Dog ACL Surgery Cost and Treatment

Dog ACL Surgery Cost

As a dog owner, watching your furry friend in pain while walking is hard. One of the causes behind a dog’s movement issues is a ruptured CCL/ACL, and you’re probably wondering how much a dog ACL surgery cost might set you back financially. 

If your dog undergoes a knee injury or degeneration, its cranial cruciate ligament or CCL may rupture. The CCL is like a human’s anterior cruciate ligament or ACL. It may need CCL surgery, also called the ACL surgery, which can cost about $1000-5000

Find out all about the different types of dog ACL surgeries and how much they may cost. 

Factors Affecting ACL Surgery Cost for Dogs

Factors Affecting ACL Surgery Cost for Dogs
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The cost of ACL surgery in dogs depends on various factors, such as the following: 

Type of Surgery

Typically, there are four types of CCL surgeries – ECR, TPLO, TTA, and Tightrope. Of these, ECR is the least expensive procedure, starting at $1,000, while TPLO can set you back by up to $5,000 for each knee of the dog.

Size and Weight of the Dog

Larger and heavier dogs like Newfoundlands need more anesthesia and medication, increasing the cost of the surgery and the overall treatment. Plus, larger dogs respond better to TPLO, TTA, and TTO, which are more expensive.  

Expert Treatment and High-End Facility

A high-end veterinary hospital has cutting-edge care facilities, adding to the treatment bills. Plus, if you consult an experienced and reputed veterinary orthopedic surgeon, you’ll pay significantly more. 

Geographical Location

High tax rates reflect on pet care costs, including ACL surgeries. In states like New York or Hawaii with high rates, the surgery cost is way more than in states like Alaska or Tennessee. Plus, it’s higher in big cities like Manhattan

Pre-Operative Testing

Cranial Drawer Test and Tibial Thrust Test help diagnose CCL injury. Other exams may be needed to check for atrophy, swelling, scar tissues, etc. Some advanced clinics also use Radiography. Plus, pre-surgical blood work is also needed. 

Post-Operative Care

Post-op care involves medicines for pain and inflammation. Patients also need ice-pack therapy, stretches, motion exercises, and follow-up check-ups. But infections, wound dehiscence, etc., need further care – and expenses.

Related: Dog Slipped Disc Surgery Cost – Full Guide

Types of ACL Surgery for Dogs

Dogs of any age, size, weight, or breed can suffer from CCL rupture. But some breeds, like the Rottweiler, Golden Retriever, Newfoundland, etc., are more prone to this issue. 

In some cases, your doctor may prefer not to do surgery. This is usually if the dog:

  • is geriatric or sedentary;
  • weighs less than 20 lb;
  • has terminal cancer;
  • has had organ failure;
  • suffers from neuro conditions or severe anemia.

However, depending on the health condition of the dog and the severity of the condition, your vet orthopedic surgeon may choose one of the following ACL surgery procedures:

Extracapsular Repair (ECR)

Also called the lateral suture stabilization technique, ECR is the traditional method. A false ligament is created with suture materials to mimic the CCL’s function and replace the torn one. It facilitates scar tissue development around the joint for stabilization. 

Here’s a video that describes the process.

Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)

In TPLO, the top of the tibia or shin bone is cut and reshaped. Then, it is rotated to provide stability to the knee joint and alter its structure and function to redistribute the weight on the knee. The surface is held in place using a bridging plate and screws. 

This video explains the TPLO surgery for dogs.

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA)

In TTA, the front of the tibia is cut and moved forward. This repositioning helps in altering the motion of the quadriceps muscles and the knee and gives more stability to the knee. Bone grafts and steel plates are used to secure and stabilize the tibia.

Check out this video that describes the TTA surgery procedure.

Tightrope Procedure

The Tightrope procedure is a modern approach that uses a unique technique. The femur (thigh bone) and tibia are drilled. Then, special toggle implants and suture material developed for this type of surgery are used in these holes to repair the joint. 

Take a look at this video showing the Tightrope procedure. 

Related: Luxated Patella of Dog – Surgery Cost

A Breakdown of Cost of ACL Surgery for Dogs

A Breakdown of Cost of ACL Surgery for Dogs
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The cost of CCL surgery in dogs primarily depends on the type of surgery and ranges between $1000 and $5000. Most pet owners bear about $1,500-4,000

Considering other factors that affect the cost of the treatment, here’s a look at the expenses for this surgery:

Extracapsular Repair (ECR)$1,000-3,500
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)$2,000-5,000
Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA)$2,500-4,500
Tightrope Surgery$1,800-2,500
Source: Hepper

Note that another unique procedure, the Triple Tibial Osteotomy (TTO), is a combination of the TTA and the TPLO. You can expect to pay up to $5,500 for this surgery.

These base quotes may include (and omit) various aspects of ACL surgery. So it is important that you ask your doctor for a clear breakdown. You can expect the following to be included in the package: 

  • Initial check-ups
  • Pre-anesthetic tests (X-ray, blood work, etc.)
  • Management and monitoring during surgery 
  • Surgery
  • Post-op care

Related: Dog Hip Replacement Cost – All You Need to Know

Supplemental costs may include the following: 

  • Prescription medicines
  • Surgical supplies and sutures
  • Anesthetic medication
  • IV fluids
  • Treatment for surgical complications
  • Physical therapy
  • Additional tests for diagnosis
  • Hospitalization 
  • Follow-up visits and treatment
  • Additional care for infection, delayed healing, etc.  
  • Therapy for recovery
  • Post-operative pain meds and antibiotics

Related: Canine Care: Breaking Down the CT Scan Dog Cost

Ways to Lower ACL Surgery Costs for Dogs

Ways to Lower ACL Surgery Costs for Dogs
Image by iStock

As a pet parent, you’d only want the best treatment option to ensure that your dog’s injured leg doesn’t render the poor animal immobile. However, ACL surgery is quite an expensive treatment. So find out how to reduce costs. 

Finding Low-Cost Clinics

Instead of taking your pet to the biggest pet hospital in the country, look for local clinics. But ensure it doesn’t compromise on the care and facilities – at a reasonable price. 

Exploring Financing Options

If you have a good credit score, you can apply for a pet loan to cover the cost. It is typically an unsecured personal loan, and you can pay it off on a monthly basis. 

Pet Insurance and Care Credit

Pet insurance and pet care credit cards go hand in hand. You can use the card to make upfront payments and the insurance reimbursement to pay the credit card balance.

Discussing Options with the Veterinarian

Ask your doctor if surgery is the only option available. Sometimes, medicines, physical rehabilitation, supplements, modified exercise, and rest are sufficient for CCL rupture. 

Related: Dog MRI Cost: Why Prices Vary and What Can You Do About It?

Revive Your Dog’s Active Life – with CCL Surgery and Post-Op Care 

Revive Your Dog’s Active Life - with CCL Surgery and Post-Op Care
Image by iStock

Around 90% of dogs regain their ability to walk without discomfort after the surgery. So this course of treatment is safe, and your furball will recover within 12-18 weeks. But you must give it proper post-op care and rehabilitation after consulting your doctor. 

Wearing a cone for up to 2 weeks and getting proper rest with limited activities for up to 3 months are essential. With the help of proper post-op medicines, therapeutic laser or ice packing, and proper physical therapy, your dog will return to its active life soon!


Johann Chapuis

Johann Chapuis has assembled a fantastic team of licensed veterinarians, animal behaviorists, dog trainers, groomers, and walkers to write every article and offer the most accurate content on Being a pet lover and owner himself, Johann is sharing his experiences and his financial aptitude cultivated during his MBA with a specialization in finance and the numerous years he spent working as a business manager and entrepreneur.

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