 6 to 8 weeks your veterinarian may want to take x-rays of your canine to be sure that the leg is healing properly. The radiographs taken during this period should show healing full, or almost complete healing at the osteotomy site. All lameness should disappear from your dog by the 10 week mark, although some intermittent lameness is to be expected when first reintroducing exercise.
At 2 months postop your dog should be taking leash walks. These supervised walks should get longer and longer each week in increments your pet is able to tolerate, until your dog is able to walk at least 30 minutes pain free. One of the best ways to reintroduce exercise is to take a few short walks each day rather than one long walk, as this technique is easier on the stifle; dogs exercised in this way also tend to heal faster.
Between 4 to 6 months post-op most restrictions of exercise can be lifted. If your pet is a hunting or agility canine they will need to wait until at least 6 months post op to return to their pre-injury activities. Unrestrained activity prior to this period can lead to injuries in the opposite CCL, spraining of the soft tissues or fractures around the surgical site.
Follow up care of the TPLO dog should include yearly rechecks with a veterinarian to evaluate the degree of arthritis in the knee. While the TPLO procedure will help to slow the progression of arthritis in the joint, no surgical procedure can ever completely rid your dog of this degenerative condition. There are a number of veterinary treatments available for dogs with arthritic tissue, and often the best treatment is to catch the disease in its early stages and take action.