What If I Can Not Afford CCL Surgery?

Boxer and Pitbull Mix

Not all owners can afford the expensive surgery that cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) repair surgery typically requires. There is quite a range in prices depending on what procedure is recommended by your veterinarian for your dog’s knee repair and where you live. For example, a traditional repair can cost anywhere from $1000-2000+, whereas a TPLO surgery usually begins in the $2000 range.

There are some organizations that offer to provide financial assistance for dogs needing cruciate ligament repair, and they are mentioned below. Also, there are a variety of other, more creative options for financing CCL ligament repair surgery including holding your own fundraisers, negotiating with your veterinarian or choosing the (typically) lower cost services of a veterinary university hospital.

If proceeding with surgical correction for your dog is not an option, be aware that there are conservative management techniques that will assist your dog in recovering from cranial cruciate ligament damage.

Is there any way to finance my dog’s surgery?

Some veterinary clinics will offer payment plans (unfortunately, these seem to be few and far between). However, many veterinary offices will give you the option of applying for Care Credit. CareCredit is a personal line of credit for healthcare treatments and procedures for your entire family, including your pets. This is probably your best option for paying for your dog’s treatment if your veterinary clinic is unwilling to work with you on payments and you are able to qualify. It works like a credit card but it has two advantages – it can only be used for healthcare services, and you can get no interest (make sure to read the fine print on this) financing every time you use it. If you pay your minimum monthly payment and pay off the entire balance by the end of your promotional period and you pay no interest. If you need more time to pay for your procedure, you can take advantage of their extended payment plans with fixed interest rates.

Negotiate with Your Vet and/or Veterinary Clinic

Veterinary offices do not typically advertise the availability of payment plans. This is usually true because they are willing to work with clients on a case-by-case basis depending on your history with their clinic and financial need/life circumstances. If you have an established history at your veterinary office with past on-time payments, odds are that your veterinarian will be willing to work out a payment plan that will allow you to pay on a weekly or monthly schedule, negating the need to pay for the entire cost of surgical care upfront. Don’t expect to receive this same treatment as a new client at a new veterinary practice – in this economy not many clinics are willing to take the risk of an unpaid bill, especially for a procedure as costly as a cruciate ligament repair.

If a payment plan isn’t an option – try bartering! Does your veterinarian need assistance walking pets, filing charts or catching up on other tasks? If you offer your assistance you just may be surprised what could things may come.

Find a Lower Cost Veterinarian

There’s no harm in getting a second opinion, especially when faced with an expensive, time intensive procedure. Get a second opinion. Yes, you will need to pay a fee to be see initially by another veterinarian, but based on their surgical costs, you could end up saving in the end.

Costs for TPLO, TTA, TightRope and Traditional Extracapsular surgeries differ state-by-state and also depending on your region – whether you are located within a city center or more rural. Veterinarians in smaller towns tend to charge less as they have lower costs for overhead, i.e office space, advertising, etc.

Many veterinary schools offer low cost clinics and provide options for pet owners with limited incomes or financial hardship. The American Veterinary Medical Association’s website and has a list of veterinary schools by state.

Conservative Management Instead of Surgery

The use of Conservative Management is a topic which is covered extensively on this site. I have successfully rehabilitated my dog’s (Tucker) torn cruciate ligament using CM. There are also stories from many other owners who’ve had similar success without surgery.

Click Here to Read Conservative Management Success Stories

Weight loss, arthritis medications and nutraceutical supplementation (glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate) can have a significant, positive impact on your canine’s comfort level. Knee braces and harness devices can also prove useful as you undergo CM – after reading some of the stories on this site you will have a better idea of the items you may need and will be able to prepare adequately.

Though in general this “conservative” approach is considered much less effective than surgical intervention, it does provide owners who can’t afford this surgery the opportunity to take responsible action. In fact, for most bigger patients, it seems that weight loss plays a major role in the recovery process for both dogs going through CM (conservative management) and those that have undergone traditional, extracapsular imbrication repairs.

Remember, there are many dogs that do well with just conservative management, and the smaller your dog, the more likely it is that they will have a successful recovery with CM in lieu of surgery. CM is not just a second resort for people unable to afford surgery, there are many owners that are unwilling or unable to put their dog through surgery, and they have recovered quite nicely with the use of CM alone. No surgical procedure will ever bring your dog’s leg function back to 100%, or pre-injury levels, so as long as your dog is healthy, happy and comfortable, you are making the right choice as an owner.

155 thoughts on “What If I Can Not Afford CCL Surgery?

  1. Hi,
    I just found out my dog ruptured her ligament and her knee can move 1 inch. It sounds serious, and while surgery is expensive, our concern is her age. She is a 50lb, beagle/basset/chow mix, and she is 12 years old. She is healthy and active, except for some growths on her ear and abdomen. Would you recommend going through with surgery for her age? I heard the success rate is small for old dogs and the other leg often goes gets CCL as well.

    How likely do you think she will recover WITHOUT surgery? Our vet said 80-90%, but your site is saying 20% for dogs over 30lbs, which is concerning me. Which option would you do if you were the owner? I’ve bought hip/joint pills, padded our kitchen floor, and she’s taking anti-inflammatory pills. Is there anything else I can do to help her while we decide?

    I’m completely devasted and feel terrible about her leg. She loved taking walks, and that has been deeply restricted. Thank you for your help. Hope to hear from you soon.

      1. everything is looking pretty blink. My pup seems to be getting worse by the day, I am broken hearted about all of her Pain I am unable to pay the fees related to her injuriury , any help would hightly appricated . GOD BLESS

  2. Hi Kim,

    First, let me say I am very sorry to hear about your dog’s injury. These types of injuries can be tough, and while I am no veterinary professional, I personally feel that every dog should have a chance to heal with conservative management before going through with surgery. It seems like you are on the right track with moving forward in CM, the only thing I would suggest is that she is completely quiet during this time – only outside on a lead to relieve herself, and absolutely no steps. Really try to pay attention to the way she is feeling, and if she seems to be comfortable, I would keep at CM for a few months to see how the ligament is healing. I know how torturous this process can be, but CM does work, you just need to hang in there and be strong. Hopefully some other owners can share their experiences with CM with you on here, and be sure to keep us updated and let us know how your dog is progressing.

    All the best!

      1. CM = (conservative management)– Explained above in the article —

        i copied this from article above –The use of Conservative Management is a topic which is covered extensively on this site. I have successfully rehabilitated my dog’s (Tucker) torn cruciate ligament using CM. There are also stories from many other owners who’ve had similar success without surgery.

        Click Here to Read Conservative Management Success Stories

        best of luck =) Sincerely Ms T.M — reaserching this topic for a friend who’s going thru this with her beloved Dog

  3. We have a 9 year-old female pit bull who ruptured her cruciate this past winter. We’ve been doing CM and it’s been working pretty well to keep her pain down and still maintain a good quality of life. After almost 4 months of rest (which was torture for her!) we’ve been taking her swimming in the local river. About 30-45 minutes of solid swimming (I wade in so she’s not running up on the bank) seems to be a good amount about 3 times a week. That night I ice, stretch, and lightly massage her knee/leg and we let her rest the following day. It’s been great to get her muscle tone back in her leg and to allow her some physical activity that’s not putting a lot of stress on her knee.

    1. Thats really good! She is lucky to have you. I massage my girl to. lol So easy to love ah! Good for you. I hope things continue to go well.

  4. Pitbull Rescue helped us out. They were only able to put in $150, but I was thankful for that. (there site is pbrc.net)

    The estimate for our pitbull’s TPLO was $2800-3200. The total: $2238. We saved our stimulus check for the bulk of this. We got a credit card with a 6mo 0% rate for the rest.

  5. hello, i am very interested in any opinions concerning our 6 year old black labrador retriever. Last week he jumped into our pool and came out holding up his right leg. we took him to the vet and they are saying he needs the TPLO surgery. he weighs about 77lbs and is in very good health otherwise. He does seem to be in pain and is a very active dog. I just cannot decide on what to do, and im afaid if we try the cm and wait, he may even end up worse off, plaease help!!

      1. I have 3 year old female Labrador her back right leg was injured before 4 month so we consulted many vet but her leg is not good .we decided to take her back leg X-ray. anyone know what her right leg problem ? Please help us some people said that she have torn ccl but we cant afford surgery we are from India please help us

      1. We did the surgery for our dogs first knee and a year and a half later he twisted his other knee. Instead of mortgaging the house for the 2nd knee surgery my wife found an alternative. A custom knee brace for less than $1000. Our pooch who is now 17, walks without pain.

        Good luck

      2. I should say ‘knee cast’ not brace. He wore it for six weeks and now is walking without any pain.

        1. What brand of brace did you go with if you don’t mind us asking? We are in the same situation right now with our 78 lb German Shepherd mix.

  6. Hi. I have a 6 year old brindle boxer who tore his cruciate ligament about 2 1/2 months ago. He was playing in the backyard with 2 other dogs. When I got home, he was holding his leg up and would not put it down. At first, I thought he had just pulled a muscle, but I soon learned he tore his Cruciate. I took him to the specialist, but the surgery is $3000 dollars and recovery sounds like a nightmare. I am concerned because he is 6 years old and I don’t like the idea of a lengthy recovery or the thought of so many pain meds. I have been keeping him inside and off his leg as much as possible for about 6 weeks. He is doing much better, but I know he will just re-injure if we go to the dog park, or if I let him run and play like he wants to. I am not sure what the best option is, I just want him to enjoy life like he did before the injury. Any suggestions??

    1. Hi, I have a question for you instead of an answer. I saw the time stamp on your post and was wondering what happened with your situation. I am in the exact situation with a 80lb boxer. I can not afford a $3000 surgery. Hope you get this, and hope you an your dog a still visiting the park frequently. -Christopher

      1. Hi Christopher,

        Ellie is now ten and a half years old and doing fairly well. Her surgically repaired leg is still strong and doing well. Unfortunately, Ellie blew the tendon in the opposite leg last fall. Due to her age we opted not to have this one surgically repaired. It is a long healing process and she hobbles around a bit but she is happy. No more long runs or hikes but she still gets out on 3-5 walks a day. We started her on the Adequan injection program 3 months ago and it does seem to have helped. Her weight is in good shape and she still gets two Phycox chewies per day. Depending on the age of your dog, if younger I would definitely recommend some type of surgical procedure even if that is a tightrope. It will speed the recovery process from the injury and your dog will not be as fragile. This is a long process trying to get Ellie to heal without the surgery. Much different than when we had the TPLO done on her opposite leg. With the TPLO she was up and moving well within a week. Best of luck to you and your pal- Russ and Ellie

        1. Hi Russ & Ellie – I just started my 7 year old beagle, Stevie Girl, on Adequan injections two weeks ago. She tore her ACL in one back leg about two years ago and now the second back leg has the same injury. We started her on Adequan as we cannot currently afford the $5,000 surgery for her knee.

          My question to you is if you had Ellie at age 7 tore her second ACL would you do the surgery? Or is 7 years old too old? Also, how has the Adequan helped Ellie? Do you think surgery is a better option for Stevie Girl?

          Thanks for your advice. -April and Stevie Girl

          1. Hi April,

            Sorry to hear about your pup. If Ellie would have blown a second tendon at seven years old then yes, I would have had a second TPLO procedure performed. The Adequan has been very helpful for Ellie. She is now nearly 11 years old and walks a bit like John Wayne but I no longer hear all the noises in the most recent problem leg. It has been a year since she blew the second tendon and she gets around fairly well. The Adequan seems most beneficial in just keeping things oiled up in her legs, hips, etc. I hated giving her the injections for the first cycle but now that she is on a maintenance amount which is less frequent I am less sketched out when I have to get the needle.

            Best of luck with your pup and I hope it all goes well for the both of you.

        2. We are in the same boat with our 9 yr old Dobie (90 lbs)… She tore her achilles 2 years ago which required surgery and 3 months of restriction for healing and now the same leg is injured again and this time its her knee… We treated it conservatively and she was doing so well and she slipped and did a “split” last week and now she’s limping again.. we will have a problem affording another $3000 surgery and we don’t know what to do… any suggestions?

          1. I am the one who originally did this post about not affording a 2nd surgery. Our dog, Cloe, is doing very well, we give her a DASUQUIN tablet everyday (can purchase from your vet) and it has made a hugh difference. Cloe has done very well without the 2nd surgery, never even limps.

            For us, DASUQUIN tablets are the answer, as I was out of them for a little over a week or so and I noticed her getting a little weak on that leg. DASUQUIN is about $125 for 150 tablets. Good luck!!!!!

      2. Hi Christopher,

        I have to tell you that the $3000.00 was the best thing we could have done for our siberian husky! It is now 2 years later and she just turned 8 and runs just as fast if not faster than our 2yr old husky! She plays and runs around- like brand new! She is at least 90% if not more of what she was before she ruptured her tendons. At the park she has a slight limp when running but I think that is more of a habit now. Money very well spent as she is happy and healthy!
        Good luck to you as I know it’s a difficult situation to be in.

  7. I have my puppy has plms of one leg she has legg perthes disease but if I not want her to have surgery so can she takes the dgp for hip so will help her walk better ? let me know thanks Mrs.Brust but which is best for her should have surgery or takes dgp?

  8. Our almost 4 year old 130 lb dobe has been scheduled for TPLO . He has nursed a kne injury off and on for about two years and about 10 days ago while running , yelped and has carried the leg every since. I am scared to death of TPLO, but our vet says this is the only route to go with him. He is very active and a I just don’t know how we are going to restrict his activity for 6 weeks. If he has to stay off the bed that long, so will I.
    Any thoughts?

    1. How did your surgery turn out?… Our 90 lb Dobie recently tore her ACL and we have treated it conservatively since she just had an achilles tendon repair 2 years ago on the same leg and that was over $3500… now we’re looking at another $3000 and being retired that will be difficult….but she’s so miserable with all her activity restrictions it just breaks my heart.

    2. I have a 1 year and 2 month old Sharpei who has a torn cal and knee is popping in and out.she is carrying the leg and them some times walking on it. I have the same fear how am I going to keep her down for 2 to 3 months?????

  9. Hello,

    I have a 6 year old Newfoundland who has a torn ccl. I cannot afford the surgery. Is the conservative approach really an option for a dog that is 120 pounds? SHe is also on thyroid medication would any of these new weight lose drugs for dogs be a benifit ?

    1. Hi Kara!

      I would recommend getting an brace for your dog. Surgery is not for everyone and a brace may help heal your dog better in the long run. I got a brace for my little Maltese from Woundwear and it has been working great! Hope this helps 🙂

      1. just came across this site it is 2018 my 2yr old 97 lb retriver/lab mix tore both back knee’s acl.s? thinkin brace vet gave pain pills only since i have no real moneys i love my dog any idea.s would be wonderfull

        1. Hey there I just came across this site too. My lab/pointer is 2 1/2 yrs old and 64 lbs. He had his first acl surgery in may. Healed ok, then he blew it out again and now it looks like he blew out his other acl too !!!! I cry everyday just looking at him limp around !!!! I cannot afford surgery at the moment. ($7,000 for both knees) My question is should I get a knee brace to help him till I can save enough for surgery? The longer I wait will it make my baby worse? Should I get him on a supplement like cosequin ? I am a wreck just watching him and just miss his spunkinest
          HELP !!!!!

  10. I have a 6 year old Pit Bull who tore her ccl in both her back legs. This was back in December. I have had her on rimadyl and cosequin ever since. Initially, I had to sling walk her because she could not walk at all putting pressure on her back legs. She would lay down to eat and I had to carry her everywhere. She is 85 pounds. Now, in April, she has substantially improved, but is still compensating for the use of her back legs and will never fully recover without surgery. I decided to bring her to an orthopedic surgeon who suggested the TPLO surgery or the “old fashioned surgery” which is almost half the price. She said short term, the TPLO surgery has a quicker recovery period, but after 6 months post surgery, she’s not convinced that the TPLO surgery is any better than the traditional route. If it is a partial tear, she can completely tear the ligament in the future and destroy the meniscus in both back legs. I know recovery is going to be difficult, but I would like her to go back to enjoying her 3 mile walks every nite. I guess for anyone who reads this and is contemplating surgery, the best way to make a decision is to consider your dog’s lifestyle (my girl is miserable not being able to go out walking and was quite athletic) and consider the amount of money it would cost for surgery now versus meds for the rest of their lives. For me, surgery is the most cost-effective, life-changing option and I intend on going through with the traditional surgery. I will update and let you know how it goes. Paws crossed! 🙂

  11. I have a rottie-aussie mix dog. He is 2 years old and weighs 110 pounds. Last week we found out the he needs knee surgery. He seems to be doing good, we are not seeing any sign of pain, still runs around the back yard with our other dog. We try to make him rest, but find it hard to do so. Our main problem is that we do not have the money to do the surgery; with two small children and only one income 1200$ at the low end is not an option for us. What to do? I am strongly opposed to putting down a dog the is perfectly healthy otherwise. Should we just try to let the knee heal on his own? Any suggestions would be wonderful.

    Sad and Confused owner fo a wonderful 2 year old

  12. Tasha…you need to restrict your dog’s activity. He sounds like he has a partial tear. If he keeps running, he will completely rupture his CCL. My dog came back from a partial tear, but I tied him up for a month to the coffee table and only allowed him to go outside and to use the bathroom on leash. No running at all. You may need to separate the dogs for the time being. I promise you, the knee will not heal if he continues to run around. Restricted activity for at least a month. Restricting his activity is a better option than putting a dog down.

  13. My boy Tyson is a very healthy and happy dog other than the cancerous tumor that is rapidly growing on his face. He is a six year old Olde English Bulldog who has Pitbull, Bullmastif, and Boxer in him. Apparently Boxers can generate a plethora of cancers. I cannot afford to biopsy the tumor and definitely cannot afford the surgery. Any help would be great. I am holding a fundraiser for Tyson that is tied directly with my birthday party this weekend. I am hoping for a good turnout so that I can afford to take care of my little boy Tyson. He is my life.

  14. […] What If I Can Not Afford CCL Surgery Dog Knee Injury Posted by root 10 minutes ago (https://dogkneeinjury.com) May 31 2008 i 39 ve bought hip joint pills padded our kitchen floor and she taking anti inflammatory pills i wanted to comment and thank the author good stuff acupuncture alternative treatment anatomy anti inflammatory all rights reserved dog knee injury Discuss  |  Bury |  News | What If I Can Not Afford CCL Surgery Dog Knee Injury […]

  15. Hi everyone,

    Thank you for all the stories, they definitely help when facing a TPLO. We want to do the surgery, but it is so expensive. I am in San Diego and they are quoting me $3700-$4000. I can’t see spending that much when many people get the same surgery done for almost $2,000 less! Does anyone know any places in San Diego or So.Cal that are affordable?? Thanks!
    please email me if you do. cadet1821@aol.com.

      1. I’m am located in PA just outside Philadelphia and we are about to get the TPLO surgery and after roughly 5 consultations the cheapest we can find is roughly $4,600-$5,500! that doesn’t sound to bad to me. I hope all goes well.

        1. We had TPLO surgery done on my son’s PitBull, Lola, September 2017 and she recovered great. Now it looks like she may have injured her other rear leg. Anyway, our surgery, in Marietta, GA, was $3000, and she weighed around 67 lbs at the time of surgery. Our Cocker Spaniel, Harley, weighs about 35 lbs and had to have knee surgery about 3 months ago. His surgery “only” cost $650 and he has made a very quick full recovery at 8 years old. Lola is 4 years old.

          1. If you don’t mind asking where in Marietta did you get this done? I’m in Marietta and looking at getting the same surgery for my beagle/basset mix.

          2. For Lola, we had the TPLO surgery done at North Georgia Veterinary Referral Practice 770-426-2260 (Marietta, GA). Our regular vet did Harley’s knee surgery. Not sure if it was ECLS or Tight Rope. Paulding Animal Clinic 770-445-6185 (Dallas, GA).

  16. My 1 1/2 yr old chocolate lab just injuried her CCL. The vet says he thinks she completely severed it but isn’t sure . There may be some left intact. He says she needs surgery to rpair it. It’s going to cost about 1200-1500. We are finaciialy strapped. Care credit is a good place for some people but not the best. I got turned down and alot of people i have talked to have also. I am waiting to hear from labradorlifeline, but it doesn’t look to good. Is there anything out there that we can do for her? We are just planning on getting her stitched back up and waiting. Down the road can the vet go back in and fix it? Like in a few weeks or so?

  17. Lisa,

    My 7 1/2 year old chocolate Lab is recovering from TPLO surgery. When she initially injured the ligament we got her on a plan including supplements, hydrotherapy, and physical manipulation. Unfortunately she still wound up needing the TPLO procedure. The Phycox and/or Synovi chews have really seemed to help before and after surgery. Also, if you would like a copy of a rehab plan that was given to me for care management (before we opted for the surgery) feel free to email me and I will pass it along to you. I hope your dog does well and best of luck.

    1. We have a 9 year old Labradoodle with two torn ACLs. We are so stressed and torn on whether or not to have surgery. Our vet changed some if his meds and the new anti inflammatory has proved to be amazing! It is called Prevacox, he also takes Gabapentin and tramadol. He still limps and is very slow to sit and stand but he can now jump on the bed to sleep with us with no prompting and jumps into my recliner which is one of his favorite spots. He seems happy and excited to see us when we come home. We think it will be very difficult to keep him contained (crated) for 8 weeks. We have met with a top notch orthopedic vet and spoken with two others. Of course they think surgery is the best way to go. We are struggling! Thoughts?

      1. Our Maggie had ACL surgery and vet warned us that she had tested “other” knee while under anesthesia and she saw problems… sure enough 10 days into recovery other ACL ruptured …. had 2nd surgery at that time…. really not difficult recovery… worst part was having to sleep downstairs with her…(no stairs for several weeks)… just walked her on leash to do her business…(DID use a ramp to get her outside and into the car)…. Never regretted the surgery as she was able to run and play for the remainder of her life…

      2. Our vet (neighbor) suspects our 9 year old Labradoodle has damaged her CCL. X-rays in 2 days. She is very conservative and hopes to avoid surgery. Can u tell me how your dog is doing now that it has been a few months??


  18. I just wanted to share my experience with those of you trying to decide what to do with your dog’s torn ACL.
    I have a three year old american bulldog who was about 95 lbs and fit, not fat. But since she was kind of a “weekend warrior” laying around during the week more than she should have been, she got hurt while playing with another dog. I was advised by my vet to wait and try rest and care management since it might be only partially torn (no x-ray). So long story short, not only was it fully torn, but she tore the other one within one month! Since then I have cut her food down and now she is barely 70lbs, with her ribs clearly showing. it has been seven months now and she has lost almost all muscle in her back legs. Since I can not afford two of the regular surgeries, much less two of the TPLO’s, I have been keeping her pretty inactive and just trying to help her manage pain through medication. She seemed to get along OK for quite some time, but now she has so much muscle loss that she is having a hard time getting around and a hard time relieving herself, and now there is a sick “clicking” sound when she walks, and she is obviously having a rough time. I assume that the clicking sound is further damage. Now I have a dog with the potential to live for another ten years, in pain and unable to do all those things dogs love, and a guarantee of arthritis later. SO…. my advice is that if your dog is a large breed, IMMEDIATELY get the knee fixed before the other one goes, and take the rehab seriously! I am most likely going to put my expensive, pure bred, beloved family pet down, I cant justify the money with a mortgage and three children, and I cant let her continue for ten more years in pain and increasing lameness. Here in NY state both surgeries are expensive, and she needs two procedures!

    1. have you tried glucosamine supplements? i know you said you were strapped financially however, it can be found online for as little as $40 a bottle for a 3 month supply. my boy takes them plus a bone for hips and joints, we are 3/12 months post op and he is still not doing wonderful in my opinion however, the joint supplements can help with muscle growth

    2. In NYC your local Humane Society will do the surgery for free or help you find financial help with your dog…..call them and ask or go online and find help thru your state……it’s out there!!!! Good luck and keep looking for that help.

    3. 2018 so sorry i am now same postion2yr old retreiver/lab mix 97lbs do not want dog to suffer but he is a baby got him on pain meds from vet only 3 weeks in and do not know what to do. i am on disabilite and find it so sad that people who are in the veterainary biz charge so much and let dogs suffer or get put to sleep because some of us do not have the money they ask for makes u wonder where our world i headed!!

  19. I went through two TPLO surgeries which were 6 months apart with my Catahoula mix three years ago (today he is 8 1/2 years old and weighs 75 lbs) when he tore both back ACL’s. Now I just found out my smaller 40 lb 3 year old Chow mix has torn both her back ACL’s. I am devastated (both emotionally and financially) to have to go through this again with another dog, but I have to say the TPLO surgery is the way to go if you want your dog to have any quality of life. I am able to put the charges on a 0% interest credit card and just pay if off over the course of a year, but still hard to do in this economy! Going through this now twice, I would recommend getting pet insurance.

  20. Our 1 1/2 year old Bullmastiff, Mieka, tore her ACL. We have contacted 5 different surgeons to get prices and they have all recommended the TPLO due to Mieka’s age and breed. We will be taking her to the University of Madison Vet Hospital or a Milwaukee clinic. The problem is the surgery is going to cost anywhere from $3000-$4000. We did not have insurance on her before, but she does have it now (unfortunately it will not cover this surgery). How do we get assistance for the surgery? My husband and I have student loans and with the economy we are struggling. We want to do all we can for our pup, she is our child and we hate to see her hurting. Please help!!

  21. first to stacy (dated 6/8/09) We just found out our 85lb 4 yr old rottie has to have one of these surgeries also and the breeder suggested checking out a vet in a smaller town as they might offer the services at a more reasonable rate than vets in a more urban area (doesn’t make sense to me but that was the recommendation of a seasoned breeder).

    to everyone else thanks for all your great stories, it’s good to know (consoling anyway) we are not the only ones facing this difficult and costly decision…

  22. My grandson’s dog was hit by a car last night, and is in need of emergency surgery. He is at the Vet. Hosp. awaiting available funds needed for his hips and pelvic surgery. Please help. He is 5 years old, and so very talented and sweet. So good with children. Please call Michelle at 763-222-8227 as soon as possible if you can help. We are a family of animal lovers and adopt unwanted pets, which turn out to be so special.

  23. My lab had traditional CCL surgery on the left knee at the age of 4 which was 4 years ago. We paid about $1800 in NJ. He did very well after this surgery. Well just recently he injured his right knee at the dog park. He is 8 years old now and we think he may need another CCL surgery on his right knee. After the first surgery which I paid for myself, I decided to take pet insurance from VPI. There is a waiver on his left knee since this was pre-existing. They originally said the right knee would be covered as long as nothing happened within the first 12 months of coverage. That is where I am at right now. I will post the results once we determine if he does in fact need another CCL surgery, and then I will also post my experience with VPI insurance. This will be my first claim in 4 years of coverage and will really determine whether pet insurance was a good or bad decision. Stay tuned . . . .

    1. I never did reply back with my VPI experience after my dogs 2nd CCL surgery. He got the traditional surgery which cost about $3000 in 2009 in NJ. VPI reimbursed me for about $1500 total and the claim process was easy and I received payment quickly. Still questionable whether the monthly premiums justify the potential long term payout, but this is a typical insurance question that applies to any insurance policy. Only you can decide. Some say to not carry insurance and save the premium in a fund to use for emergencies like this. But will you actually do it and save the money every month. Probably not. Knowing I would have at least some insurance help makes it an easier decision when deciding on an expensive treatment for your dog.

      1. I find myself with our westie also potentially needing acl surgery….I live in northern nj and was hoping you could tell me where you had the procedure done and any other helpful info. Thanks

        1. Hello. I used garden state vetinary service in tinton falls. I have a 95 lb yellow lab who had both knees done 4 years apart. They did both and both went well. They are pricey when you compare to some of the rates people list on this site but then again this is NJ. Where ever you go, the most critical part is being able to keep your dog inactive for the period recommended by the surgeon. Good luck to you and the dog.


  24. I have a female pit bull who recently had a minor tumor removed from her back leg, after picking her up from the vet she was very wobbly which the vet told me was from the anastesia. My dog never recovered from this and has been completely paralyzed in her back legs for over three weeks now. After taking her to several other vets and giving her steroid treatments in both injection and pill form, I was told that she may need surgery due to a slipped disc. I have no idea what happened to her, she did not fall or have any blunt impact to her spine in my presence and the vet says he did not do anything. I do not know what to do now. She is 6 years old and still have a few more years left but she cannot get up, walk, go to the bathroom or even groom herself now and I do not have the money for surgery (was not approved for care credit either), is my only option to put her down? PLEASE ANY HELP WOULD BE APPRECIATED. jennitravis@gmail.com

    1. Hello. I used garden state vetinary service in tinton falls. I have a 95 lb yellow lab who had both knees done 4 years apart. They did both and both went well. They are pricey when you compare to some of the rates people list on this site but then again this is NJ. Where ever you go, the most critical part is being able to keep your dog inactive for the period recommended by the surgeon. Good luck to you and the dog.


  25. I have a 3 year old dalmatian/border collie mix,50lbs, that I rescued not too long ago. Almost immediately after I got her home she started to limp, favoring her hind right leg. Took her in for xrays and she has torn meniscus and partially torn ACL. I can’t afford the surgery as I am a graduate student and have already exceeded the vet costs that i thought I would need for the year. The rescue where I adopted her from has offered to attempt to raise the money for the surgery but I also need a place for her to recover for about4-6 weeks. The problem is that I live on the 2nd floor of an apartment building and those stairs come into play each and every time she has to go outside. I know she can’t recover in that living situation. Does anybody know any groups or organizations that house dogs recovering from surgery in southern California? I only want what’s best for my dog and I don’t want to continue walking her up and down the stairs on her bad wheel

  26. what is moderation? i cant find my post on asking for financial assistance for my dog. Is it out there somewhere, or has it been denied? I love her so much that i will do anything for her even though i am on a fixed income and put it on a charge card. she is my service dog and she takes such good care of me that i would do anything for her. in CA it was 4500.00. Im sort of worried about paying it back, but she is far more important to me than money. It only took her a second to get injured, and I still cant believe it. I think she is getting better, but her knee or ankle (i cant tell which) cracks (like people do with thier fingers sometimes) when she gets up. I couldnt just wait to have her fixed because without her, i was nothing and nobody and doing less than existing. she has turned my life around, and it’s the very leat i can do for her. even if you cant help (i read all the other letters above), I will understand. I wouldnt have changed my decision for anything. She has changed my life so much I cant even tell you. I dont have an website and i hope it doesnt matter. My email is pjz52@yahoo.com
    Please know that I am praying for all the dogs I read about above. Ive never asked for financial help until now. it is very hard to do. But Promise is worth it and 1000 times more. Im asking for her even though it will help me by putting my mind at ease. Also, the vet says she will need a shot in her muscle for the rest of her life that is expensive. I don’t know there is anyone out there who can help, but thank you for listening, and good luck with your dogs. I can tell that you love them as much as I love mine. PJ

  27. Hi!

    My Aussie, Buddy (8 yrs), slipped while running around the pool one week ago. He never yelped, but came up limping after continuing to run for another couple of minutes. He is still limping after one week. We took him to the vet and she said he has a torn ACL. He continues to lay on the affected leg, pushes himself up (slowly) with it and even stands on it to pee. We can’t afford the surgery right now as my wife is a college student. We have him on pain meds, glucosamine and rimadyl. If it was truly torn would he still be able to use it? He doesn’t seem to be in pain and there isn’t any swelling, he’s just linmping and favoring his right leg. I will get a second job to pay for the surgery, but not sure if it’s necessary. HELP!

  28. For those of you that are confused about what to do. If your dog has snapped one ACL and you are not careful with them; then there is a high chance they will snap the other as well. I paid 2750.00. I got 3 opinions and all were very accurate. We just got TPLO surgery done on my American Bulldog/American Rott. She is 3 Years old and very active. She is 98lbs and I have to say this was the best thing ever. She is 3 weeks into recovery and things are looking better and better each passing day. Before she used to tip toe on her back legs and shifted all her body weight on the front two legs. She would waddle like a duck! Now she is walking with the right posture her legs are spread at equal distance and appears she is on her way to being a normal dog again. I love my dog and think this is the best thing for her. Most people think a leg will heal on it’s own. Let me clarify that statement; They don’t. No matter how much rest the dog has the ligament needs to be repaired or replaced if they are ever going to get to live normal lives again. The purpose of keeping the dog relaxed is so the pain becomes tolerable to the dog. What I didn’t see on this site was the mention of how severe the arthritis will get as the dog gets older. TPLO worked for me and my friend Tela. I would recommend you do it too! If you live in Houston Brookdale Animal Hospital is great. If you have a small dog less the 50 pounds there are alternatives that don’t cost half as much. I think the cost if between 4 and 8 hundred dollars. Hope this helps anyone. jlozano@xvand.com if you have any questions. I would be more than glad to share my experience with you.

    Sorry I had a lot of corrections to make!!!!!

  29. My cocker tore her ACL on 10-16-09. She is 13 years old. I rescued her off the streets 5 years ago. She is 30 pounds and is a house dog. The vet wants to schedule her for surgery and I scheduled for 10-19-09 in hopes that I would be approved for carecredit. I was DENIED. I had to cancel the surgery. I am very heart broken. She is putting the leg down very minimally when she walks around the home, but holding it mostly. The leg is popping. I can not afford the surgery. My vet said it would be approx $1000.00. I am single with a mortgage, working full time and going to school for my RN degree. It is so sad for me to know that I can not afford what my Maci (cocker) needs. She is wagging her tail and seems pretty happy. I need help with paying for her surgery. Please respond to crystalmsigmon@yahoo.com. My Vets office number is 704-333-3336 Monroe Road Animal Hospital, if you want to call and make a donation on my behalf directly to their office. My dogs name is Maci Lee Sigmon. HELP us, she is precious and very friendly. I have read all of the other blogs and I am very sorry for all the dogs. I know exactly how the owners feel. HELP!!!

  30. I just found out that my 4 year old border collie (50lbs) tore her ACL. I am in San Diego and I am looking for a surgeon who charges a reasonable price. My vet said she would recommend TTA surgery over TPLO. TTA is a newer procedure which is less invasive and has a faster recovery time. Anyone have any information about procedure or a surgeon I would greatly appreciate it! I don’t mind driving a bit for a good surgeon at a reasonable price. My email is sej4sports@cox.net THANKS!!

  31. Hi,

    I need some help. I recently had to have surgery on my leg and just found out my dog is having sympathy pains and now requires to have ACL surgery. I can’t afford it and live in Carlsbad, CA. Doesn’t anyone have any advice? He is on pain medication right now, is an eleven year old Maltese. Please respond to Dee@GlobalHire.org

    Thanks, Dee

  32. My dog is 12 and needs tumor removal surgery, may or may not be cancer. I can charge but do not know how to make the payments in time before interest free time ends. I have sold a ring, asked for help with no avail. If annyone can help please do. Many organizations are out of funds. If anyone finds in their heart to help please email at chittumsh at aol.com . May you ever be blessed. I will pay forward when I can, that’s a promise. I do not want anyone to go thru this tough decision before me. I just lost one dog in May. I am disabled with a lot of medical bills. I am having to choose between my medical care to function and her life. My depression is mounting due to all this.

  33. It been 8 months since my dog tore her PCL, and I know it has taken a tole on her and me.
    I wish that I can take the pain away. I feel horrible that this has happen to her being just 5 years old and I want to take her to the vet it just I simply can’t afford it. I miss the time she run and chase me. know I she just looks at me sometime possibly thinking will this pain ever go away. All I can do go down and pet her head thinking of all the fun times we had running in the back yard. Well any ways sorry for making this story sound really sad, but I just feel I had to get it all out there. Well all I can do pray and hope that dog get muscle tone back in her legs again. Thank you for reading me and Angels story.

  34. Bailey (my 90lb Great Pyranees/Husky mix) and I just returned from the vet as Bailey has been limping for several weeks and not getting better (he’s limped in the past and usually recovers). The diagnosis is a totally torn CCL and most likely the meniscus is gone as well. Bailey is 9 years old and a frisbee addict, which is most likely the cause of this injury, though it looks like he was predisposed to it due to breed, size, etc. He’s still a very active dog and because our jobs keep us away from home 12 or more hours a day, I don’t think managed care will work for us. The surgery is $3000 and we don’t have access to that kind of money. Credit cards and loans are out due to a family financial crisis. When Bailey came into my life he saved me. I can’t bear the thought of him being in pain and due to his age and the severity of the injury, we cannot be sure if surgery would be the answer. I don’t think he would survive being crated for 12 hours a day. He currently has a dog door and an acre fenced yard to play in. I don’t know what to do and can’t even stop crying long enough to think rationally. I just found this site and would appreciate any advice to help me decide what to do. Thank you.

  35. Call around in your area to see if any of the vets accept payment plans- we are in the same boat and go for the consult tomorrow for our 6yr old husky- and I know it will be way more than we have so we are asking about that as well since if they really have the dog’s best interest in mind they should be able to come to some agreement with you.
    Good luck! I know how you feel in a way we are going through the same thing…..

  36. What is the difference between a minor ACL tear and a rupture? My five-year-old female AGILITY lab was just diagnosed. The vet suggested 10 days rest and rimadyl. What are your thoughts? Should I get a second option? I’m thinking she will definitely need more time to rehab the leg. Is there another drug other than rimadyl? I’ve hear that Labs sometimes have issues with this drug.

  37. Hello all, we have been doing the CM approach for about 5 months. Hershey has been getting much better until last night when he chased a skunk real fast (got sprayed too). This has lead to a very big set back, just about back to the beginning. This is very sad, he seemed almost healed completely. We were still limiting his activity, but were allowing him some off leash time in the yard. Hopefully he recovers faster this time around, if not we will go in for TTA/TPLO. Those in the San Diego county area, please suggest a good affordable surgeon to go with. We have met with Dr. Aron and his wife Rainy and may end up going with them. The quote is about $3400 with them for a TTA, they do not perform the TPLO though, which can be better in certain cases based on the angle of the joint… Please if you know some one, email us at georgewa@hotmail.com, thanks.

  38. When you go to Bed say a Real Pray tonight for your, Loved DOG. it works

    All the money in the World can not, make it Better.
    But. a Pray is Wonderful,,,

    It works.

  39. My 7 yr.old German Shepherd goes in for his TPLO surgery tommorrow morning, It’s been 5 months since he got hurt. The quality of life has gotten worse, we used to be able to cover 10 miles a week, now around the block and he’s limping for a day, lots of just laying around and he’s getting so agitated lately and as much as we can’t afford the $3200-3600 ,we plan on using Care Credit and paying the payments over an extended time just to make it affordable. Man I just can’t imagine the worst things happen to our pets at probably the worst time in our lives. I tell you It’s a test to see if we care about money or a life. I choose life, as long as I remain healthy I’ll be able to make money to pay the bill off.
    I ask everyone who is reading this please say a prayer for my Best friend Zackery(ZackBoy) He is on face book Zackery Schmidt

  40. Hi my name is Chloe, I am a 2-year-old purebred Great Dane. The reason for this flyer is that in August of 2009 I had Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy/TPLO surgery on my right rear leg. Now, less than six months later the doctors diagnosis is the same issue to my left leg. If you are not aware, this is a very serious and costly surgery. Our estimate was around $5,000.00 with x-rays and pre / post-op appointments. All the necessary documentation can be forwarded from our veterinarian. I was inquiring if you know of any organizations that would assist us with the cost of the surgery as we are unable to move forward at this time.

    Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy/TPLO surgery

    The first part of the surgery involves removing the torn ends of the cruciate ligament and examining the medial and lateral meniscus cartilages. If a tear of either meniscus is found, the damaged part of the meniscus is removed. If a partial tear of the cruciate ligament is noted, the ligament is left intact as it has a good chance to heal following the TPLO surgery. A curved cut is made in the top of the tibia and the bone is rotated in order to level the slope of the tibial plateau. A plate and six screws are used to hold the bones in place. If your pet is a very large dog, a larger plate is typically used and eight screws are inserted into the bone. The cut in the bone will heal in about 6 to 8 weeks.

    We love our two Great Danes, we just don’t have the funds for this surgery again and I don’t want to put it off any longer as she is suffering. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or paperwork needed.
    If this e-mail is not to the correct person, I’d appreciate it if you could forward it to them.
    Thank you very much for your time and consideration in advance for any donations or assistance that you can give me!

    Thanks Again,
    Chloe & Owners-Kerri & Chad Verdonck (chad@ecss.com)

  41. my dog has a torn acl he is only a year and a half old.i have tried every other option. I took him in to see a surgeon who had nothing but worse news, he told me that if i dont do something fast the other knee is going to tear if has not already. im trying to scrap some cash together but im short. i just want to know if there is anything that can be done fast before my dog and i are facing double the trouble. i have tried the pet care program but just not enough.

  42. It has been helpful to read all of these stories. My almost 4 year old Pitbull King tore his CCL also 2 weeks ago. The vet said nothing about CM which I am debating trying for a little while. They quoted me almost $4,000 for the surgery which has been a heartbreaking stress on our lives. We are really confused and upset, but after reading all of these stories I am convinced that the surgery is probably our best bet because of the lifestyle King likes – he loves to run around & play & he’s too young to be “resting” & on pain pills for the rest of his life.
    On another note, just like all of you, we have no idea how we are going to pay for this. We do not have much faith in getting approved for Care Credit. I find it DISGUSTING that this has happened to so many wonderful dog lovers & none of us can afford it. It is horrible that this is the way things are in this economy.
    I am sorry & hope everything works out for all of us….

  43. We have a 2 year old male American Bulldog- he was running around at my in laws and started limping. I took him to the vet and she says it’s not a complete tear- she’s not even sure it’s a tear at all. But he’s on rest for 3 weeks which sucks with a young energetic dog- the big issue is we live on a 2nd floor apartment so we’re trying to get a rear end harness to take some of the pressure of his back leg. I’m hoping and praying he doesn’t need surgery because there is no way we can afford it I’ve been out of work for awhile and just had surgery myself so we already have a pile of medical bills. I’m hopefully starting a job soon so if I do we would be able to cover the cost of the surgery. I understand vets need to make a living too but they should understand better than anybody how much a part of the family a dog is and should do what they can to help the family keep their pet healthy. Us pet owners aren’t dead beats looking for hand outs we just want the best for our pet and in our case when the dog is still so young and full of life, you shouldn’t have to jump to the last resort of considering putting them down because you can’t afford the surgery. Does anyone know if Veterenary Colleges will do surgeries for a reduced rate- I know they do that for people with dental problems

  44. I am not a wealthy pet owner but I still recommend the TPLO surgery. I went the traditional route and learned the hard way. You get what you pay for.

  45. My 11 month old English Bulldog was just diagnosed with a partial tear of her CCL. We are both just out of grad school and the cost of surgery would really set us back. Has anyone had SUCCESS with CM? If so, how long did you keep your dog off his/her leg? Thanks!

    1. Prior to my 7 year old lab getting the TPLO procedure I tried CM for almost six weeks. We did physical therapy, water treadmill, supplements, etc. Everything that was recommended by our Vet. She then tore her meniscus in physical therapy and the TPLO was then the only choice. In hindsight we should have just done the TPLO right from the onset. Even with CM your dog will be very fragile for quite some time. With the TPLO she was up and moving with less pain within a couple of days. Still fragile but at least the leg was stable. If you cannot afford the surgery many Veterinarians will work with you on the payment. It’s a tough decision but you and your dog will benefit. Just make certain you have a good surgeon and follow the Slocum Rehab plan. Best of luck to you and your pup. You can read all about our experience at elliemilstein.wordpress.com

    2. My yellow lab had surgery on both knees, first time when he was 4 years old and the second timewhen he was 8. He got the traditional surgery in both knees and he has done very well. He is 10 now. We thought about the TPLO for his first surgery (6 years ago) but at the time my vet was a little leary and there wasno long term data on the TPLO. My concern was having a foreign object in him permanently. When he needed his second knee done 4 years later, the surgeon recommended the same tradtional surgery since he did so well the first time. Although it was also expensive, it was significantly less expensive compared to the TPLO. The most important factor for success with any of these methods is the ability to keep your dog quiet during the rehab phase which I believe is 6 weeks.

  46. From what I know if that leg goes untreated it will not be too long before the other legs rips! There is another alternative to TPLO that is nearly as effective, a lot more less invasive. They get synthetic ligaments to hold the dogs joint in place. It cost only 1/3 the price of TPLO. The recovery time is 3-6 weeks compared to the 3 – 6 months TPLO recovery time. That method is not recommended for big dogs because of their weight. I think an English Bulley would do fine. TPLO = 3,000 and the Alternative is about 500 – 800.

  47. I highly recommend TPLO! My 6yr old siberian husky had it done last April- it was hard to keep her down, we also have a husky puppy and a 6 yr old Saint Bernard, so it was hard to keep her down from playing, but we did, for the first 12 weeks she was gated in our front room, but it really paid off! She is running and jumping like she always did (before she tore all of her ligaments) and playing awesome. It was very expensive, but sooo worth it for her and our family!


      1. If you are not having a TPLO procedure the other version is called a Tightrope Procedure. It supposedly works well especially on lighter weight dogs. It is less expensive than the TPLO. Good luck to you and your pup.

    1. Sorry to hear about your dog’s knee. Since your dog weighs only 25lbs I would think you could maybe get by with the tightrope procedure? That one is typically around $1000.00 vs the $3k – $4k for a TPLO. Your vet would know best but that seems to by the popular route. Good luck with everything.

  48. Hello, I have a 1 year old siberian husky he tore everything in his knee, they are asking 9.000 to repair and my husband and I cannot afford it. Does anyone know any options or resources available for these types of situations?

  49. You can try the Conventional Management suggestions in the Slocum Rehab plan. Also, go slow, keep the dog from getting overweight, no running or jumping, supplements, and lots of patience.

  50. i need help for my sisters dogs surgery he got hit yesterday at night in the street by a car and we didn’t see who hit him and he has several broken bones and to get him back up to his feets it cost around 2000-3000 dollars and me and my family don’t got that kind of money. right now we have him in the clinic and my parents bearly have the money for the doctor to do X-ray and for the doc. to do surgery well cost a lot my parents cant do nothing about it so they told me to just take him where they can put him asleep and i don’t want him to die and my sister doesnt even know about that..we love our dog very much and want him alive i need the money now ill do payments for the loan i cant stand seeing him like this please help…

  51. Hello. I’ve had 2 pitbulls tear their acls in the past and have a 3rd that I’m taking to the doctor later today because we are positive she’s done the same. We did the expensive for our first dog and the less expensive surgery for the 2nd. We found they had the same results. What I can tell you is that both of our dogs fully recovered and were able to run around again after the surgery just fine.

    While the money part is painful in its own way, we can make it happen, so I’m prepared for the news from our doctor today that we will be 2k less rich this month. 🙁

    After 3 dogs the same thing has happened to, I guess it comes with the breed!

    1. Sorry to hear about your pits. I do have a comment and then a question. My comment is I once read an article that stated the ACL injury is more common in today’s breeds because of the food we are feeding our dogs. Most people want huge dogs so the point the article was making was our dogs are growing too fast and we are not allowing them ample time to develop strong joints, bones, and anything else. This may be the affects of the steroids our agricultural farmers are feeding our livestock.

      My question to you is most Pits average about 55 – 65 lbs. I think any bigger and it isn’t all that healthy for small to med dogs to weigh too much. I have 2 American Bulldogs and they tip the scale at 115 and 120 lbs. How much do your dogs weigh? Many people prefer a Gotti or Razor’s Edge Bully and these can be quite massive or have exploited genetics such as really broad chests or huge heads. If you got your dogs from a breeder the breeder may unknowingly be increasing your dog’s chances for defects or accidents such as the one you mentioned.


  52. I’m glad I found this site. My 11 pound Papillon was just diagnosed with a torn CCL…or at least the vet says he is assumes that is what it is and wouldn’t know for sure till he opened the knee up.

    Crazy how it happened. Came running into the front room and started to jump up on the ottoman and didn’t even make it up there. For four days now and he won’t put any weight on the leg. He’s now on anti-inflammatory med so I’m hoping that helps reduce the swelling and pain…though (except for not using the leg) doesn’t show signs of pain.

    The vet says I should decide to do surgery within a couple of weeks or arthritis could set in. I don’t want to be pushed into it. Not only do I not like the expense, but I also do not want to put my little guy under anesthesia if I don’t have to. I don’t want to cause him any undue pain by not doing the surgery, but I also feel CM could be an option. Is he a better candidate for CM since he is a little dog? Are there different levels of tears and things to watch for to determine if surgery is the best option? Please help.

    1. Hi CK,
      My papillon has just done the same thing as yours did. I’d be interested to know if you went ahead with the surgery? My Pap is 12 this year, so like you bit scared of operatiing..
      Kind regards

    2. Please reply and let me know what you chose to do. We have very similar situations and I would appreciate any feedback you can provide.

  53. My 6 year old yellow lab had ACL surgery about 2 years ago, it was done immediately. Within a year, she tore her other leg. We chose not to have the surgery because we could not afford it a 2nd time! We opt to giving her a costly supplement. Cloe did good for several months until the last time I took her swimming; now, she really doesn’t want to move. She doesn’t want to go outside or anything. She would love to go for a walk, however, 1/2 way down the street, she is walking on three legs. I am just heartbroken! We have two children and cannot spend another 1600.00 on our beloved dog. Her quality of life is gone, what do I do, put her down?

  54. My 5 year old Pit Mix damaged her ACL. I am in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and my vet gave 2 options for the TPLO surgery: they have a non board certified surgeon that will come to their office and do the surgery for about $200 less than the certified surgeon in Dallas. But I was wondering if anybody had looked into having the surgery done at a Veterinary School and if there is any savings. I know that Texas A&M has a very good Vet. School, it is about a 3 hour drive but would be worth it if there is significant savings.

    1. The TPLO surgery costs 2800 here in Houston. Top notch facility. Bay Area Veterinary Specialist. Short 4 hour trip and you might save quite a bit of money.

  55. Hi all my name is Liz and I have been BLESSED with a wonderful Pillbull rescue named Roxy. After my college sweet heart of 4 years kicked me out of the house and dumpped me when i thought we were going to get married i was more than heart broken. By the grace of God roxy ended up being mine she gave me a reason to push forward and make a new life.

    About three months ago she hurt her leg at the dog park and limped for a few days and was better. But then after somemore rest and time i took her back to the dog park or played ball with her outside and she would end up limping. So now my vet has told me that she thinks its a small acl tear. So i guess my next step is going to see the othopedist and hope for the best. I also have tramidol for her if she is in pain and im going to go get her joint vitamins. It just sucks so bad bc she is only a year and 7 months old. I just hope i make the right choices for her bc she is the best dog and i need her happy and health bc we have a lot more good years together. i guess i will start by carrying her up all three sets of stairs to my apartment lol. even if she doesnt need it. she weights about 48 to 50lbs and is fixed and other than the knee she is very healthly and happy.

    I just wanna thank everyone that has posted bc this has been a very hard day for me and it helped me not to feel so alone and hopeless. Also to see that this happens to so many pitbulls for some reason made me feel less like this is all my fault. Maybe if dumb kids didnt keep her in the car when she was little and the girl i got her from would have ever taken her on a walk or let her out of the crate maybe this would not have happended…well it is what it is and i will try to post again on what is goin on and how roxy is doing.

  56. im a animal lover too and i sympothize with people. i have been in the environmental construction field for years and started with a new company at the beginning of the year. was working in dallas for 3 months and had a little time off before going to a job in jersey. i have always played sports and love to play basketball to get cardio cause i hate the treadmill. well i tore my acl and possibly another ligament on the right side of my left knee. was laid up originally for 3 weeks now all i can do is hobble around. this happened before i was supposed to go to jersey about 4 months ago. ive tried to rehab to at least be able to walk around normally but have reinjured it a few times and been bed ridden for multiple weeks.. no money, no idea what to do.. i was always invincible never had a broken bone or been injured in my 28 years of life. uncle, dad, dad’s dad, and dads mom died within the last year.. when it rains it pours.. all i know is construction work and i can barely walk, having exercise withdrawls, low energy, depression, all because im dumbfounded on how to get back to regular life. so to sum it up i sympothize with animal ligament injuries because i know first hand how it can ruin life

  57. My daughter’s staffie needs surgery, he has torn his stiffle and we got him better once, by having him take it easy, but he is now limping and sometimes not using his leg. We have stairs and he gets so rowdy.. I believe the only option is to have surgery. In Oregon where are the best places to go, she is in the Army and on a limited income. THanks

  58. Hi my black lab who is 4 and half years old hurt his leg two days ago and had TPLO surgery yesterday. The vet said he will have a long recovery. We applied for care credit because the surgery cost is $4000.00. We will pick him up in the morning. Wish us luck! Everyone at Blue Pearl in Northbrook IL is great

    1. Our 10 yr old Dobie ended up with DOUBLE knee surgery late last year…. When she injured her Rt knee we took her to the Vet hoping she hadn’t re-injured her Achilles tendon which was operated on 3 years ago… Well it was a torn ACL and we waited about 4 months…it would get better for a bit and then she would start limping again so we decided to have the surgery in late November… Well while she was asleep the Vet checked her other knee and said that this knee was also bad…so we took her home to recover and after 2 weeks she couldn’t walk on the left leg either….so she had the SECOND surgery just 2 1/2 weeks after the first….and she has done wonderfully well…. was taking short walks within 2-3 weeks and now can run and do stairs without difficulty…..we used a ramp and a sling for the first few weeks and avoided stairs (slept in the Family Room with her cuz she would lick the suture line) but all in all ….especially for a 10 yr old dog she has recovered beautifully…… Dr Perry at Bolton Animal Hospital in Bolton, CT

  59. My German Shepherd we rescued from the shelter just had to have knee surgery. She only had about 1/4 of an inch of her ligament still attached. Her surgery went well and she got to come home earlier today. This would not have been possibly without CareCredit, but I know my mom will be struggling to pay it off. Does anyone know any groups that might be about to help her out with her payments?

  60. my 21 month pointer mix has a partial torn ligament. we cannot afford surgery. I am looking for a place in Illinois that sales stifle knee brace.

  61. I went the brace route with a brace from WoundWear. It was a great alternative to surgery and surgery was not really an option for my dog. My dog took to wearing the brace very quickly and started putting pressure on his injured leg soon after. The recovery process is slow, difficult and takes LOTS of patience. But overall, it was well worth it. I highly recommend looking into it if you are concerned about the surgery or if your dog isn’t a good candidate for surgery.

      1. Hi Chris,
        Yep! He’s back to his old self 🙂 It was about a 12 week recovery process. WoundWear supplied me with a Rehab Protocol worksheet that outlined the recovery process, (when to switch rods in the brace, how often to take your dog on walks and for how long etc..) I followed that extremely closely. I really really didn’t want to have any setbacks.

  62. My dog came back from 3 knee injuries (he’s 15) without surgery. They have to be crated or contained (I tied him to a coffee table) for about 6 weeks and that’s hard, but remember the rehab for surgery is hard as well. Several vets told me he needed surgery, but one vet said to try non-surgical methods first. He bounced back just fine. There’s no guarantee with surgery and it’s really expensive. If the dog is older, the rehab can be brutal and painful. I highly recommend attempting non-surgical methods first if possible. I also gave him cosequin pills.

  63. Two weeks ago Golda was running and came up lame.
    The Vet wants $5400.00. for an operation. I can not afford this.
    I don’t know WHAT TO DO?

    1. Johnathan,

      Sorry to hear about your pup. It will be difficult to heal without surgery but it is possible. Ellie had TPLO on one leg, and when the tendon went on the second leg several years later we chose not to do surgery since she was that much older. You can do it but it will be lengthy and difficult. If you go online you will find a plan called Slocum and it is for non-surgical options. Best of luck and keep posting.

      1. I just got out of the hospital for my heart.

        I just can afford the operation I have been giving Golda (she a 4.5 year old blond Lab)
        MedsVetprofen 100 mg twice a day — Tramdol 3 times a day— 4 double strength Cosequin DS chewable twice a Day.

        If I had the money I would not hesitate to have her operated on.

        I live in Long Island NY I’m not looking for a hand out just help my sweet heart friend.

        Thank you

  64. My Bordeaux/Staffirdshire has two ruptured acls which he did last August. I was quoted $7000 plus followupcare..I just don’t have that money. I had him on rest, tramadol and gabapentin for pain and almost a year now he is doing only ok. He does have problems and can no longer do our long walks but he has gotten by without the surgery..so far. I still want to do at least the right leg but just have no money. I am looking into leg braces which are cheap in comparison.

  65. Two weeks ago Golda was running and came up lame. The Vet wants $5400.00. for an operation. I can not afford this. I don’t know WHAT TO DO?

    I just got out of the hospital for my heart.

    I just can afford the operation I have been giving Golda (she a 4.5 year old blond Lab)
    MedsVetprofen 100 mg twice a day — Tramdol 3 times a day— 4 double strength Cosequin DS chewable twice a Day.

    If I had the money I would not hesitate to have her operated on.

    I live in Long Island NY I’m not looking for a hand out just help my sweet heart friend.

    Thank you

  66. Hi my name is Joey and we have a 6 month old American bulldog/Bull mastiff mix puppy that seems to have a pinched nerve in her back which my need surgery to fix. I am wondering if there is any one that knows of a assistants program to help with the cost of the surgery. We were told by the vet that the surgery could cost an upwards of 5000 dollars.

    1. Joey, i would suggest steroids first. You will be amazed how good they work. One of my other dogs which is now passed on was given Celebrex. She went from crawling on her sides to fully walking and running. Ask your vet. They may have samples available.

  67. My 2-year-old mastiff that my husband and I rescued a year ago, just had TPLO surgery at Columbia University. It was $3,500. Her other cruciate ligament is also ruptured so she will need to have another TPLO within a few months. My husband and I couldn’t afford the first surgery as we’ve had a very difficult year financially, but, luckily, Mizzou let us finance $3,000 of the bill.

    I’m working 12 hours plus a day in order to pay off this surgery bill. Afterward, I’ll be doing the same for many months for the second surgery bill. But, to us, it was the only option. There was no way that we’d let her suffer, and no way that we’d put a 2-year-old to sleep, so we decided to make this sacrifice for her, felt it was the right thing to do.

    For those who are considering a university, they’re a great option, but this surgery is still expensive. And there are other costs involved besides the surgery fee. On our initial visit to Mizzou, we had to pay for lab tests, x-rays, medicine, and the office visit. That was about $500.00. We must also take her to our regular vet for a 2-week checkup–we live three hours away from Columbia. And we have to take her back to Columbia in eight weeks and she’ll need more x-rays. That will be another $300.00-$500.00 bill, plus hotel and travel fees for us.

    When she initially ruptured her ligament around Christmas, I was so distraught about the cost of the surgery. I did one of those online fundraisers, but no one, not even friends or family, contributed. So know, that if you can’t afford it, it’s very unlikely that people will help.

    Care Credit is an option, but they have awful interest rates.

    Know also that if one cruciate ligament ruptures, there’s at least a 50% chance that the other one will as well.

    1. Fyi, many dogs can go on with out the need to repair the other side. My American bulldog “Tela” for example had the same issues. My vet said, very often a dog owner will make the repair on one leg and the dog will be fine. I wasn’t so sure but 6 years later Tela is very active and quite well. A strict diet helped a ton as well. Don’t stress it, you will see just how much your dog will improve from the one surgery. My guess is you will not need the other. An occasional buffered aspirin will be plenty. Consult with your vet about putting her on arthritis medicine as needed. My dog is on Rhymidal and it’s awesome. Absolutely spoiled rotten! She is now 8 years old.

  68. This is my story one Vet said do the CCL Surgery NOW !!!. and there no guarantee( which I understand)
    Then I got a second opinion which I was told by another Vet wait 6 months.
    Golda is back to normal running jumping both legs seem healed six months later ”NO Surgery”
    She is a little over 5 and all she wants to do is run. I do try to limit her worrying she might injure herself.
    Now as the second Vet told me have her lose weight she was 97 lbs. at time of injury she is now 79 lbs. and I want her at 69 lbs.
    The Vet told me CCL Surgery is NOT always the way to go. Too many Vets will hurry up and charge up a storm an others will be honest and tell you wait and see.
    Now I do understand this is not in all cases but Golda was….

  69. Hello all,
    I have a german shepherd who weighs 105lbs lean. He partially tore his ccl early last year but last week after we were trying conservation management he somehow tore the rest of the ccl. Now he is suffering and I took him to the vet and was quoted around $3000 for a TTA surgery. Unfortunately my husband and I are both in college and can not afford this. I set up a go fund me page however I am not an advocate of facebook or twitter so I do think I will get any donations. Is there any places where I would be able to apply for funding?

  70. Hi,
    I know this is an old post but was wondering if there are any braces you recommend? I think my dog has a strained CCL or partial rupture and want to try to avoid surgery if possible.

    1. Hi Chris,
      What breed of dog do you have? It depends on the size of your dog as to if and what brace to use.
      My 12 year old papillon ruptured his cruciate ligament 3 months ago. I decided to treat conservatively, and so far it’s been really successful. I bought a small dog pen which he sat in while i was out and when I was watching tv. I immediately started on Physio and water therapy. The physio said that a brace wouldn’t help him, as he needed to get the muscles to keep strong to support the unstable joint. I found the best treatment was the water therapy. (under water treadmill and walking in water up to his hips first). ( only 6 mins worth – 30sec on 30 sec off to start). I would go to a dog physio first and see what they recommend and they can also lead you in the right direction. My dog is now doing really well. No limp and back to his normal lead walks. I’ll start going back to the park in about a month and test there as well. Also Rosehip powder and fishoil is fantastic to add to food to support a quicker recovery and stop arthritis. Hope this helps.

  71. Hello,

    I took my 11 year old mutt into the vet today and she has both her “ACL’s” torn and a dislocated patella. The estimated surgery was quoted at 4,000 dollars. I’ve paid for all my dog’s vet bills since I was 12 (she fractured her leg, needed a tooth extracted, chased after a raccoon and got roughed up, had ringworm, had a foxtail weed removed) I’m currently in college and do not make much money but I try to buy her the best food and take the best care of her. This is the first time that I do not have enough money to cover her vet bills. It breaks my heart seeing her in pain. It would probably take me over 5 months to raise that kind of money. What should I do in he meantime before I can afford the surgery.

  72. Hello, my name is Ashley and I have a 10 month old Pointer/American Bulldog mix. She tore her ccl, which I thought was close to impossible for a dog her age. My vet estimated her surgery being close to $3,500. Like most people, I cannot afford that.. I’ve been reading most of these comments and the trend is older dogs, that are heavier. She is only 10 months old and 47 pounds. Any ideas if I can heal her without surgery? Or if there are any foundations I can write to help with the cost?

  73. I have a 4 year old Corgi mix that has a torn cruciate ligament. She is not overweight but very bowed legged due to her breed, which is now resulting in hip and knee issues. I live in theTulsa OK area. Do you know of any clinics that will take a physical therapy, possibly brace approach. I really need any and all non surgical option information that I can get.

    Thank you, Christy

  74. Our 8yr old pitbull lab mix was diagnosed with a ccl tear. The vet recommended a surgical vet place that he said would be in the $ 4500 range for surgery. Is this too much?

    1. Hi Dennis,

      When our Lab had a TPLO procedure 7 years ago it was right around $3500.00. With that being said, after this many years, that cost probably falls right in line. I would be curious if it is for an actual TPLO procedure or if it is for a Tightrope

    2. My almost three year old Lab had TPLO surgery for one knee two weeks ago. The cost was estimated at $3700-$4200. Actual cost was just under $3800. The surgeon was in a referral-only veterinary practice in Springfield, Oregon (near Eugene). Twelve years ago my sister-in-law’s young shepherd mix had bilateral TPLO surgeries and her total cost was nearly $10,000! That was in the San Francisco Bay Area.

        1. Hi,

          My name is kelly and i need help my dog has a knee ruptcher and i am giving her pills and trying to help her walk around. She is a black labor someone left her on our door step when she was just a puppy, so we do not knoew how old she is. Her name is Vendetta. I need to find a way to help her knee in a non expensive way other than expensive surgery on her knee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CAN YOU HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          1. Hi Kelly. Sorry to hear about the injury. Unfortunately there are not a lot of options if it is a full rupture. If it is not repaired I would imagine she will not have full mobility of that leg in the future. Have you spoken with your veterinarian about any options? Did they say if she would need a TPLO procedure or a Tightrope procedure?

  75. We just adopted a Lab/Pit mix and later found out she was abused at the Vet where we adopted her from!!! She needs surgery on her knee and hips to repair the damage and we just aren’t rich…..My son is 14 and he’s upset about it but….I’m considering having Sugar put down…..We’re giving her supplements, Ramadi and physical therapy but…she is still limping. I live in Mississippi and haven’t found any program to assist Sugar or anything else to help with the cost. My son even talked me into starting Sugar a “Gofundme” page—“Sugar needs knee and hip surgery”…that didn’t work either….I don’t know what to do…..we are trying to save up enough money to get the knee surgery done but, I’m afraid she’s going to tear her other knee in the meantime!!! Should I buy a brace for both knees? or what? We love our dog but, she’s hurting…..It’s hard to see her in pain and to know we can’t help her because of money!!! I’m just worried sick.

  76. Message me back soon please I don’t know when the surgery is yet. But I need something to help her!!! As much as i can so if youcan help me and y dog PLEASE DO SO‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️

  77. I have an 83 pound Belgian Malinois/GSD rescue cross. He had to be rescued becasue of his high energy and mouthiness and jumping. We have cured him of jumping with much love and work and mostly cured him of mouthing everything but the energy and strenght of this dog bred for police or military use is incredible. He now needs cruciate surgery and I have bene quoted 4500 I can afford about half that.. I would bewilling to drive 12–20 hours out of Nor Cal to get surgery somewhere where it would cost less and still be top quality. For now we are keeping him as calm as possible. He breaks out and ZOOMS at any opportunity> he is on anti inflammatories and pain meds, still limips a bit. Any suggestions? Anyplace to go where i can afford this?

  78. My 4 yr old queensland/American blue tore her ACL and miniscus on right leg during the holidays. Vet put her on Metacam to see if it would help. Today she tore her ACL on the other leg and can’t walk at all. I have spent over $4000. On my female Chihuahua who was stomped on by a bull this last year and a total of $7000. On my male chihuahua who has had multiple surgeries over the last few years.
    I just moved to TX from CA so am not going to get help on payments from a new vet. The emergency vet said one leg would be worked on at a time by the orthopedic vet which could increase my costs.
    Any suggestions?

  79. I don’t know what to do. I have a 7 year old boxer Shepard mix. My mom got him for me when I was 13. I’m 20 now and he has been with me every night. He is my absolute best friend and baby. I didn’t know the full financial obligation of an aging dog prone to joint problems when my mom got him for me. She has a history of being irresponsible with pets. I do not. He started experiencing joint pain a year ago. We had x-rays done and his vet explained that his joints and knees in his hind legs were deteriorating like dogs his age, breed and size do. As a treatment I’ve been giving him 100mg of galiprant 1x per day and 100mg of gabapentin 2x per day and 50mg of tramodol 2x per day. He did great with that for about a year. Two days ago he started having severe stiffness in his movement that turned into a full limp. I took him into an emergency vet and he was diagnosed with a ccl tear. They recommended TPLO surgery. They quoted me at 4,500 and half must be paid up front and the other half upon pickup. His surgery is scheduled for 3 days from today. I applied for the medical loan but was only approved for $500. Being 20, a college student and living on my own, my entire savings is only $1600. That’s not even enough for half of the cost of the procedure. He seems to be in a lot of pain. My heart is broken.

  80. I have a pit/lab mix who is 12yrs old. We were told yesterday that she has a torn CCL and also a small bone fragment in between the joint. She does have arthritis and her arthritis is worse in her right hip where her knee is messed up. I have been looking into surgical options or CM. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  81. My 30 pound labradoodle was just diagnosed with a torn ACL. The quote for the surgery was $7,000 to $8,800, here in the SF Bay area. I think you need to update your estimated pricing. Ouch!

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