Dog Knee Surgery Costs – Cost of Repairing a Torn Dog Knee Ligament

As a pet owner, one of the worst things that you could ever imagine happening is having your dog become injured to the point where it is painful for him/her to walk. When our dog tore her CCL (comparable to an ACL in humans) she couldn’t put any pressure at all on her leg. It was terrible to see, especially considering the fact that she was always such an active dog prior to her injury. The good news is that with dog knee injuries, there are many surgical repair options, just as knee injuries in humans, there are many repair and rehabilitation options.

When it comes to the cost of surgery, that is really going to depend on 5 major factors:

  1. First and foremost, the type of surgery that you choose will be the biggest factor in determining cost. Here are some common types: TPLO, TTA, and Lateral Fabellar Technique
  2. The veterinarian performing the surgery can substantially increase/decrease the cost. Believe it or not, just like human doctors, veterinarians also “specialize”, so if you go to a vet who only does dog knee surgery and knee repairs for dogs, chances are the price will be higher than if you go to your typical veterinarian.
  3. Unfortunate, but true, I’ve come to learn that your location will greatly affect cost. I live in southern California, and we paid almost twice as someone in Texas who contacted us about having the same surgery performed on their dog.
  4. The type of dog that you have. This effects the cost primarily due to the type of surgeries that are available, as larger breeds typically have less options available, through some veterinarians will perform any of the 3 techniques mentioned above regardless of the breed of the dog.
  5. The final cost, that can be partially controlled by the owner is the follow-up visits, medication expenses, food expenses, care, rehab, etc.

My Dog Can FlySo I’ve given you the factors, What is the Cost??? The thing is, there really isn’t a set cost for the dog knee surgery, or knee repair. To give you a range, I’d say that you could expect anywhere from $1,000 all the way up to $5,000. $1,000 would probably be the very low end of the spectrum and $5,000 would be the very high end. I’d like to say that the average dog knee (CCL) surgery would cost you around $1,500, but depending on the factors above, it really can fall anywhere in that range. Ours was about $2,500, then after all the follow-up office visits and medications were factored in, our final cost was probably closer to $3,500.

If you and your dog are unlucky and this happens to you, I’d recommend shopping around before heading in for surgery. Obviously, the first choice would be your primary care veterinarian, but don’t be afraid to ask them if they have any recommendations (even if they are capable of performing the surgery).

As always, I hope this information is helpful, and I always love to hear comments, so don’t be afraid to drop a line below.

Image by jstar.

Comments

  1. Mary says

    Pretty nice post. I just came across your site and wanted to say
    that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your posts. In any case
    I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!

    • Lisa says

      My dog was diagnosed today. Price to fix is $600. My vet in Florida is $400.00. Driving 12 hrs to save. make sure you shop….

      • Steve says

        Where in Florida and is that for TPLO? We need same and would like to check your surgeon out to save as well.

  2. joanna says

    I have a English bulldog. He just got his diagnosis of a torn knee ligament. Which vet. did you go to. I live in ca.
    thank you
    joanna

    • says

      Hi Joanna –

      We made an hour drive to go to a vet in Simi Valley, CA. I can’t remember the name of the vet off-hand, but they had a surgeon who flies in once or twice per month strictly to perform CCL surgeries. We felt very comfortable after meeting and talking with this vet, so we didn’t even take our dog anywhere else. That and the fact that they had someone cancel a surgery, we ended up getting her right in.

      I hope this helps, let me know if you’re in the Simi Valley area and I can dig up the vets information for you.

      Take care, and best of luck!

      • s miller says

        HI .. I’d be interested in talking to the vet you used in simi valley. :)

        we have just been quoted $5K + … shock.
        Thanks for any reply.

      • says

        Hi S Miller –

        Sorry I’m just getting back to you on this! We used the American Vet Hospital of Simi Valley. It’s on Tapo Street. The doctor who did the surgery used to come into town every other week to perform surgeries at this location, not sure if he still does that as this was 5 or so years ago now.

  3. Christine says

    Our bullie had the surgery about 3 1/2 weeks ago.. Sutures are out and he’s feeling better.. during the days, we keep him confined in the kitchen and away from our other bullie so he can rest. Today I left them for about 2 minutes and when I turned around, both of them had jumped on the couch. Can this cause more damage? He seems fine and didn’t yelp.

  4. says

    The vets name was not Gary Brown. His name is Dennis Crowe. I thought I had his business card, but I cannot find it. He was not based in California, he just flies in once a month to perform surgeries.

    I hope this helps.

  5. says

    Hi Christine –

    We had a couple scares just like this. It’s tough trying to keep an active dog inactive, and they always find a way to get into something or do something that they’re not supposed to. In our case, our dog took off after a cat while out front going to the bathroom. We were terrified that she would have reinjured it, but everything turned out fine. In any case, I’d recommend that you take your dog in to have the vet take a look at the leg if your dog shows any sings of discomfort (more then previously).

    Best of luck in the recovery!

  6. Stephen Stroud says

    Kenneth
    I was curious which procedure you chose for your dog and how your dog is progressing since the surgery? Lastly, what type of dog do you have?

    My dog, 7 yr old Golden, was just diagnosed with a torn CCL and our vet recommended the filament on the outside of the joint to secure it with an estimated cost of $ 2,000. I am just trying to get a cost comparison and idea of the successfulness of the procedure. I live in Chicago, so I would think that prices would be simiar to CA.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Stephen

  7. says

    Hi Stephen –

    We chose the traditional surgery, actually, when we elected to get the surgery, we didn’t even know that there were other options available. I believe the “filament” that you mentioned would be the same as that used in the traditional repair.

    We have a pit bull. She was about 60 lbs. at the time of the injury (which was way overweight for her build)… she was a fat & happy dog. She now ranges between 42-45 lbs and gets around great. She is happy and runs around when we let her off the leash at the park.

    $2,000 is not bad for the traditional surgery… especially in/around large cities!

    Best of luck to you and your dog!

    PS – I absolutely love Chicago! Great city!!!

  8. Allan says

    I really enjoy browsing the site because the information is quite helpful.

    My little puppy had similar problem as mentioned in the article in the website.

    I hope somebody can help me solve the problem with my dog,
    It happens when the day I got home after work, she started to walk with three legs and problem with her back left leg with the knee in flexion. I thought she hurts her knee somehow while she is jumping around at home, then I took her to the vet for advise, the vet is unsure about the problem cause by the pain or the ligament torn, so that she gave us some pain killer for the dog and recommend us to return after a week, but after three days, the problem remain and sometimes feels a bit worst.

    Is there any comment according to my pet situation, please help…

  9. says

    HI Allan –

    I think rest would be the best option for your dog. Try keeping it confined for a week or two, then return to the vet to see if there are any improvements or suggestions.

  10. allan says

    Dear Kenneth,

    Thank you for your advice, she put her on pain killer and the problem still remain and then we went back after a week. The vet said that the problem is causing by the dislocated stifle (Knee), she said the dog require a surgery to stablize her patella, I wonder is that the only solution to the problem in a long run, would that cause any left behind problem after the surgery or it is a quite common surgery for little dog.

    Please give me some advice again, my wife and I struggling on attending the surgery or not?

    Many thanx and appreicated,

    Allan

  11. says

    Hi Allan –

    To the best of my knowledge, this is a more common problem in larger breed dogs, however, smaller breeds have also been know to tear/rupture their CCLs.

    After our dog having surgery on her torn ligament (almost 3 years ago) I am an advocate of surgery, however, every case is different and that is something that you and your veterinarian should discuss.

    I hope this info helps, thanks for visiting our site.

  12. Dave says

    Allan,
    Our miniature poodle just had it’s 2nd knee operated on a year after the first (he’s 2-1/2 now). Apparently the knee cap problem (patella luxation) is common in smaller dogs.

    Our surgery was ~$2600 each time. This consisted of:
    – deepening the groove the patella rides on
    – detaching the tendon that retains the patella and attach it lower and pinning it in place.

    If this isn’t done, supposedly you can have big arthritis problems later on in the dog’s life. Another vet said that dogs are basically 3 legged animals, with an extra leg – as in it’s up to us to decide to do it or not. For larger dogs it’s done no question about it. For smaller dogs, it can go either way.

    That said, with this 2nd surgery, we’re into week 5 post surgery and somehow our dog has injured himself and is walking on 3 legs again. Hope it’s temporary – we’re going broke.

  13. AL says

    I HAVE AN 8YR OLD GOLDEN WHO IS SCHEDULED FOR SURGERY TOMORROW, AND
    I TELL YOU I AM THE ONE WHO FEELS LIKE HE’S HAVING SURGERY. I AM
    REALLY STRESSED ABOUT THE SURGERY. ARE THERE GOING TO BE PROBLEMS,
    WILL THE RECOVERY GO WELL, WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO.
    I JUST HOPE “WE” CAN GET THROUGH THIS WITHOUT “ME” HAVING TO
    SUFFER. MY DOG, GOLDIE, MEANS THE WORLD TO ME, AND HAVING TO GO
    THROUGH SOMETHING LIKE THIS IS JUST UNREAL. OH, DID I MENTION
    SHE’S SPOILED “BEYOND” ROTTEN? EVERYTHING WILL WORK OUT,
    I’M SURE, BUT I’M JUST A LITTLE APPREHENSIVE. I KNOW SHE
    HAS TO HAVE THE SURGERY, SO I’LL GET OVER IT AND EVERYTHING WILL
    BE FINE. CIAO!! THINK OF US.

  14. tracy says

    Hello,
    my golden has a torn CCL and I live in the Chicago area. Wondering if anyone could recommend a good surgeon that can work out a payment plan? I have consulted a few and simply cannot afford it at this time. I do know about the care credit,but doubt that i will be approved for a credit card. How long can I wait to have the surgery? Any info on the topic will be extremely appreciated. Thank you

  15. Karen says

    Hi:

    I have an 11 year old, 15lb Yorkie. Last year he was diagnosed with a luxating patella, stage 3 in his left knee and a stage 2 in his right knee. The vet recommended surgery for the left knee, but when he went under anesthesia and they took x-rays, they decided it was less severe that they thought (more like a stage 2-3) and they decided to not continue with the surgery.

    So last week he injured his leg running across the yard. He didn’t seem to be in any pain (and he never was with the LP either), but he wasn’t really putting weight on it. We took him in today and the x-rays showed that he had a torn CCL in his left knee. He is scheduled for surgery Thursday to repair that as well as the LP. I am wondering if because of his age, and the almost impossible task of keeping him from running and jumping for 60 days, is there any benefit to waiting, or what are the possible outcomes of opting out of surgery?

  16. CC says

    We had a bad experience with the filament in our 65pd 1 yr old. 1st off being a puppy he ate his stiches and ruined the 1st filament. 2nd filament did not take and his knee cap popped out. We finally have done the 3rd surgery which is to use a piece of his tibia bone. He is still recovering so its hard to say, but I highly recommend the more agreesive surgery taking a piece of the bone. Explore ALL Options.

  17. Karen says

    Thanks for the info. I came across many dog owners that complained about the re-injury of the same leg, or the other leg within months of the first surgery. I’m sorry, I hope your next course of treatment is the answer.

    We decided to get a second opinion and we opted to not have surgery and to try a leg brace. The brace was expensive and was hard to get on our dog. He didn’t move at all for the afternoon, so we removed it and decided to try it the next day. At this point a few weeks had gone by since the initial injury and he was bearing weight on it and was totally back to normal, running around, chasing our other dog. Through research I did find out that there are alternatives, and eventually scar tissue forms anyway, which stablizes the leg and is the end result of surgery anyway. If he was in pain at all, we would have proceeded with surgery no questions asked, but besides not putting weight on it, he was completely normal and happy.

  18. Jessie says

    My daughter has a pitbull/hounddog mix puppy which she recused from being starved to death or fought. She named her Grace and she is 10 mos old. She was in the back yard the other day with our older dog and came back limping. Her petella has popped out of joint and is not going back in. We are scheduled for xrays tomorrow and I am afraid the out come is going to be surgery. I have 4th stage cancer and am scheduled for surgery at the end of this month. I may not have much longer to live and the thought of my daughter having to loose her puppy is killing me. We do not have the funds for surgery if it is necessary and the thought of her loosing two things in her life that she depends on is stressful. We have never had to face surgery that is so extensive with a dog before. My daugthers concern is what will the quality of life be for her puppy when she gets older. We have been trying to find ways to pay for surgery if needed and have come to a dead end. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

  19. Kelly Bonner says

    We live in Ontario with two beautiful Australian Shepherds,the 9 year old female is going for her second lateral suture on her other knee. After a lengthy consult with Dr.j.Muise he went over every aspect of pros and cons and this man was not out to make money for himself or the pet hospital he genuinely cares about the well being of animals.We decided on the lateral suture because after being informed about the possible downfalls of tplo and tta the answer was easy for us. Dharma is a great dog and our vet was the most down to earth and very knowledeable we cant thank him enough.He was a proffessor at the U of Michigan,but gave that up to get away from the paper pushing nightmare it became. I recommend any pet lover with a similar situation to make the trip to Peterborough Ontario Canada to have your dogs best interest taken care of.

    • says

      Hi Kelly –

      I was just reading through past comments because I’ve had a few users contact me about having surgery performed on both knees. I wanted to see if you’d be willing to submit your story about your Australian Shepherd for our readers to see. I get a lot of questions about whether or not to have both knees repaired.

      Hope you and your dogs are doing well.

  20. Alyssa Green says

    Hello,

    I was recently told by a vet that my Bichon Frise’s knee “moves out of the socket more then it should”. Im not sure what that entails. Do you think I should get a second opinion? She does limp more then normal, but I have her on joint supplements. If they dont work how much would you think her surgery would cost? Just a estimate would be fine.

    She is 11 pounds and 2 years old. She has only had one previous surgery and that was when she got spayed. I live in Jacksonville, Florida.

  21. Carla in Alabama says

    My 11 yr old Cocker had PTLO surgery in April on her left knee in Birmingham. Sticthes out in Arizona and then in July had the right knee done in Washington (I work in National Parks in the summer). She did very well with the left knee but the right knee was done with the filament method and doesn’t seem to be holding up as well. Of course keeping her off the couch is a feat. Jumping up is not bad it is the jumping off that could cause a re-injury. Cost to date is $4000.00. I am looking at finding a brace to help support the right knee. Any suggestions?

    • says

      Hi Carla –

      I can’t think of anything off-hand, I have heard of dog knee braces from time to time. I actually think someone posted a comment in our site about it some time back, but I couldn’t find it… you may want to try browsing/searching through our site – pay attention to some of the comments, and maybe look at some of the links. Sorry, wish I was more help!

  22. Carla in Alabama says

    Did find a site that looks good. Muttknee.com cost seems the most reasonable of other sites I found–around 169.00 and the casting kit is free.

    • Marci in Washington says

      Carla,

      I have been researching braces for my nearly 9-year-old Lab. I noticed you looked at the Muttknee product once and later on mentioned the Ace Ortho. Did you conclude that Ace was better over the Muttknee. If so what were your reasons?

      Thanks
      Marci

      • Carla says

        Haven’t really tried either one but just looked at their web site. Check both out and see what you think. Best I remember, the Muttknee did seem easy to cast and less epensive that some of the others. Good luck.

  23. Mary says

    My 12-1/2 year old german shepherd might need knee surgery. He is on pain medication, but still is limping. Due to his age, is surgery the best option? He thinks he is still a puppy and bounces around, even in pain…

  24. Gabriel says

    This is a great post. Thank you. We live in Philadelphia. Our 8yr 60 yellow lab just broke his CCL. We visited two vets. They recommend TPLO and quoted a total cost of about $6000, after our vet told us that the typical cost is $2500. We told him and he was outraged. The estimate seems high based on all the other stories that are in this post. Can anyone recommend good veterinaries in Delaware, NJ, or PA that are more reasonably priced?

    • Carla says

      I paid 2200.00 (Birmingham, AL)for one surgery on my Cocker but only 1500.00(Yelm, WA) for the other. Some smaller breeds can have to older version without the pins but it is laced together with. It all depends on the Vet but most say the larger breeds need the screws inserted to hold it in place.

    • Lisa says

      My dog 1 1/2 year old got loose last week and returned with a limp. Vet said he thinks she was hit by a car. He did xrays and determined nothing is broken. He said she probably tore a ligament and, if so, orthopedic surgery is recommended. He told me to wait and see if she started walking on it. It has been a week and she hasn’t. She doesn’t seem to be in pain and acts like her normal self, other than the fact that she is walking on three legs. I live in delaware county and was wondering if you ever found someone to do the surgery on your lab. I don’t want Lucy walking on three legs for the rest of her life, but I don’t want to have to take a second mortgage out for her surgery either. hope your dog is feeling better.

  25. Cynthia says

    I have a 4 year Border Collie Assistant Dog (cancer support/seizure alert)- the vet said she tore her CCL and needs surgery at an estimate of 4-5K! The xrays showed inflammation to her left knee, the right and hips were fine and negative drawer on both. She limps, with good and bad days (when she’ll walk almost normally), and was given Carofen which I’m not seeing any result from. I live in San Diego, am on a limited income and absolutely can’t afford this type of surgery (if it’s even needed) PLEASE, if you have a clinic to recommend, or if you know of any who provide service dogs courtesy discounts, we are in desperate need. She wants to work so bad and can’t. We are considering the Ace Ortho stifle brace, but will that work? The company is very reasonable, is offering a service dog discount and a payment plan (which most vets won’t even consider). Can anyone help? Thanks!

    • Carla says

      I spent about 4000.00 last year on my Cocker for the left and right knee. Two different surgeries, two different states and two different methods of repairing. I looked at Ace Ortho as a support when she seemed to be limping but that comes & goes. The brace seems to be a good product and not that much investment to see if it helps the dog. Worth a try if you can’t afford the surgery. Check out the different type of repairs. The pins are more expensive than sewing the other.

    • Gabriel says

      Here is an interesting post. It claims that surgery is not always necessary and is never urgent. You can wait for 8 weeks to see if the dog has a chance of recovering w/o surgery.

      http://home.earthlink.net/~tiggerpoz/index.html

      We have consulted with four different vets. All say surgery is needed. One wanted to do more analysis before deciding between TPLO and ligament replacement. The two others wanted to do TPLO straight away. The last thought that TPLO is better that traditional but he does neither so he referred us to the others.

      After we read the above post we’ve decided to hold for 8 weeks and see what happens.

      Any reactions? Anybody on the downside of waiting? On the urgency of surgery?

  26. Haupia says

    Our 10 year old Goldie just had her knee surgery the other day and we brought her home today. Almost $4000 to have it done. We just wanted to minimize as much pain as possible – she was limping so badly at times. We face six weeks of her being confined to a small area so her movements are limited. She’s already restless and wants to play but we want her to heal first.

  27. Karen says

    My 4-year-old golden was just diagnosed with two torn CCLs. Ortho specialist says surgery is necessary. Estimate is $4500 for TPLO and $3600 for traditional, but vet says we can do both at the same time with traditional, for about $5600. We already have about $1000 invested in just getting to this point. I have been all over the internet since getting this diagnosis and reeling from the cost. This seems a lot higher than what most people are quoting. And I am torn on the conservative management/brace approach too. Stories pro and con on that and on surgery. I am in the Philadelphia area (northwest suburbs). Anyone have any good experiences here? Is this cost typical for this area, or can I do better?

  28. Lisa says

    My dog had a torn CCL. I opted for the TPLO surgery because she is young (1 1/2) and active and i was afraid that she would ruin the tightrope or suture methods because is it hard to keep her calm at times. I called University of Pennsylvania first (they gave me a price estimate of $1500-$3500), but they could not give me an appointment for a month (they said spring was a busy tiume for orthopedics). My dog was completely lame on her one back leg and I wanted to get the surgery done asap so she would be fully recovered by summer. I took her to the veterinary specialty center in Newark Delaware instead. Dr. said her ligament was completely torn and her meniscus was also torn. Final cost was $3000 ($500 less than their estimate). The surgery was 2 1/2 weeks ago and she is doing very well. She is using the bad leg most of the time. She is able to go on short (5-10) minutes walks and is acting like her old self again.

  29. Danielle says

    My 3 year old boxer/shephard mix was just diagnosed with a cruciate tear. Since he was a puppy they told me his limp was from hip dysplasia and worn cartilage on the knee joint. I feel like since it took them so long to tell me what was wrong, that surgery will be even harder on him now, because the carilage will be completely worn away. Any suggestions on which surgery would be better??
    Thanks, Danielle

  30. Cynthia says

    We are 15 weeks out of my 4 year old Border Collies’ knee surgery- she had completely torn both her cruciate ligament and meniscus. We opted for the suture repair (the old fashioned, non hardware) since she is considered a smaller, younger dog. It cost us 1800 (in San Diego), and I am happy to say that, so far, she looks great! No limping or favoring on the affected leg. HOWEVER, we did have a couple of days limping on the good leg when she was released to the field for the first time two weeks ago, and get an occasional “snapping” sound (like my knees). I’m pleased to say, all limping has stopped and she seems to be ok now, but we are being very careful. We treadmill her 20-25 minutes twice a day or substitute one of her sessions with a 40 minute park walk on slight inclines. She has free run of the house and small courtyard with a couple of steps, and the couch/bed (of course), where she frequently plays tag with the kitten (we got the baby for her during recovery to give her a job and keep her from getting depressed)and her sister (a 2 year old border). We were very careful to keep her as quiet as possible (hah, Border Collie? quiet?) during the ten weeks recovery. We also give her glucosamine/chontroitin and salmon oil, watch her weight and ice/massage the leg as needed. We also have to accept the arthritis will develop- even post-surgery- just because of the trauma, so we do what we must to prevent further damamge and keept those joints well lubricated and strong. She is a service dog; that is the least we can do for all she’s done for us. Beware, though- they like their massages and Princess will “fake” the “Frankenleg” to get one now! What’s worse is her sister has learned the same trick. How do I know they are faking? No left lifting when mommy isn’t watching them! Stinkers. One can’t have an ego if they own a Border Collie, sigh.

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