What You Need to Know when Your Dog needs Cruciate Surgery

If you’re like most people your first question is likely to be, “Well Doctor, How much is that going to cost”?

However – although cost is important, it’s not the only question you should ask.


As people who get asked “How much do you charge for cruciate surgery? almost every day – we urge you to read through this post to get the full picture BEFORE you settle on a price.

Fact # 1: There are different methods of surgical repair. Not just one!

We find that many people don’t know this and wrongly assume there is only one approach.

Your vet should be able to discuss the different surgical methods with you as well as provide recommendations as to which method is best for your dog.

If your vet can’t do this they will refer you to someone with specific expertise in this area which could either be a more senior vet or a specialist orthopaedic surgeon.

Each method has specific benefits and limitations as well as costs.

Cruciate surgery is very specific to each dog and type of injury.

No one type of surgery is best for all situations. Your budget of course comes into that discussion as well.

Modern Geometric repair methods will be more expensive that the older style lateral suture method however they also have greater benefits

Different Cruciate Repair methods include:

Extra capsular methods

  • Lateral Suture Methods (Used since the 1950’s) e.g. De Angelis method – Non Geometric modification
  • Tightrope – isometric so better than the above

Modern Geometric Modification Methods

These are: TTA – TTO – TPLWO – CBLO and TPLO

Why X-Rays are a Must

X-Rays show the degree of instability in the joint as well as other osteoarthritic changes that may affect surgery.Dog Cruciate Surgery

Diagnostic quality X-Rays provide the information your vet needs to present you with the most suitable options.

They are also used for planning the surgery.

Discuss Options

Once your vet has X-Ray results then he or she can take you through the your options as well as make recommendations as to which method is best for your dog’s specific condition.

Factors include age, weight, nature of the injury or disease and cost.

You’ll find that many clinics can perform these surgeries “in house.”

They either have their own orthopaedic surgeon on staff OR or organise for an external surgeon to perform the surgery on their behalf at their clinic.

Almost any vet can perform the lateral suture method also commonly know as the “De Angelis” method. This is also the cheapest method.

Many vets still recommend this as a suitable option – particularly for small breeds however make sure you don’t limit yourself to this.

We strongly recommend as with most things – do your own research and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if needed

Find out what’s included in the cost

Another important thing you need to know before going ahead with the surgery is what is included in the quoted fee.

Your fee estimation should include everything relevant to the surgery as well as any take home medications. in clinic hospital care after the procedure and any follow up visits or treatments.

Some vets send their patients home on the same day as the procedure. Others provide the necessary post – operative hospital care for longer.

Our cruciate patients are hospitalised for a minimum of 3 days after the surgery for appropriate pain management and rehabilitation therapies.

We find that take home pain medications are often not enough to effectively manage post-orthopaedic surgery pain.

In hospital we have access to much better methods of pain control tailored to the individual needs of each patient and adjusted as necessary

Home Care Arrangements After your Dog’s Cruciate Surgery

Before the surgery it’s important you prepare carefully for any aftercare your dog needs at home.

Typical requirements include strict confinement which means you may need to invest in a secure crate or create a special area in your home to meet those requirements.

At home exercises and activities

You will be given advice about activities or therapies necessary for your dog’s recovery and return to full mobility.

You can choose to do these yourself under guidance from your vet or find a facility that offers Canine Rehabilitation Therapies as we do

Our Approach to Cruciate Surgery

Our cruciate discussions are handled by our Orthopaedic Surgeons.

This is because they are best placed to discuss all the options with you as well as compare benefits and disadvantages of each.Dog Cruciate Surgery Melbourne

Our preferred method is the TPLO procedure for most types of cruciate injuries.

👉If you are looking for a second opinion for your dog’s cruciate injury treatment and would like to discuss options available to you, please feel free to get in touch or ask for our Guide to Canine Cruciate Surgery handout.

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