Cost of TTA Surgery for Cranial Cruciate Ligament – Cost of Knee Surgery for Dogs

If your dog has suffered a torn or ruptured cranial cruciate ligament injury, you may be starting to look for surgical options and you’re probably also starting to wonder about the cost. Most knee surgeries in dogs can cost as low as $800 all the way up to $3,000+.

The cost to repair the CCL in a dog (equivalent of an ACL in humans), will fluctuate based on the state that you live in, the experience of the surgeon, the weight of the dog, the invasiveness & complication level of the surgery, etc.

Through my experience, and from talking to a few of my friends whose dogs had cranial cruciate ligament repair surgeries, I believe that you should expect to spend somewhere in the range of $1,500. You may end up paying a little more or less depending on the above criteria, but go in expecting somewhere around $1,500.

Don’t forget about the “hidden” costs of a cranial cruciate ligament repair surgery.


  1. tracee devoe says

    what surgery is the best for a total torn cruciate ligament in a playful 5 yr old golden retriever weighing 88 lbs? cost doesnt matter

  2. says

    I’ve heard many people say that TPLO is the best for dogs weighing over 75lbs, but it’s always best to get the opinion of your veterinarian (or multiple opinions) as each case is different and should be treated as such. It’s impossible to tell which option will be the best until your specific case has been diagnosed by a professional.

  3. Rosanne says

    My 11-yr old Bichon had knee surgery on her left knee 2 yrs. ago and now has a CCL injury from just losing her footing as we walked on rocks (few lawns in the desert). Vet suggests conservative rest, anti-inflammatory meds, etc. for 4 wks then will evaluate. My question is really a concern about another operation on the same knee and the added risk of anesthesia at her age. Just took her in for dental work – they had to remove 15 teeth – very traumatic. I ordered a special harness from Handicapped Pets site – supports her back legs with a leash attached so I can take her for potty breaks. This is all very discouraging, not to mention the vet costs! Any words of encouragement from those who opted not to have surgery? Can these ligaments heal themselves?

  4. says

    Hi Rosanne –

    That’s terrible, sorry to hear about your dog. Your vets suggestion of conservative treatment for 4 weeks sounds like what doctors do for people who suffer a torn ACL. They usually like to give it a few weeks for swelling to go down and for flexibility and mobility to return. It may get to the point to where your dog could use the leg (though probably not very actively), but that’s only something your vet would be able to tell.

    Best of luck!

  5. Keri says

    My 85lb lab had TPLO surgery 2 years ago. She did excellent. Now her other knee needs surgery. I talked to a vet and he is mentioning TTA is just as good and can be done on dogs up to 120lb’s. It is half the cost. I am still researching the TTA. I just want something that will last.

  6. says

    Hi Keri –

    Thanks for the question, I’m hoping that someone who is familiar with TPLO/TTA will answer as we had the traditional repair done on our dog.

    Either way, best of luck, and I hope you’ll return to this site and share your story with us.


  7. Dr Sam says

    TPLO and TTA are generally regarded as surgeries that are superior to extracapsular techniques that have been the standard for years. This is especially so for larger dogs (>50lbs) The difference is small but statistically significant. Both TTA and TPLO are generally considered to have equal results and individual success rates are mostly equivalent to the experience of the surgeon. That is to say better results are achieved with the surgery that the surgeon is most comfortable doing. There are some very specific reasons why a surgeon may choose one surgery over the other but that is probably too complex for this forum. While TTA is a bit less expensive than TPLO, they are both very expensive and the price differential is in my opinion too small to base your decision on, especially at these pricing levels. What is another 5-6 hundred anyway when you are spending so much. :-)
    Do what your surgeon recommends if you trust him/her.

  8. says

    Thanks for your input Dr. Sam. Out of curiosity, are you a valetudinarian? Either way, I appreciate your note, and I hope that it helps others.

    Thanks again!

  9. jeff miller says

    the vet thinks my dog (60#)has a cranial cruciate ligament rupture. he limps, but is weight bareing on the foot. and he flys around the backyard when the mailman goes by or another dog. I mean flys, then he’ll lay and rest and limp. but still weight bares. do u think he’s in pain? should I go on with the visits to the vet and the bills, or just wait and see? please help, I just bare the thought of him in pain. thanks, jeff

  10. says

    Hi Jeff –

    If he limps, there is definitely something going on in there. You may want to try some sort of conservative management for a week or two to see if anything gets better, this will have to include restricting activity, especially not allowing him to run around when the mailman goes by. Crating the dog for a week or two would be best, and strictly limiting movement and activity when out for bathroom breaks, etc.

    I hope this information helps. Please let us know what happens with your dog.

  11. Shameka says

    My 3.5 lb chihuahua just had her yearly exam and the vet told me both of her knees were dislocated and he even showed me how they pop back and forth out of socket. But i don’t know if the ligaments are torn yet. She is getting ready to have some extensive dental work done and a hernia repaired and I’m wondering if this ligament problem should be fixed as well while she’s under anesteshia. She’s 5 years old and I don’t want her to be in too much pain at one time. Any advice?

  12. says

    Wow Shameka –

    That’s a lot of different problems. I wouldn’t even know where to start, I’d consult your vet and see what he/she recommends as far as repairing the knees (if they even need repair).

    Best of luck to you & your dog.

  13. Jolynn Piper says

    Hi Shameka,
    It sounds like your dog has luxated patella of both knees. That is
    where the kneecap will pop in & out of the groove of the knee joint.
    My Beagle had this on her right leg and there was no torn ligaments.
    She had surgery to repair it which required deepening the groove
    of the knee joint and placing a pin to secure it. The surgery was
    very successful and she has not had a problem since then. I know that
    our dog was in pain when the knee joint was out of place. If I was
    you I’d talk to your Vet about the luxating patella’s and see if
    he recommends surgery for it. It sounds like it is needed, otherwise
    she will develop other problems such as arthritis and possibly the
    ruptured ligaments in the future. I hope your pup is doing well and
    will be in the future.

  14. Jim says

    I was wondering if you know of a University in the DC area that might do TPLO surgery as a training for the students. A friend who had a Rotts hip replaced years ago through a school and all was fine. Also a little cheaper.

    Thanks for the web site. I have found it very informative.

  15. says

    Hi Jim –

    As of right now, I don’t have a listing of any Universities (or surgeons for that matter) that do TPLO, TTA or Tightrope surgery. This is an area that I definitely want to add to the site, so if you have any resources that you could recommend, I’d love to be able to offer that information as well.

    Glad you found this site and found it informative. Thanks for your comments.

  16. JULIE STERMAN says

    my lab mix dog wweighed 65 lbs at age 8 and tore her ccl while chasing a fox…
    being a new york state licensed vet tech in my first career
    i decided to call up my friend, dr lou budick.
    i drove up to buffalo and we did the old fashioned “figure 8″ to
    promote capsulitis of the knee joint.
    i am a mri tech for humans at an orthopedic office in philly now; it has been 5 years and she is doing great. she’s 13 so she is slow now and the only disadvantage is that her knee tuns laterally a bit while walking.
    stick with a vet that performs many orthopedic procedures and everything will be ok…remember once a body part is damaged or injured it will never be 100%..and don’t trust anyone who tells you differently..good luck

  17. says

    Hi Julie, thanks for the comments. We notice the same thing with our dog, the lateral turn out of the knee, but it doesn’t stop her from running and playing. She gets around great and we couldn’t be happier!

    Thanks again!

  18. Barry says

    My mixed breed, was recently diagnosed with both knees having cruciate ligaments completly torn. The vet says its been too long to have surgery. but we only just started noticing her limp on her left,off and on; about three months ago and for awhile she was better.
    She wieghs 65lbs. the vet says to loose 3 lbs and pain meds are her only option. We feel so bad that we did not take her to the vet earlier but thought it was just a muscle strain. Is it really to late for a repair?

  19. Richard Burrows says

    My Pomeranian had knee surgery 3 weeks (and one day) ago and seemed to be recovering well enough: after a week walking pretty well using all four, continuing to use only 3 when walking or trotting faster (with an occasional touchdown of the repaired hind leg). He gets and enjoys a daily walk around a two-block circle. I have done a bit of so-called “figure eight training” but it just seemed to confuse my dog. Now, however, I’m wondering whether to just wait a bit longer or get in more “figure 8″ stuff. Problem: Cisco weighs around 12 lbs and I don’t know exactly how to do the “figure 8″ — tight circles? – – loose and increasing tight? Any suggestions?
    Thanks, Richard

    • says

      Hi Richard –

      I can’t believe you’re already walking the dog around. We had our dog restricted with no activity with close to 3 months. Only time it was out was to use the bathroom and that was on a very tight leash. It could be because your dog is a small breed. I personally have never heard of the figure 8, but it does make sense from a conditioning/strengthening standpoint. I’d just consult your vet on anything/everything that you’re doing prior to doing it if it wasn’t something that was directly recommended by your vet.

  20. Stacye Johnson says

    We just rescued a chihuahua that was in a very abusive home. She limped occasionally but never acted like she was in pain so we weren’t too worried about it. She is totally in love & obsessed with me & follows me everywhere. This weekend she went to jump on the couch to sit by me & in mid jump just fell backwards screaming & crying horribly. She acted paralyzed in her backend for a while. She started walking after a few minutes but you could tell it was painful & she was limping on her other leg now. I took her to the vet the next morning & he took x-rays which showed she has luxated patella of both knees & she tore a ligament when she jumped on the couch. She needs surgery to walk again without pain. We are going in for surgery in two days & trying desperately to collect the almost $1000 fee. Something you don’t have lying around for unexpected dog surgery, especially these days. So, we’re only doing the knee with the torn ligament for now. He will put her kneecap where it belongs & repair the ligament. We will worry about the other knee when she & our bank account recovers. He said she will need 6 weeks to recover with no running & jumping. This will be difficult since I have 5 dogs, all rescued from bad places or the street. They love to run, play & jump…as a pack. Don’t know how I’m gonna do this. I’ve been carrying her everywhere but can’t do it 24/7. Just hope all goes well. Worried about my little Metoo. She’s a sweetie who is finally learning to trust & love again.

    • says

      Hi Stacye, sorry to here about your dog. That’s tough, and will be tough to keep her inactive, especially with other dogs around. I’d have to recommend a crate to keep her immobile. Otherwise, if given the space, she will probably try to run & jump. If you do crate her, just try to spend time with her as often as possible because its important for the dog to know that they didn’t do anything wrong.

      Best of luck with the surgery and the recovery. Please let us know how it goes.

  21. Stephen says

    It was my female Cocker’s 8th birthday yesterday .. It has been a tough year admist this recession . I have 2 other Cocker’s . I play with them whenever I get a chance .Throwing the ball with my two females . The male gives up and has no interest . When I throw the ball ,they both run full throttle .. My 8 year old runs faster than the 3 year old .. I didn’t notice any crash ..Though I have seen them flip over before .. Raggety Ann after chasing the ball .. started to limp .. and this is day 2 ..Sheloves to lay with me or lay on the couch ..Now I have to help her up .she walks with a limp and her energy level just bottomed out .. It was an instant change .. She hasn’t whimpered .but I can look in her eyes and know something is wrong . Everything I have read indicates CCL rupture ..and it may take me awhile to raise enough money for surgery .. I haven’t gone to the vet as of yet .. it has only been 12 hours .. Her tail still wags .. If she is in pain .she won’t let me see it .. My Raggety is my angel

  22. Sam says

    As someone with an american bulldog that has had both surgeries done I would say so far if I had to chose I would do the TPLO all the way. My female American bulldog has had the TPLO done on the right leg and the TTA on the left leg. The TTA was half the cost but she is a couple of days post op from the TTA and can not walk on the leg at all. It is horribly swollen and looks like someone smacked her with a bat. When she had the TPLO done she was fully weight bearing 24 hours later and I could hardly notice she even had surgery. So, if I had to choose over again I would say spend a couple extra bucks and go with the TPLO, especially with a large breed dog. Now, in 12 weeks I could change my mind but based on what I saw now, I wish I would have just gone with the TPLO again.

  23. Lawyerchik1 says

    My vet recommended the TPLO over the one with the suture technique (extracapsular?). My dog is an American cocker spaniel, 7 years old, weight is 27.1 pounds, and he’s pretty active. I think he did this coming down after jumping up the trees to get after the squirrels. Over time, the landings had to have done some damage….

    Anyway, the vet I talked with is board certified (diplomate), and according to his techs, he’s been doing this for about 15 years. However, he did not take any x-rays – he said that cockers have a steeper slope to their tibias, and so he would recommend the TPLO over anything else.

    He knows about the tightrope surgery, but he told me that he does not do them, and he wouldn’t recommend them because the material used is braided or twisted, and there is an increased risk of infection because there is more material for germs to “latch onto.” Plus, he was dismissive of the “ch-ching” for Dr. Cook (the inventor), which I thought was a little petty.

    In any event, the cost in Michigan at this clinic (board-certified surgeon) is $2500-3000 for the suture surgery, and $3000-3600 for the TPLO. I had to do my own research on the potential risks/complications for both procedures, as my vet did not tell me what they were for TPLOs. I asked him what they were, and he just mentioned the potential for infection that accompanies any surgical procedure.

    My dog was put on Rimadyl for pain management for now, plus glucosamine, and I’m just wondering if the recommendation for the TPLO is warranted in light of his size (27.1 pounds) and the potential for bone infection/break-down, etc. (The Rimadyl helps with the pain, although he thinks that he can jump up on things the way he used to, and he can’t.)

  24. Christina says

    We have a 2 yr old bullmastiff and she has been in severe pain. After several vet visits, trying pain meds and anti-inflammatory meds, no improvement. Did X-rays and found out she has ruptured the cranial crucaite(?) ligaments in both hind legs and her elbows on BOTH front legs have some type of disorder. Vet suggested surgery on all four legs (both knees and the elbows.) I had a hard time understanding the specifics of what he was talking about but heard loud and clear that it sould be a very long recovery and the success rate since it is so severe is slim. The cost for the surgeries exceeds $10K… which I can’t afford.

    Any suggestions on how to keep her comfortable as long as possible? She is our baby.

  25. says

    Hi Christina –

    So sorry to hear about your dog. I can’t even imagine what you, your family and your pet are going through. I have had questions from some readers about having both hind legs repaired at the same time, but I haven’t really been able to get much feedback from our users on this situation, so I’m sure there will be even less feedback when it comes to having all 4 legs repaired at once.

    In terms of keeping her comfortable, all I can recommend is limiting movement and at the same time, just try keeping her close to the family wherever she may be penned/crated.

    I’ll see if I can come up with anything for you, and in the meantime, best of luck and stay strong.

  26. Stacye Johnson says

    Well it has been a long recovery but our chihuahua Metoo is doing well. Our big worry was keeping her as immobile as possible FOR 2 MONTHS! She is more spoiled than ever now because I never let her walk anywhere. If I had to drive anywhere, she was on a pillow on my lap. Now she thinks she is supposed to go everywhere I go. I tried crating her but she would try to dig out & I was terrified she would pull her pins out, so she became “pinned” to me. I even bought one of those little over shoulder, backpack type carriers usually meant for babies. With a surgery this costly you really gotta make sure they heal properly. There’s no way we could afford a re-fix so soon. It’s been a few months & just this week she jumped on the bed by herself for the 1st time since her injury. After surgery she stared at me & whined knowing I would reach down & scoop her up. This surgery has been a miracle for her. Her leg looks straight now. Her other back leg however curves out like the bad one so it will most likely tear & need repair in the future. She has gotten a little fatter not being allowed to run so we gotta get on a exercise regime soon. Thanks for all advice.
    Christina, my heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine how you must feel. They truly do become family & it’s agony when you can’t help them. Do you have a good relationship with your vet? He wouldn’t do on payment plan if you decided to do it? I know it’s rough either way you go, I’m so sorry. Please keep us informed on your mastiff. Good luck.

    • Mary Sostaric says

      Hi Stacye,

      How is Metoo doing now, 8 months after surgery? Do you still have to restrict her activity around the other dogs? Your comments were encouraging as my 6 pound, 3 year old chi (named Peanut)has a similar problem. One rear leg has a torn ligament and the knee cap will not go back into place. The other rear leg has serious patella issues and is looking worse than before now that the “good” leg is having to bear the extra weight when she holds the bad one up. The surgeon we were referred to is recommending TPLO and the cost is $3500. What type of surgery did you have? I’m guessing it was not TPLO since you paid $1,000. Also, have you made plans yet to have the other knee cap repaired? My Peanut will surely have to have the other leg done too.

  27. Jennifer says


    My parent’s 6 year old cocker had the $3000 extracapsular surgery. He is doing great but it was expensive and required extensive therapy. Now, my cocker just did the same thing Saturday and he is scheduled to get the TPLO surgery in the morning. This one costs $850 for me and is less extensive but not “half ass”ing it if you know what I mean. My cocker is also on Rimadyl for right now and ‘acts’ like he feels better, although you can still see him limp and the look in his eyes makes you want to melt. He is 6 years old and about 35 lbs. I will let you all know how it goes!

  28. Diane Green says

    Our Beagle just had surgery on both knees last weekend. They opted to put a plate in one knee and repair the other knee that would withstand an 80 pound dog, which ours is 32 pounds. Our Vet said she is doing very very well. She has been keeping her at her house for recovery. My husband was so excited to see her, so he went up there this morning and our Beagle snubbed him. My husband was so upset. He was expecting her to be soooo excited to see him, but it was just the opposite. Is this normal? I guess dogs could get depressed, right? They are suppose to keep her for at least another week or so. Just hope comes out of this slump she is in.

  29. Danielle says

    Hi there,

    In Dec of ’09 my 2 year old 75lb pitbull had the Extracapsular Imbrication Technique repair done on his RH knee. Now it is a year and a half later and he had started to limp severly again without any specific instance of reinjuring it. We did all the physical therapy after his first surgery and stuck VERY strictly to the exercise restrictions and things were going well for a bit and then he started to deteriorate again, bearing less weight on it and was even tripod skipping around again which wasn’t helping his masculinity any….so I took him to see the surgeon and she diagnosed Rimadyl which I realy don’t like using because of it’s effect on the liver and 4 weeks rest. Of course while on Rimadyl he was slightly more comfortable but the second he was off the meds he held it up again. At that point I went to get a 2nd opinion and this new surgeon states that the surgery he had is much more successful in dogs under 40lbs OR older and less active dogs. Instead my VERY active now 3 year old pitbull has just undergone the TTA surgery on the same knee (I wanted to do the TPLO but due to scar tissue, a torn up meniscus & the arthritis he had developed from his knee still having drawl in it from the first surgery we had to do the TTA which I’m told is comparable and at least much more effective than the Extracapsular Repair method on dogs of his age/size). I feel SOOO completely gypped that the orginal surgeon who does not perform either the TPLO or TTA wouldn’t have at least given me the information about them or referred me to another Orthopedic surgeon to educate myself fully about it before I paid the original 3K plus $500 for physical therapy at that time. He now has an 7K+ knee and really I could give a crap about the money…it just breaks my heart that he is going through all this again because I didn’t have all the information orginally to make a better choice. Do any of you have any thoughts or have you experienced something similar to this…should I write the original vet office a letter so that at least the next person gets all the info. I understand that there is google out there nowadays and I probably should have educated myself, but I really trusted the first surgeon, and after all isn’t that the reason I paid the $100 exam fee…the get the education? I’ve realized now she just wanted my business. What to do…?


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