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What is the Actual Cost of TPLO Surgery?

How much does TPLO surgery for ccl cost?

How much will a TPLO surgery for my dog cost?  How much should I expect to spend on a TPLO repair?

TPLO, also known as Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, is a CCL repair technique through which the veterinary surgeon alters the head of the tibia and plates it to create a new joint angle.  Simply put – your veterinarian will re-invent your dog’s injured knee joint to provide increased stability through changing the way the top and bottom of the leg meet at the knee joint.  This is the most invasive, and requires the most surgical skill, of all the surgical cranial cruciate ligament repair options; it is also the most expensive.  In this article we will break down an actual TPLO cost estimate and explore the cost of choosing this type of CCL repair surgery for your dog.

Below is the estimate I received for my dog to undergo TPLO surgery. 

A few things to note before going into the details of the invoice:

1)  My dog in an American Bulldog weighing roughly 90 pounds (normal weight), and is 5 years old.

2)  He is in good health with no pre-existing conditions that would complicate anesthesia or surgery.

3)  This estimate, although some of the information has been blacked out to protect privacy, is from a speciality veterinary clinic with veterinary surgeons who specialize in cranial cruciate ligament repair surgeries in dogs.

4)  I live in Southern California, and this estimate is from a veterinary office in that area.

Here is the estimate I received for a TPLO CCL repair.  The low end of the estimate was $3,892.79 and the high end of the estimate was $4,03.58 for TPLO surgery.

How much you can expect to spend on TPLO


I will go line by line to go over the charges included in the cost of TPLO surgery.  For smaller animals some of the values will be less, and accordingly for larger dogs.  Hopefully this invoice will give you a basic picture of what you can expect to pay for a TPLO, and where all of the money goes.

EST TPLO Surgery Med/Large – $0 – Just tells us what type of estimate we are looking at.

CBC and Chemistry Profile – $163.80 – Basic blood panel the veterinarian will want to run prior to surgery to determine if you dog is fit to be put under anesthesia and to rule out any other complications.  One way we could have saved money here was to have our dog’s regular vet perform this blood panel at a lower price than to have it done at the speciality clinic.

Radiograph, 2 Views – $224.70 – This is the x-rays that need to be performed prior to the TPLO so the surgeon is able to properly manipulate the tibia during surgery to create the desired angles.  These will need to be performed somewhere prior to TPLO, and some veterinarians will want to do the xrays themselves.

Radiology Interpretation – $45.68 – Fee charged for processing and reading the x-ray.

Catheterization, Intravenous – $94.00 – This fee is for the placement and maintainence of an IV catheter while your dog is undergoing and recovering from TPLO surgery.  Your dog will be given IV fluids and possibly medications through this catheter during the duration of surgery and post operative hospitalization.

Epidural Injection – $86.52 – Local anesthetic (pain relieving medication) will be injected into the lumbosacral (in the spine) space of your dog prior to surgery.  Depending on what types of medication(s) your veterinarian uses this can help to alleviate pain after surgery, and desensitize the effected site during surgery.

Surgery Room Use – $113.82 – Fee for using the Operating Room space to perform the TPLO.

TPLO Inhalant Anesthesia – $306.34 – Cost of putting your dog under gas anesthesia for the time required to perform the TPLO procedure.  This is used in conjunction with the epidural anesthesia.

Surgical Anesthesia Level 1 – $294.00 – Fee for dog to be put under anesthesia and monitored during TPLO surgery.

Surgical Supplies, Orthopedic – $358.05 – Cost for instruments to be used during surgery; this does not include the cost of the actual TPLO implant.

TPLO Surgical Implants, Med/Large – $358.05 – Cost of TPLO implant plates to be placed on the bone during surgery.

TPLO Surgeons Fee – $974.40 – Price veterinary surgeon charges to perform TPLO operation.

Radiograph, Post Op – $192.52 – Cost of x-ray to be taken following surgery to check placement of implant and knee joint angles.

Elective Ortho Hospitalization, General – $138.92 – Cost of overnight hospital stay following TPLO repair surgery.

Fluids – IV, Inital 24 Hours – $0-$190.31 – This would depend on whether or not your dog was being cared for at the hospital post operatively, and how much fluids your pet required.

Misc. Medications, Orthopedic – $450 – This includes prescription medications given to your pet post operatively and those sent home with you during the post operative period.  They would include a sedative (Acepromazine), pain relief (Tramadol), anti inflammatory (Rimadyl), and an antibiotic(Cephalexin), and possibly other medications at your veterinarian’s discretion.

Fentanyl, 75 mcg patch – $65 – Pain relief patch that will be placed in your pet to control post operative discomfort.

Buster Collar, Clear – $25.26 – Collar to be placed on your dog during the post operative period to prevent them from ripping out their stitches or injuring the surgical site.

Included:  X-ray at 8 weeks to check the post operative recovery and  misc. sedative (not sure if this is sedative used during the surgery itself or the sedative medication to take home with you following TPLO surgery).

Also included are all of the post operative recheck visits, but be aware that if you pet develops any complications related to the surgery you will be required to pay for any additional expenses incurred.

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86 Responses to What is the Actual Cost of TPLO Surgery?

  1. Jenn January 28, 2010 at 8:59 am #

    My 110pound AmBull just had his second TPLO done in So. Cal. and the price was $3900. I think the surgery is actually $4500. Since this was our second time we were given the same rate as the first. I have heard the price can be up to 5k. It is a very complicated surgery and extremely invasive, so make sure you are very comfortable with your surgeon. I have total confidence in our guy, as the first leg has healed perfectly and our pooch is thriving.

    • Julie March 28, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      just checking in to see how your pup is doing and where you had the surgery done. we are in socal as well and are trying to get a good recommendation for our rotties tplo! Thank you!!

    • Royya Modir March 26, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

      Jenn, Who did you go to?? I need a surgeon in San Diego!

      • T Sinclair April 1, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

        Royya…I am in San Diego and currently making the rounds trying to decide which surgeon and which procedure for my 7 yr old, male, 78 lb Golden Retriever. I have been told by a top surgeon whose facility has done approx 100 TightRope extracapsular procedures that the long-term outcomes have not been as good as hoped due to mainly bacterial infection and soft tissue irritation from the special suture material. He rarely does them anymore. One facility will do TPLO for $3,000. Another recommends TTA and quoted $4,600. Leaning heavily towards Sorrento Valley Veterinary Specialty Hospital. They seem to be the experts and mid-priced. Good luck!

  2. Wai February 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    As I stated in my other entry, our 9 year old 150lbs french mastiff had TPLO surgery on Aug 2009. We live near Washington DC and the total cost of the surgery was around $3600, exclusive of medication and pre-op xrays which were $400. I think medicine was around $300, we got alot back using our pet insurance VPI.

    • Jess June 26, 2012 at 2:57 am #

      Can you let me know which vet group you used? Our yellow lab needs TPLO but we are new to the DC area (Kensington) and don’t know where to start! Our previous vet recommended a place in Philly but we would ideally not want to drive hours to get the surgery done.


  3. Katie February 23, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

    We had the surgery done last Friday on our 60lb American Pit Bull Terrier. The range they gave us was $2300-3300. We priced out the same surgery with the same surgeon at a different vet office and received an estimate of $3400. It depends on the fees your vet office charges because the surgeons fee was the same at both places. The surgery ended up coming in around $2400 with meds and including all her post op appointments to come.

    We used this same surgeon on her other knee 4 years ago and are optimistic we will have the same positive outcome.

    Plan the surgery close to the weekend or when you can be home.

    • keri January 11, 2013 at 5:28 pm #


      I just read about your dogs surgery from back in 2010….our 75 lb. yellow lab has just been diagnosed with the same condition in BOTH knees. EEEK!..anyhow, How is your dog now? and what state do you live in. We have been quoted 3800.00 – 4400.00 per knee. I like your price better!

      • Angela January 12, 2013 at 9:04 am #

        Hey Keri,

        I know for us our vet mostly worked with the VCA and the Orthopedic surgeon she sent us to worked at a few different locations doing surgeries. We are located in Indianapolis so they actually had us go outside of Indianapolis to one of his smaller locations to get a better price. We drove an hour further than we would have, but at least saved some. Our Newfoundland was 1 when we did the surgery and she is now 4. We only did 1 knee and she does well. We are expecting to have to do the other knee in the next year or two. Our vet isn’t worried about it right now because she isn’t in pain. She does have to take anti inflamatores every day as well as a Glucosamine/Chondroitin tablet daily. She does pretty well getting around, but does tire very quickly. We adopted an older newfoundland to pal around with her so that they are both lower key and can hang out together. If you can wait I would not feel bad at all getting price quotes from other orthopedic surgeons or looking in smaller communities around you. Like I mentioned earlier we had the same surgeon, but since it was just at a smaller location out in the country it was a cheaper price!

    • tricia June 10, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      Where did you take your dog to get her surgery and how is your dog doing now. I am in the Long Beach, CA area.
      I just took her to So Cal Specialty Hospital and they quoted me 3800-4000

      • andria June 10, 2014 at 10:40 am #

        Ya that’s the average cost of the surgery. I am in Canada and paid $4000 both times. It’s a very intimidating price, but it’s an amazing surgery. My dog is 100% and he’s had both legs done. I wouldn’t ever want that money back in return for a my dog being crippled. So so glad I did it

      • Kim June 10, 2014 at 11:04 am #

        My lab mix had hers done at Arrow Animal Hospital in Glendale, AZ last year for $3000.00 and they offer 0% interest on payment plans!! Dr Sherrell did a wonderful job on ! They have been taking care of our dogs for over 12 years and every Dr there is awesome!

  4. Lynn March 31, 2010 at 6:46 am #

    My 92lb lab had the surgery done in Guelph, ON and for everything it came out to be $3900 for one leg and another $3900 for the other leg which was done 3 months later. I priced various veterinary hospitals in the area (as far as Toronto) and the Ontario Veterinary Hospital at the University of Guelph was the most reasonable and closest to me and so far everything has been great. He’s made a full recovery from the 1st leg and anticipating a full recovery from the 2nd.

  5. Lee April 8, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    Thank you for your post, Lynn, since we’re in Oshawa, ON and am having to decide on which procedure to opt for for our 90 lb Lab.. I guess the key is finding a good surgeon, regardless of cost. It sounds like you are satisfied so far with the results. How’s your Lab’s recovery going?

    • Tom October 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

      I just brought my 84 lb Chocolate lab home from the vet after TPLO surgery. Too early to report on the outcome, of course, but the cost, was about $2,200 including pre-op X-rays and all services and medications associated with the surgery itself. An 8-week post-op visit will be required with X-rays, at a probable additional cost of about $250. The procedure was completed in Port Hope, ON by a specialist surgeon, arranged through our regular vet.

      • Amber November 12, 2012 at 9:11 am #

        Just found out that my one yr old boxer needs to have TPLO surgery on her knee and I saw that you took your dog to Port Hope I was wondering if you could give the name of the place so that I could look into taking her there. I very nervous about the surgery as well, it’s alot of money and I’m worried it wouldn’t work.

        If you could please email me back that would be great thank you


        • Ivan November 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm #


          I actually took my Newfoundlander to the Toronto Vet Animal Hospital located at 21 Rolark Dr., Scarborough, ON (416-247-8387). She had surgery on Sept 17th and as of two weeks ago she’s been moving around fine. At first I was kinda worried myself as it was going to cost around $4,000.00 (she’s a big girl 165lbs, so maybe might be cheaper for your Boxer). After the surgery she didn’t eat for three days and wouldn’t want to get up. I was worried but the doctor had mentioned that it woul d take at least a couple of weeks before she would be herself………she is now moving around better and wants to play but we can’t let her get too excited as we want her to fully heel first. She will be going for her other leg in approximately 3 weeks. Doctors say she is doing great and she moving around better.

          Hope this helps.


        • terra November 11, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

          Hi. I’m wondering if you can tell me where you wound up completing the surgery and what the cost and result was. Thanks!

          • Thom November 14, 2015 at 7:56 am #

            Hi, not sure if this was intended for me but the notice showed up in my email. I am in San Diego and after visiting 3 practices in the area in addition to my golden retriever’s regular vet, I took him to the

            Veterinary Specialty Hospital
            10435 Sorrento Valley Rd, San Diego, CA 92121
            Phone: (858) 875-7500

            They were not the most or least expensive. I think the total was about $4,000. Dr. Jackson performed TPLO in late April 2015 and now, 6 months later, you would never know there was ever a problem. The facility is amazing, just like a human hospital. They are affiliated with UC Davis school of vet medicine. I understand they are even currently working on a complete vet organ transplant center. Highly recommended.

          • Tricia November 16, 2015 at 10:03 am #

            I got quotes as high as 3800.00
            My friend who lives in san diego also had a boxer, who injured his knee a week before my dog injured hers.
            They take the dogs to
            Rose Canyon Animal Hospital
            4295 Jutland Drive
            San Diego CA 92117
            This is where I ended up getting the surgery. They have an off site doctor that performs the surgery
            His name is Dr Frankel.
            The whole thing cost me $2068.92
            That cost includes ALL of the follow up visits.
            Dr Frankel did an amazing job on my dog and my friends dog.
            Lady is running and doing everything she used to. When she sits her leg sits out a little more on that side. She had the surgery in June of 2014
            I hope this helps
            I was looking for so many answers when I was going thru this.

            (the 3800.00 for the orange county doctor did not include any of the follow up visits. its crazy)

      • Karen March 26, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

        Thanks for sharing your information. Do you remember the name of the Vet?

      • Larry July 14, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

        Hi, can I have the name of the surgeon in port hope, mine in Toronto wants 4g, saving 1800 would be most help. can u please tell me the doctors and his vet clinic, please. Larry also how is your dog doing/ did it work and he o.k.?

      • andria February 4, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

        Just wondering Tom, how your lab is doing post tplo surgery.
        My lab has a partial tear that is not healing and I need to find a surgeon before it tears and I end up in emerge with an inflated bill

  6. Rachel April 12, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    My 8.5 year-old Irish Setter had TPLO in December in Calgary, AB. The results have been TREMENDOUS! It’s like living with a pup again – we are 4 months post-op this week and she and I have been on a couple of major hikes in the past month and it doesn’t even phase her. So glad to have her back. I say this because the expense was significant! I tried some wholistic routes before surgery which ran me about $1000. The surgery itself was $4000 and I opted for after-care physio for 6 weeks after surgery where she went to the physio-therapist two days a week for water treadmill and ultrasound treatments which cost $1500. So the grand total to get the knee back to normal was $6500!!!!!! It has been tough to swallow but having her back is GREAT. I just have to hope and pray that she doesn’t blow the other one!

    • Shawna May 25, 2016 at 9:16 pm #

      Hi. Who did you go to for the surgery in Calgary?
      Thank you

      • Rachel May 27, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

        We had it done at Western Vet – I want to say that it was Dr Remedios but it’s been a very long time!

        • T Car May 27, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

          Caledon Mountain Vet performed our dogs surgery in Jan 2016. He opted for a new version of the TTA surgery ( TTA 2 )… The price was reasonable… much better than expected for our 5 yr old, 110lb lab mix and we are very happy with the results! We are more cautious with our boy than in the past but he’s back to normal. We were very sceptical as there is so much conflicting info out there but we feel that our money was well spent!

          • Priyanka Gupta May 31, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

            How much did it cost ?

  7. Matt April 21, 2010 at 5:48 am #

    We just had TPLO done last week wednesday in Milwaukee foe $2513 which includes everything and 2 follow up appointments with x-rays, pain patch 60 day supply of 2 different types of medication etc. Before reading this I thought I might have overpaid because I only took her to the dr my vet recommended as the best in the area; however now I think I got off pretty easy on the financial side.

    I think they did a great job the swelling and redness is already gone and she is putting just about as much weight on th joint as she was prior to surgery. The hardest part is keeping her relaxed and confined.

    • Lisa July 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm #


      Where did you get your surgery done? My Mastiff needs TPLO and we’ve been quoted $5000!! If you could email me that would be wonderful.


      • Matt July 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

        We had 2 tplo surguries done at 2 different places. The cheaper and more flat rate deal was performed by Dr. Weiser who did a great job at the animal emergency center on silver spring. I believe she is no longer there as we had to go to the Wisconsin referral center in grafton for the second one. The pricing wasn’t as straight forward but it came out to about the same price and they did a great job. Dog is 100% healed now and is back to her old antics.

        • Matt July 6, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

          Correction it was dr. Dana king who did the first surgery at that price. At the animal emergency center on silver spring In Glendale. Not sure if she is still there.

      • Michelle December 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

        OMG Lisa I was just quoted $5000 today as well for English Mastiff!!! I am in Arizona and we need help!!

      • Ron November 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

        did you ever have the tplo for your mastiff I am facing the same procedure for my 160 lb mastiff was curious the outcome


  8. Lynn April 22, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    Hi Lee:

    Bud is doing very well with the first leg – completely healed. He’s a little slower with the second leg but it is coming. He’s just 5 weeks post op and had him checked out last week and it’s looking good. I would recommend the OVC – there is another clinic in Oakville,, which we checked out and they could have taken Bud right away – a little more cost, but I opted for OVC because I live in Guelph and figured with the additional cost of travelling and time off work wasn’t worth it. I put Bud on a waiting list at OVC and was in within a few weeks. Hope this helps

  9. Sharon June 4, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Hello Matt,

    Where in Milwaukee did you go for TPLO? Our vet in town wants to charge about $5K for both knees.

  10. Brent September 2, 2010 at 9:37 am #


    I could use the same info. I’m seeing estimates of $2,500 – $3,000 from Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Center (Waukesha) and from Lakeshore Veterinary Specialists (Port Washington).
    My dog is a 6 year old, 42 lb mixed breed.

  11. Lori September 3, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    Where did you take your dog in Milwaukee, Matt. My vet who is an orthopedic surgeon just left the clinic I go to last week and I can’t find another ortho vet and looking for a good place to take my dog, as he suddenly just stopped walking on hind leg a week ago and they said it was torn cartilage. Thanks

  12. Leslie October 2, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    My 11 month old Chow Chow has blown out both cruciate ligaments (at the same time) and needs surgery. Has anyone had any experience with having the TPLO surgery on both knees at the same time?

  13. Christina November 16, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    I have a three yr old american bull dog and she just had her first TPLO on her right leg done on Aug.31,2010. The total charge was $3500 this included all follow up appointments and xrays along with all medications she was sent home with. Now I just have to save up for the left leg….. 🙁

  14. Dave December 13, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    My 6 year old Lab Ebony just had TPLO done on both her knees one week ago and is recovering now. She was a very active dog and now a real pissed off dog. I live in Gilbert Arizona and she had the surgery at Arizona Veterinary Specialist. The total cost of the surgery was $4500 which includles two follow up vists. With two children at home that truly love their dog what choice did I have? She is in a pen for 24hrs a day with me taking her out 3 to 4 times a day to go to the bathroom. She has started to put more weight on her legs and might even be able to support herself on her own, but, I’m taking no chances whatsoever.I thought I payed a good price for the procedure and I’m hoping for good results. The road to recovery has been hard and very time consuming, but, we consider her a part of the family and would do it again.

    • Michelle December 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

      Hi Dave 🙂

      I live in Tempe and I have to have TPLO done to my English Mastiff. I was just quoted $5000 for one knee!! How is your dog doing now??? Can you please tell me whee this vet is?? Thank you!

      • Kim December 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

        Michelle, I live on the west side and my vet Dr Sherrell @ Arrow Animal Hospital quoted me on knee surgery for my Lab mix. I choose to wait since her injury seems to be healing w/ limited play time and supplements. His quote was a little lower than $5000 and he is an awesome Doc. It may be a trip out here but it may be well worth it. Arrow Animal Hospital 51st Ave & Glendale in Glendale, AZ 623-938-2707. Good Luck with your baby!

  15. Pam January 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    My 9 yr standard poodle just blew out her second ACL 18 months after having the first TPLO surgery. The first surgery cost me $4500 from start to finish. She goes in tomorrow for the second leg to be operated on. I am concerned about her recovery due to her age, but she did great with the first surgery. The price of the surgery is a little hard to swallow. It will be a total of almost $9000 in under 19 months. But I did not even consider the alternative. She is the most loyal and loving member of our family .

    • Rachel January 12, 2011 at 10:46 am #

      My 9 year-old setter blew her second in August. The second has been a slightly slower recovery – 4 months in and the leg still shakes from exhaustion sometimes but she is moving around, running, and playing really well. I will need to take out a second mortgage on my house if anythign else goes wrong though! Mine were about $9000 in total as well – but she’s my baby how could I not?!

  16. Lynn January 12, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    My 6 year old lab blew his second ACL 4 months after the first and it was 9,000 in total for both legs, He was given a final clearance this past July/10 and it was the best money I ever had to spend he is 95% recovered and runs and plays like a pup again. I just ended up getting a second job to pay the bill.

    • Lee January 12, 2011 at 11:52 am #

      Hi Lynn: I’m the same Lee that posted back in April/10. We opted for a TPLO for our Lab for her right stifle which was done at the VEC in Toronto back last April – cost was approx. $3,700.. Everything was great and she recovered fabulously.. but then, last Sept., she injured her left, in keeping with the ‘there’s a 50% chance they’ll tear the other knee’ statistics.. I suspect not a full but a partial CCL tear since her reaction to the injury was different, and she seemed to recover after 3 weeks with reduced activity. Although it has yet to be diagnosed officially by our vet (she recovered, but then injured it again.. then recovered what seemed to be fully again.. then injured it again just before Christmas, etc.), she’ll more than likely need to get another TPLO done.. We’re ‘managing’ the injury at this point, waiting for our next insurable period to get it done since we already maxed out our coverage getting the right done last year.. It’s horrible that we have to wait, since it’s been such a drag for her not being able to run and play like a ‘normal’ dog… :/

  17. Lynn January 12, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    Including all preliminary xrays at our vet, surgery, medication, follow up visits and xrays and the Ontario Veterinary College here in Guelph, Ontario the cost was $4870.00 per leg

  18. Lynn January 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Hi Lee – I can understand the upset in not being able to play or run with your dog – Bud was 8 months between both surgeries and recovery. We tried “managing” his injuries with therapy but he’s just to big and active we finally had to breakdown and go for the surgery (after spending a small fortune on therapy). His second leg was slower at recovering and we were a bit worried but he did make a full recovery and I still panic if he slips or slides or tries to jump at the park but he’s having a ball. Good luck with your little lady and I hope she makes a full recovery

    • Lee January 13, 2011 at 9:46 am #

      Thanks, Lynn! I know I’ll be the same way, i.e., paranoid about her running, playing and twisting her knee.. I remember the comment from the orthopedic surgeon at the VEC after her right TPLO: “there’s no way she can injure that leg ever again unless she actually breaks a bone”…. I’ll need to remember this when she gets her left one done haha…

    • Lee January 26, 2011 at 6:06 am #

      Hi Lynn:

      Just curious – how long was Bud’s recovery after his 2nd TPLO? After Jessie had her right done last April, she was walking ‘limp free’ after only a couple of months.. and was at the cottage dock diving by August haha… By that time you’d never know she had had it done..

      We did a movie of her TPLO experience if anyone’s interested –


  19. Angela January 24, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Our 2 year old Newfoundland had to have TPLO surgery on her right leg and it cost $3,000. We were given this as a quote before surgery so when we got the bill and it was a little more we argued that we were told what they told us and they brought it down to 3,000. Her left leg is now going out and we might have to do it next…

  20. Lynn January 26, 2011 at 6:22 am #

    Hi Lee – Bud was like Jessie after his first knee surgery. Bounced back so quickly we were just amazed. The second knee was slower. We were worried actually and had him back at OVC a couple of times to be checked and xrayed but it turned out it just took longer with the second knee. He had it done in March and I would say it was probably June before we felt that he was going to be fine and Sept before we were confident enough to let him really run free at the park with his buddies. We did take him swimming a lot because we were told that was one of the best exercises for him for recovery and to keep his weight down – we just put a swim vest on in case he tired – as you know labs will NOT leave the water unless dragged away! LOL He is now almost a year since the second surgery and you would never know that he’s a $9,000 bionic dog with steel plates in his knees – he bounces and chases ball with the best of them.

    • Lee January 26, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

      Thanks, Lynn! I think Jessie will be the same as Bud so good to know what to expect.. It’s funny – the orthopedic vet who did her TPLO said ‘no swimming for 4 months’ after her surgery.. Meanwhile a friend in Ottawa, whose dog also had a TPLO, was recommended by her vet to get Abby into hydrotherapy ‘the moment the stitches are out’.. We had Jessie swimming, oh, about a week or two after her staples were out (such defiant rebels we are ha!) and swear by swimming as being key in her fast recovery. The buoyancy of the water gives them the maximum range of motion mobility & strengthening exercises without the joint stress of their body weight..

      Glad to hear Bud’s runnin’ with his buddies like nobody’s business hehe…

      And a big ‘LOL’ at the bionic dog comment haha…

  21. Lynn January 26, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    Hi again Lee – I just watched your video and if I didn’t know better I would swear that Jessie was my Bud – they look soooo much alike and the video was so much like what we went through – same leg – same everything – it was like reliving his first surgery again.

    • Lee January 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

      Thanks, Lynn.. I posted the video for anyone who might be going through the same thing.. Before Jessie’s surgery believe you me I was Googling everything, from watching videos of the actual procedure to people’s personal experiences documented on YouTube, you name it.. People sharing info, and on blogs such as this, are such a help to us all. Thank God for the internet haha… 😉

  22. Russell February 3, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    We just had a TPLO performed on our dog two weeks ago at California Animal Referral and Emergency Hospital in Santa Barbara. She is now bearing 90% weight on the leg and we can hardly keep her confined. The surgey cost us about $3000. There will be additional charge for recheck x-ray at six weeks as well. She is doing great, let’s just hope the other knee holds up.

  23. Karo February 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    My 6 year old lab (87lb) needs to have a TPLO done on his right back knee. I am located in So. Cal (Glendale CA to be exact). I was told there is a great place here in Glendale to get the surgery done but since its Saturday I need to wait until Monday to call and find out how much this will end up costing.

    If you have had TPLO done in So Cal, can you please tell me where you went and how much it ended up costing you and how happy you are with everything that happened?

    Any info would be great.


  24. Deana May 27, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    I need help !!! My 6.5 year old Bull Mastiff had her first surgery 5 years ago and now is in so much pain and needing the other one done . My heart in so much pain as I want to take her pain away but cant afford the 2nd surgery . This year financially has been so stressful. I am in fear that I may have to put her down . Can any one help? She is my child and I feel so helpless. I applied for Care credit and was turned down . I don’t usually put my self out there . But I am so scared I will have to do what I don’t want to . Any help on what I Can do ? I live in San Diego .

    • Lee May 27, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

      Why would you put your dog down for a knee injury?.. That would be not only unnecessary but inhumane… There are several options which dont’ involve you begging for money from strangers on the internet… You don’t have to to get the surgery NOW – why don’t you just save up for it? Even if you don’t get it for a year or two.. and in the meantime look into some reasonable pain management (i.e., acupuncture, herbal remedies/anti-inflammatories, etc.). There’s a Yahoo site I belong to called Conservative Management – a great group who advise on non-surgical options for dogs with torn cruciates and other assorted ligament/joint problems.. You could even look into getting a bank loan.. Also, you more than likely have a Mastiff club or rescue group that you could talk to. Coming on here begging for money just makes you look like a typical on-line con artist (a sob story in the hopes that some naive schmuck will be idiotic enough to send a stranger money)….

  25. angie May 28, 2011 at 5:39 am #

    I definitely agree about the conservative management group on yahoo. We have a Newfoundland that has bad knees and fixed one but will probably not do the second because of many circumstances. She is on anti inflsmmatories and glucosamine supplements and has been doing great after going on them. There are usually options other than just surgery.

  26. Deana May 31, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    Thank you for your reply … The message I wrote was in fear and anxiety. I LOVE my Sophie/animals. I wrote this in a time when I was feeling very helpless. I am looking in to options and I will do what I need to do for the best of my baby.

  27. Lynn May 31, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    Deana – I tried MANY options when my lab tore both knees including conservative management. I finally decided enough was enough and I took a second job to pay for both knees to be done. It meant I wasn’t at home with him as much as I would have like to have been but he is now well and running around like crazy again. I don’t regret the extra job to be able to pay for the surgery.

  28. Chris August 16, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    We just got a quote for TPLO for our golden retriever for 4600-5100 in southern CA. OWWW!!

    • Lee August 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

      Wow that’s high, unless the cost of the procedure has gone up since our Lab had hers last April!.. I’m in Toronto, Canada and we went to one of the top clinics in the country to have it done.. The total for her TPLO was just under $3,800..

      I would shop around and do some more research – clinics can have sliding fees as you know, with some charging more for less, and others charging less but are just as reliable and reputable – unless you can justify paying more than what you really should be charged! Cheers!

  29. Kirsten September 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm #


    We are facing two TPLOs staggered two-four weeks apart for our 2.5 year old aussie mix. I just opened an online bake shop to help with the $7500 cost:

    Gotta do whatever it takes to get them running again, right?

    • Lee September 10, 2011 at 11:26 am #

      Hi Kirsten:

      Awesome idea! Love the site – LOVED the videos, and the indie pop tunes you used with some of them hehe… I’m a skier too, although Ontario skiing is nothing like Colorado! Our black diamond runs are like your blues haha…

      Scout is an active girl, so I know how heart-breakingly difficult it is having to go through this.. But believe me, in 4 to 6 mos. after surgery she’ll be back to her ol’ crazy self.. The rehab is the key, and reducing activity for awhile.. Hydrotherapy, if you have a place close to you, is the best rehab for them…

      Our crazy Lab was back to her normal dock diving, rock diving, skijoring self in no time, and so will yours… Good luck!

      P.S. Do you ship to Canada? If so I can get the word out – I manage a dog forum up here ( so can post your url on there..

      Lee 🙂

      • Kirsten September 14, 2011 at 9:08 am #

        Thanks! I spent a lot of time building the site. I hadn’t thought about shipping to Canada, but I will definitely look into it and let you know!

        We have a hydrotherapy canine rehab center < 5 miles away, so we will definitely be taking her there!

        If you all know of anyone who would like to buy some doggie treats or human treats, I'd love it if you could pass on the site!

        Lots of love to everyone else facing this scary time.

    • Lee September 10, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

      Just in case anyone is interested, here’s Jessie’s pre and post-op xrays..



  30. Josette October 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Wow! It’s really great to hear all of these responses & so crazy on how much they can cost. We live in Atlanta. All of the orthopedics here quoted $3000-$3500 for one knee. That would include everything down to post op exams & x rays. I opted to go to Auburn University & pay $2350. They did an AMAZING job on my 8.5 yr old, 60lb Boxer. He is 6 weeks out of surgery & like a puppy again. We go tomorrow to have him x rayed & I will pay out of pocket for that. But, to save $500-$1000 was worth it!

    I highly suggest going to a reputable University if you can. We are lucky to be surrounded by both Auburn & UGA who both have incredibly reputable Veterinary Training Hospitals.

    • Mike January 3, 2012 at 10:30 am #

      Wow I didn’t realize how much some of these vets are charging. I would agree with Josette and look for a reputable university. I took my boxer to Purdue University and it cost about $2300 for everything except the follow up. They did a great job and her right knee is back to normal.

  31. NickMacy, DVM, DACVS November 15, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

    Hello all. Please note that there are many variables to consider:
    1. Is arthroscopic assistance being used? This adds cost but potentially improves outcome.
    2. Is the surgeon board certified by the ACVS?
    3. Is there 24 hour veterinarian supervised care?
    4. Is the surgeon using locking implants which are much more secure but also more expensive.
    5. Has the surgeon discussed all the alternatives including conservative approaches, TTA, tighrope etc.
    6. Is this a “traveling” surgeon who does not work at the hospital where the surgery is being performed?
    7. If so, will you have an opportunity to meet the surgeon in person?

    In our practice cruciate injury consults are one hour minimum-this reflects the large amount of information you need to make the best choice for your pet. Hope this helps.

    • questions to questions September 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

      1. It is not proven that arthroscopy “potentially” improves outcome, In fact, recent human literature has shown that arthroscopy has been potentially overutilized in people. Just because you can perform arthroscopy does not mean it improves outcome. It should be case dependent.
      2. The person who invented the TPLO was not a board certified ACVS surgeon and in fact many in the college (who now recommend TPLOs) were vehemently against the procedure and Dr. Slocum. The college also voted to not give him a postumus certification. While being a board certified ACVS surgeon may help a client know a certain level of credential has been met, I believe a more important question is how many TPLOs has the surgeon performed.

      • NickMacy September 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

        Well this is just not correct. You don’t site a reference but I’m not sure you understand the concept. In this case the comparison is between arthrotomy and arthroscopy of the canine stifle. Arthroscopy has been demonstrated to have greater sensitivity in detecting mensical tears in dogs (see Pozzi, et al vet surg 2008). Dogs return to normal function more quickly after stifle arthroscopy when compared with arthrotomy (Hoezler et al vet surg 2004). While surgery of any type may be overused in people or dogs, to argue that arthoscopy does not improve outcome when compared to arthrotomy is just plain wrong. It’s important to base these decisions upon evidence. In the case of canine cruciate disease, the evidence overwhelmingly supports the use of arthroscopy instead of arthrotomy

        With regard to your comments about Dr. Slocum, it is true that he was not board certified. He was however, residency trained. Why he did not complete his credentialing for ACVS certification I don’t know. After his death the college voted narrowly against a motion to award posthumous board certification. While I voted for certification, surgeons I spoke to cited two reasons for voting against. Some were upset with Slocum’s patenting of the procedure, which many considered unethical. Other’s felt that it would lower the bar for certification and encourage other residency trained surgeons to blow off the certifications process. All water well under the bridge. The point remains, ACVS certified surgeons are more rigorously trained than general practice veterinarians. Does that mean that every diplomate is more skilled than any GP? Of course not. But it does assure a greater degree of training. And yes number of surgeries performed is important, but volume isn’t everything.

        In summary I would argue that the points made in my post stand as valid criteria for evaluating a veterinary provider.

  32. Jessica December 30, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Does anyone know of any near Youngstown, OH? Our 1 and 1/2 year old American Bulldog needs surgery on both legs I was quoted $3600 to $3900 if the surgeon uses the scope if not it will be $3000 to $3200 for just one leg. I’m just not sure at this point if we should let him heal for 8 weeks and then schedule the surgery if not any better, any thoughts?

  33. Mary March 21, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    I just got the estimate for the TPLO surgery for my 6 year-old 155 pound newf. VOSM ( Vetinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group) in Maryland is quoting $3650 as high. That is just for the surgery, not including blood work or follow-up. They are great!. He had arthoscopic work done on his elbows 2 years ago and they were wonderful. This is all they do. I just need to figure out how to come up with the $$. It sounds like this cost is inline with what others are saying, so I feel okay with it.

    • Ivan September 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      Hello Mary,

      I was curious to know how your newf is doing? I own a newf and she is actually going in for surgery tomorrow (TPLO) on her elbow. One for now and then 8 weeks later on her other. My newf is 170lbs. Just wondering if the size made a difference in the recovery and how was the rehab process.

      • Angela September 26, 2012 at 10:11 am #

        Hello! Our Newfie Kahlua had her TPLO surgery 2 years ago. She was 160 pounds at the time, but since surgery we have gotten her down to 140 pounds. She’s a genetic mess and her structure is too big for her bad back legs to carry so we’ve found this weight to be ok for her to carry on. She’s going to be 4 this winter and so far is doing great on the knee that had the TPLO. Her left knee is not great, she has no pain, but it’s starting to look bad. I’m figuring it’ll have to undergo the TPLO in the next year or two. Our rehab was simply keeping her in a confined space for weeks and doing some exercises they gave us to do. Feel free to google “Kahlua TPLO” and you can find a blog I had made for her at the time for how we went through things. I made a sling, but they ended up giving us one that was already billed to us so we used it because it was stronger. Good luck with your newfie Ivan! Everything will be fine I’m sure, just remember to take things slow!!!

  34. Michelle Rybicki April 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    I have really good news for eveyone here!!! My 208lb English Mastiff was diagnosed with a partial tear to his cruciate ligament in November 2011. I did alot of crying when I found out he had to have TPLO surgery 🙁 There were some thing the specialist stated that didn’t make sense, so I did alot of research on his condition and the surgery. I beg if you read this, STOP, DO YOUR RESEARCH AND KNOW YOUR OPTIONS!!! I am reading about smaller dogs here having this surgery NOT NEEDED there are other less invasive surgeries out there. I again am begging, stop reading about the TPLO surgery and read the bad reviews on it. KNOW YOUR OPTIONS PLEASE be good to your furbaby, we owe it to them!!

    I share this with you since I did weeks of research about the surgery on the internet. I did not do the recommended (per the vet “must have” TPLO Surgery)!! I am on my 5 months of home care, keeping my baby limited to activity and he is allmost back to himself!! I have followed a site on the internet guiding in how to do this. Now I know not all injuries are the same and I respect such, but again DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE RUNNING OFF TO HAVE THIS INVASIVE SURGERY!!

    • questions to questions September 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

      Please update us on his progress. I would caution you on Dr. Google research as it is a wikipedia of “knowlege” out there. I would also caution you that your dog will likely go onto a complete tear within one year. Ligaments, if they heal, only heal to 70% of normal strength. A 200 lbs. Mastiff puts a lot of force on that partially torn ligament. I have seen about 80-90% of partial tears that were treated conservatively return with complete tears within one year (in large dogs >40 lbs). Small dogs and cats have different treatment options depending each case. I hope he does well, but I believe the Specialist was giving you sound advice.

    • Winston June 17, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

      Rehab a large dog for 5-6 months with limited activity… Just so he can injury the knee the next time you throw a ball? Or you just not planning to exercise the dog anymore, it really seems like it’s a no brainer. Get the money, fix 1 leg then start saving for the other leg. My Shepherd, Shogi is only 105lbs. He’s just having surgery on 1 today. I hate like hell putting him threw this… But what’s the alternative? Be cheap, put a brace on and never let him play again?? That’s not a dogs life. I just find it amazing so many dogs go through this? How can they be so flawed??

  35. Ed Dunn May 21, 2012 at 6:08 am #

    Our 2 year old 110lb Rottweiler is about to go through this surgery. We are in Northern Virginia and were quoted around $4000. Sad part is she blew her knee out walking up to my mother in law to say hi, just stepped wrong. She has cost us a lot because she has also had 2 surgeries already to correct her elbows for dysplasia. Poor dog. Keeping fingers crossed that she doesn’t blow out her other knee. Lucky for us she is fairly mellow

  36. Dana B February 17, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    My black lab 105 lbs,had a ruptured CCL in 10/ 2011 on his right back leg….Care Center Cincinnati,Oh with P/T 5 weeks after is was 3800.00 Then his back Left ruptured and he had TPLO on that in 2/2012….price was 4100.00 then 5 weeks of P/T once a week at the Care Center……Dr. April Durant DVM is the board certified orthopaedic surgeon that did both of his. He is doing wonderful, you would never know he had it done seeing him running around he just turned 6yrs old in Dec 2012……

  37. Ed June 10, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    Update on our dog. She has now had 2 TPLO surgeries (once one goes, the chances the other one will go is fairly high).

    She is doing wonderful! Like a new dog, hyper and loving life. Buuuuutttttt…..a bout a month ago she developed a lump on her leg near the surgical site, we though it was cancer at first but turns out that her body has started rejecting the metal plate they put in her leg. We had it removed 2 weeks ago and now she’s back to her hyper self.

    There is always a chance the dogs body will reject the plate but once the bone is healed, the plate is no longer serving any purpose


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