Major Dog Knee Surgery Types: Choose the Right One for Your Pet

Published on Apr 13, 2023 12:00 AM
Major Dog Knee Surgery Types: Choose the Right One for Your Pet

Nothing can be more heartbreaking for a dog owner than seeing their beloved companion in pain. Unfortunately, dogs' knee injuries are one of the most frequent orthopedic issues. It can cause intense discomfort and require surgery to relieve your pup. Various dog knee surgery types are available for pets; you must understand which option your pet needs.

Understanding dog knee surgery types can be scary if you need to become more familiar with the terminology and procedures involved. So, let's dig into the various types of knee surgeries for dogs and their purposes. 

Dogs with Knee Injuries: What Causes Them?

Dogs with knee injuries suffer extreme distress and pain while moving their legs. You can help your friend from this trouble by understanding its potential causes. Also, must explore how to treat these injuries, 


The leading cause of knee injuries is trauma. Accidents, falls, or hitting with objects can cause severe harm to dogs – just like humans! This can result in ligament tears, fractures, or dislocations. 


Obesity is another common cause of dog knee injury. Excess weight can damage the joint and increase pressure on these critical joints. So, it's essential to keep your pup at a healthy weight through regular exercise and an appropriate diet.

Breed Predisposition

Certain dog breeds are more vulnerable to knee injuries than others due to their genetics and anatomy. Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, and Rottweilers, in particular, can be especially at risk for these incidents; therefore, you must take extra precautions if you own one of these breeds in order to minimize potential damages.


Dogs may have knee injuries as they grow older. As your pup ages, its joints may weaken, leading to arthritis or ligament tear. Regular exercises and joint supplements are excellent ways to keep your pup's knees flexible and healthy as they age.

3 Main Dog Knee Surgery Types

Treating all dog knee surgery options depends on the cause of the knee injury. But there are 3 primary surgeries; let’s discuss  

dog knee surgery at veterinary operating room

1. TPLO Surgery for Knee Problems to Get Your Dog Back on His Paws

Pet owners understand the importance of keeping their pup friend happy and healthy. Unfortunately, accidents or injuries can cause agony or uneasiness to your pup, but don't worry - there is a solution!
TPLO surgery helps your pet get up on its feet again and can restore mobility after a torn Cruciate Ligament has occurred. 

What is TPLO Surgery?

This surgical procedure stabilizes a dog's knee joints by altering the angle of its tibial plate - the top portion connecting the knee joint to the femur. With this canine knee surgery, doctors rotate the lower tibial plateau into a flatter angle for added support and stability in the joint. 

Who Should Consider TPLO Surgery?

Large breed dogs such as Labrador Retrievers or German Shepherds are especially prone to knee issues. But all dogs can experience knee injuries. To determine if TPLO is the right option for your pup, your vet will evaluate its weight, health status, severity of the injury, and age. 

2. Extracapsular Repair Surgery: An Effective Solution for Your Dog's Knee Injuries

CCL rupture is a common issue among dogs with cranial cruciate ligaments (CCL), and this condition can be treated through various surgical options, including Extracapsular Repair Surgery.

What Is Extracapsular Repair Surgery?

Extracapsular repair surgery is a surgical treatment for Canine CCL ruptures. A robust synthetic material is known as the suture is used during the procedure to create an artificial joint outside the knee joint, stabilizing it and relieving strain on the CCL.

Who Should Consider Extracapsular Repair Surgery?

Extracapsular Repair Surgery may be an option for your furry friend if they're dealing with pain in their knee joints, lameness, difficulty standing or walking, and discomfort when touched. Small to medium-sized dogs with ruptured CCLs are usually suitable candidates for this surgery; this injury is prevalent among overweight dogs or those born with genetic predispositions.

3. TTA Surgery: A Solution for Your Furry Friend's Knee Problems

Are you concerned about your furry friend's mobility and if they are feeling pain in their knees? CCL (cranial-cruciate ligament rupture) is a common condition in dogs. TTA surgery is one of the dog knee surgery types that can restore mobility to your pet and reduce strain on their CCL.
Let's look in-depth at TTA and its benefits for your furry friend.

What Is TTA Surgery, Exactly?

TTA surgery stands for Tibial Tuberosity Advancement. It is a surgical procedure that treats CCL ruptures in dogs. To stabilize the knee joint and to reduce strain on it, the angle on the tibial plate, which is the flat portion at the top of your tibia bone, is modified during the surgery. After the implant has been designed, it is placed in the tibia bone. The screws hold it in place.

Who Is TTA Surgery For?

TTA surgery is one of the leading dog knee surgery types. And it might be recommended for your furry friend if they experience lameness, discomfort when their knee joints are touched, difficulty walking, standing, or other symptoms. This procedure is generally recommended for medium-sized to large-breed pets who have suffered a ruptured CCL. Furthermore, this injury can be very common in overweight and active dogs.

TTA Surgery Is the Best Option for Your Pet

After a thorough examination and diagnostic tests, your veterinarian will determine if TTA is the right option for your pet. They will assess your pet's overall health and consider their age, weight, and activity level. Suppose your pet is suffering from TTA. In that case, your veterinarian can provide all the information you need to prepare for the procedure and what to expect in the recovery period.

Other Knee Surgeries

Dogs often suffer from knee issues, which is a widespread incidence. TTA and TPLO surgery are two popular solutions for dog knee issues. However, your veterinarian may suggest other common dog surgeries depending on your pet's individual requirements.
Let us examine three additional canine knee operations.

1. Medial Patella Luxation (MPL) Surgery

One of the main Recover depends on the different dog knee surgery types is MPL surgery. Medial Patella Luxation (MPL) surgery, also known as Medial Patella Luxation (MPL), is a common operation to correct an alignment issue in a small dog's knees. Walking becomes difficult and painful, and limping may ensue when this occurs. MPL surgery could involve deepening the groove to hold on to the kneecap while tightening soft tissues around it to prevent future dislocations.

2. Knee Arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, allows your veterinarian to view inside your dog's joint using either a small camera or an arthroscope. This can be used for treating many knee issues like a torn meniscus or loose cartilage. Plus, this less invasive option is faster than traditional open surgery and offers numerous advantages.

3. Total Knee Reconstruction (TKR) Surgery

TKR surgery is an extensive, complex procedure that replaces your dog's entire knee joint with a prosthetic. This dog knee replacement surgery is usually only recommended for severe knee problems in dogs and requires more time to heal than other knee surgeries; however, it can provide significant pain relief and improved mobility in your pup.

Who Should Consider MPL, TKR, and Knee Arthroscopy?

Small breeds with frequent kneecap dislocations should consider MPL surgery. In addition, dogs suffering from severe problems like a torn meniscus or loose cartilage could benefit from knee arthroscopy; TKR (Total Knee Replacement) is reserved for those dogs whose conditions cannot be otherwise managed.

Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Your veterinarian can recommend your pup's most suitable treatment plan, considering each individual's requirements. Your furry friend deserves nothing less than the very best care possible.

Work with your Vet to Make the Right Choice

Finding the best and right dog knee surgery types for your pup can be very challenging. But remember, you don't have to do it alone. Consult your veterinarian; he can help you through this process. Remember some points before meeting your vet, 

veterinarian taking care of a dog

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions: it can be a challenging moment for a pet parent. So, feel free to ask your vet questions and complete the procedure and its outcomes. That's how you can make a good decision. 
  • Get a second opinion: if you need more clarification about the procedure, there is no harm in getting a second opinion. However, making an informed decision with certainty is crucial for successful treatment. 
  • Follow Post-Surgery Care Instructions: Once your dog has had a knee operation, you must follow your veterinarian's instructions for a speedy recovery and reduced risk of complications. This will guarantee an efficient process.

Rehabilitation and Recovery After Surgery 

Recover depends on the different dog knee surgery types. Your pet friend who recently underwent surgery will require additional TLC during recovery. Here are some things to look out for during this time:

  • Rest: After surgery, your dog must take some rest. Avoid strenuous activities for several weeks so the bone and joint can heal properly. This means no running, jumping, or playing for your pup for several weeks.
  • Medication: Your vet may prescribe medication for your dog to manage pain and prevent infection. These must be administered according to the instructions so your pup can completely recover.
  • Take Care of Exercise and Diet: Your vet will provide a tailored exercise and diet program to ensure your furry friend recovers quickly. This could include short walks on the leash as well as physical therapy exercises designed to build muscle strength.
  • Gradual Increase in Activity Level: Your dog's energy and appetite should improve over time as you increase activity level and duration. It is best to increase intensity and duration gradually rather than push too hard during recovery.
  • Crate or Pen Internment: Crate or pen confinement will prevent any injuries that could delay healing.
  • Follow-Up Appointments: You must attend all follow-up visits with your veterinarian during rehabilitation. These check-ins allow them to monitor your dog's progress, adjust the treatment plan as necessary, and address any worries or issues that arise.


Seeing his pup suffering from a knee injury would be excruciating for a pet parent. But with the correct procedure, your pet can return to its paws. Knowing the dog knee surgery types and the best treatment for them can make a huge difference in your pet's quality of life. Consulting a veterinarian is mandatory to ensure the best outcomes for your pup. Don't be afraid; collaborate with your vet and make an informed decision.  

If the vet is having any trouble differentiating the types of surgeries, he must opt for more learning or consulting experts. Vet and Tech is an online educational platform to educate vets about animal health solutions and motivate them to stand out from others in the crowd. With the advancement of technology, the world is evolving. Vets must know about ongoing advancements and various veterinary orthopedic surgery procedures to ensure the best possible outcomes. So, never be afraid to learn, and grow yourself into the perfect one. 


What is the Cost of dog knee surgery? 

The Cost depends on the dog’s knee surgery type. But on overage, the pet parent is expected to pay a minimum of $2k to $4k. 

What are the benefits of TTA surgery?

TTA surgery offers several benefits for your furry friend, including:

  • Improved mobility and reduced pain
  • Long-term stability of the knee joint
  • Reduced risk of future injuries
  • Upgraded quality of life