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My vet recommended TPLO surgery on my acutely lame dog without taking x-rays. Is that appropriate?

Question:

My dog, a German Shepard mix, pulled up lame while chasing a ball. We were told that she should have TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy) surgery on the leg. However, her leg was never x-rayed. Is this an appropriate recommendation to make without the benefit of x-rays to see what is going on with her leg?

 

Answer:

In larger dogs, a TPLO is often the best surgical option. However, your instincts are correct that imaging needs to be done before the type of treatment is determined. It is important to have radiographs or potentially advanced imaging of any orthopedic injury before the discussion regarding treatment and/or surgical options.

A TPLO is almost always done in a specialty hospital by a board-certified surgeon. If you are looking at having your regular veterinarian do the selected surgery (after imaging and diagnosis), it is reasonable to ask how often the procedure is performed, the complication rate, and the expected outcome.

Best of luck to you and your dog. Here is some information from the ExpertVet.com website:

 

Description of the Injury: https://expertvet.com/articles/cranial-cruciate-ligament-rupture-crclr

 

Treatment Options: https://expertvet.com/ask-a-specialist/what-are-treatment-options-my-dog-s-torn-cranial-crucial-ligament-ccl 

 

TPLO: https://expertvet.com/articles/tibial-plateau-leveling-osteotomy-tplo   

 

Arthroscopy: https://expertvet.com/articles/arthroscopy-veterinary-medicine (This may not be suitable for a dog the size of yours. The surgeon will discuss all options with you.)

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