TPLO Surgery for Dog Cost

tplo surgery

The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is prone to cases of injuries and gradual weakening due to age. CCL in dogs helps hold the knee together. In scenarios of injuries to the CCL, veterinarians undertake a TPLO surgery to help treat the injury.

The charges for TPLO surgery vary depending on your dog, geographical location, and veterinary clinic. The surgery can cost between $3,500 to $5,000. In other instances, you can pay as low as $2,000. Follow the guide below as we elaborate more about TPLO surgery procedures and their cost.

Key Takeaways

  • Tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery corrects CCL injuries and has a high success rate of restoring knee functionality.
  • A TPLO surgery has a full recovery period of about six months.
  • TPLO surgery costs vary but are estimated between $3,500 and $5,000.

What is TPLO Surgery in Dogs?

The abbreviation TPLO represent Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, a surgical procedure used to treat and stabilize stifle cranial cruciate ligament rupture knee joints in dogs. The cranial cruciate ligament helps connect the shin and thigh bones on the dog’s knee.

Image by NDSR

When the CCL ruptures, the dog can’t walk correctly. Such injuries are painful and can negatively impact the dog’s well-being, especially if left untreated for an extended period. However, TPLO surgery helps to fix torn CCL and has a high success rate.

TPLO surgery doesn’t come cheap; it can cost between $3,500 and $5,000, depending on the location and the dog. In other instances, you can pay as low as $2,000 or as much as $10,000. Despite the costs, the surgery is vital in;

  • Lowering the dog’s pain
  • Improving the dog’s mobility
  • Decreasing arthritis development.

Related: Luxated Patella of Dog – Surgery Cost

Factors Affecting TPLO Surgery Cost For Dogs

TPLO surgery is an expensive procedure, and here are some factors that influence its price tag;

Size and Weight of the Dog

TPLO works best for large breeds of dogs. Small breeds can recover from torn CCL on their own. The size and weight of your dog will determine the amount of medication needed to sedate the dog. Therefore, you could pay more for large dog breeds than for smaller breeds.

The Age of the Dog

Treating puppies is less expensive than the costs incurred when dealing with mature dogs. CCLs in older dogs are weaker, so they need special care during and after surgery. This is why the prices are higher. Relatively young dogs recover faster and require less medication.

The Severity of the Condition

Injury levels vary; some conditions require simple surgeries, whereas others need complicated fixes. Cases that require complex fixes cost more than simple ruptures.

Additionally, if your dog needs surgery on two legs, the price will also increase.

Location of the Veterinary Clinic

The price of TPLO surgery depends on where the clinic is located because some places, like California, have high living standards. Hospitals in high-end regions will charge more for their surgery quotations. Luckily, clinics in such areas provide improved pre-op diagnostics and post-op recovery services. Vet clinics in remote areas may not be easy to get to, so not many people go there.

Geographical Location

Your geographical location will influence the cost of a TPLO surgery. Prices may differ in different areas because of taxes, shipping costs, and how much people are willing to pay.

Preoperative Testing and Postoperative Care

Aside from the initial cost of TPLO surgery, there are other costs, such as the cost of X-rays before and after the surgery. In addition, you will need follow-up vet visits.

Related: A Vet Explains Preventive Care & Medical Costs for a Dog

Procedure For TPLO Surgery in Dogs

TPLO surgery offers an excellent solution for damaged or torn CCLs.

Veterinarians will undertake the surgery keenly to deter potential complications. Here are some of the procedures that happen during TPLO surgery:

Before TPLO surgery, your vet places your dog under anesthesia. The dog need to be asleep as the vet corrects the CCL injury.

Then, the dog’s shin bone gets sloped along where it meets the thigh bone at the knee. The shin bone will slide forward along the slope, especially if no CCL connects the bone to the knee.

The vet removes the torn CCL and then examines the cartilage between the bones for further damage. A vet can fix damaged cartilage through repair or removal.

Image by NDSR

The slope issue is resolved by rotating the top of the shin until the slope is level. The vet screws on a metal plate to hold the bone together so it can heal faster.

After a successful surgery, you need to give the dog time to recover from anesthesia. You can let your dog stay at the clinic for a day after surgery to allow the vet to examine your dog’s recovery.

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

Cost of TPLO Surgery for Dogs

A TPLO surgery will cost between $3,500 and $3,500 on average. The costs of the surgical process depend on your dog, your location, and the clinic you go to for the surgery. TPLO surgery costs more than other kinds of surgeries because it needs special tools and veterinary expertise.

Regarding the total cost, you will have to pay a different fee for the consultation and any follow-up appointments. Therefore, ask your vet what’s included in the clinic’s cost for TPLO surgery. 

Here is a breakdown of the TPLO surgery cost: $3,000–$4,000 per knee or $5,500 up to $6,500 on both knees.

Related: Ultrasound Cost for Dog

Low-Cost TPLO Surgery for Dogs

You can access low-cost TPLO surgery through pet insurance. Pet insurance covers some or all payments for CCL surgery.

Check with your policy provider to determine your pet’s eligibility for surgery. You can also look into financing options like Care Credit to help pay for your pet’s care. The Care Credit covers costs not covered by pet insurance.

How Location of Veterinary Clinic Affects TPLO Surgery Cost

Vet clinics in rural or poor areas might not be able to compete with pet clinics in high-end areas. If you live in a high-end urban area, you might pay more than those living in substandard regions. For instance, those living in Silicon Valley in North California can pay up to $10,000 for TPLO surgery.

 Examples of low-cost vet clinics providing good services include;

Clinics set in more urbanized areas are easily accessible and aim to provide better and higher-quality services. Therefore, their charges will be higher than the rest of the clinics. Vet offices in remote areas may lack all the necessary equipment for complex procedures.

Related: Dog Slipped Disc Surgery Cost – Full Guide

Preoperative Testing and Postoperative Care

TPLO surgeries require X-rays before and after surgery for an in-depth examination. Bones can take eight weeks to recover, whereas full recovery can take up to 6 months after TPLO surgery; hence, it’s vital to care for them afterwards. Some things you can do to boost your dog’s recovery process include;

  • Restrain from dynamic activities: Restrict activities such as runs, jumps, rough play, or climbing stairs. Unrestrained activities can result in an extended recovery process or cause more injuries which may require other surgeries to fix. Keep activity levels low for about four months after surgery. You can achieve this by using a crate or indoor fence.
  • Deter the dogs from licking or chewing their incision: Licking or chewing surgery incision can cause infections; they need to be kept clean. Dress your dog with an Elizabeth collar for two weeks after surgery until the incision heals.
  • Use ice packs: The application of an ice pack helps reduce inflammation and swelling. Use a barrier between your dog’s skin and the ice pack, apply an ice pack for 2–3 days after surgery.
  • Undertake rehabilitation: Consider doing a range of motion exercises with your dog using the operated leg. Ensure you stay in contact with your vet, as they will guide you on the instructions. You can set follow-up vet visits to examine the recovery process.

Related: How Much Does It Cost to Get a Dog Neutered?

Ways to Lower TPLO Surgery Costs for Dogs

Veterinarians require on-time surgery payment, so you require a financial plan before surgery. Find low-cost clinics in your area and ask your vet if they have programs or financial aid to help you pay less.

If you have pet insurance, you can check with your provider to determine how much of the surgery it will cover. Pet insurance and financing options like Care Credit will help manage your pet’s surgery expenses.

Dog ACL Surgery Cost with Insurance

Pet insurance is imperative during surgeries. Insurance providers will pay a particular, if not the whole, amount of the overall cost. Pet insurance companies will need you to pay for the surgery out of your pocket and then reimburse you. Therefore, you require finances to cover the pet’s surgery upfront.

Related: How Much Does It Cost to Clean Dog Teeth?

TPLO Surgery Dog Cost FAQs

Q: Is TPLO Surgery Worth it for Dogs?

A: TPLO surgery is an excellent option for orthopedic surgeries. Large breeds, dogs with torn CCLs, and dogs with advanced joint degeneration are good candidates for surgery.

Q: How Urgent is TPLO Surgery for Dogs?

A: TPLO surgery isn’t urgent, though if delayed for a long time, it can cause arthritis. If the surgery isn’t done at the right time, the ACL of the opposite leg can tear.

Q: Is TPLO a Major Surgery?

A: Yes, TPLO is a major surgery. Possible side effects of the procedure include infections, screws coming loose, and osteotomies, which are slow healing of the cut bone.

Q: How Risky is TPLO Surgery in Dogs?

A: Upon surgery completion, dogs may experience slight discomfort from surgical inflammation. However, you can manage the resulting discomfort with appropriate medications. Complications such as osteomyelitis, swelling, and bruising vary in severity. For example, 10–34% of TPLO surgeries have complications, and 2–4% of those problems may need a second surgery to fix them.

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


With TPLO surgery, the cranial cruciate ligament in your dog’s knee is fixed and the knee is rebuilt. It’s crucial to consider the TPLO procedure to prevent arthritis and enhance dogs’ mobility. TPLO surgery is more costly compared to other orthopedic surgeries. Depending on your dog and locality, TPLO costs between $3,500 and $5,000.


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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