One of the benefits of the newest of the cranial cruciate repair surgeries, the TTA, is the length of time required before your dog can return to exercise and a life without restrictions. Because the ostoeotomy (cutting of the bone) in the tibial tuberosity advancement procedure is done in a non weight bearing area of the knee, dogs are able to return to normal activities more quickly than they would be able to after undergoing a TPLO or the traditional (extracapsular imbrication) surgery. Most TTA patients begin weight bearing during walking within the first 24 to 48 hours after completion of the surgical procedure.
The osteotomy will take 6 to 8 weeks to heal, during which time your pet will need to be kept relatively quiet and only allowed outside on a leash. Your dog will most likely start to feel that they are completely healed within a week of the TTA, but it is important to not let them to do too much too soon as they risk damage, not only to the implant, but a CCL tear in the opposite knee. Many veterinarians will advise pet owners to keep their dogs sedated during this recovery process to assure they remain quiet and only go outdoors to relieve themselves.
At 2 weeks post-op you will need to visit your surgical veterinarian to have your canine’s stitches removed and evaluate their progress. They should be putting weight on the leg by this point, and at the very least, exhibiting toe-touching behavior. Your dog will also have rechecks at 4 and 8 weeks, and at 8 weeks postop your vet will take radiographs (x-rays) of the stifle to make sure the bones of the knee are healed. If at 8 weeks your dog’s bones have healed and he is bearing weight on the injured leg, your vet will allow you to begin to incorporate exercise back into your dog’s daily routine. You will want to start off slow, paying attention to your dog’s comfort level, working your way up to the point your dog was at pre-injury. Many TTA dogs are completely healed by 3 months.
All dogs with CCL injuries will go on to develop some level of arthritis. It is a good idea to have your dog’s knees x-rayed during your yearly veterinary visits to examine the presence of arthritis and determine what type of treatment plan would be best for your pet to make them the most comfortable.