How Much Does Dog ACL Repair Surgery Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  September 13, 2018

A common surgery done for many dogs is the dreaded ACL surgery.  These injuries happen more often with dogs than with humans, and the problem with an ACL injury is that most dogs won’t have a history of trauma.

This surgery is generally done when the ACL or the CCL is torn.  While there are many alternatives to help your dog cope with the pain, the cost of the ACL surgery will vary depending on the size of the dog, the surgeon performing the surgery and geographical location.

Indy’s Brace 3 by IndysMom, on Flickr
Indy’s Brace 3” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by IndysMom

Dog ACL repair

The average ACL repair surgery cost for a dog will range anywhere from $1,000 to as much as $5,000.  Since there are so many types of ACL surgeries, it’s hard to pinpoint a specific range.  Refer to our table below to see which each procedure may cost.  The cost will come down to the type of surgery, the vet you’re using, if there are complications and the geographical location.  This price range won’t include aftercare expenses such as a dog knee brace, physical therapy and medications.

For a larger dog, such as a German Shepard, the price tag can easily reach the $3,000 to $5,000 range.

For smaller dogs under 25 pounds, the price will range anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500.

Type of SurgeryPrice Range
Extracapsular Repair$1,000 to $3,500
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)$2,000 to $5,000
Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA)$2,500 to $4,500
Triple Tibial Osteotomy (TTO$3,000 to $5,500

Factors that affect the price:

The type of surgery the dog is going to be having.  There are four common types of surgeries vets currently use.  This can include the conventional method by using a string, the TPLO method that uses a metal plate or the TTA method that is less evasive.

As mentioned above, the size of the dog will affect the price.   Some larger dogs may not even be able to have the procedure done.

The geographical location due to the cost of living.  This is the case with most services around the United States.  A vet office in California will be much more than one in Idaho.

How severe is the injury?  The more severe the injury is, the more the surgery is going to cost.

What are the extra costs?

Prescribing antibiotics

After the surgery is performed, antibiotics will be prescribed in order to allow the dog to cope with pain.  Most vets will include the medications into the overall cost; however, if they don’t, medication will be an additional $20 to $50.

X-rays

Before the surgery begins, a veterinarian will more than likely want to take x-rays to ensure the dog needs to have this specific surgery.  X-rays alone can cost anywhere from $50 to $200.

Doctor visit fees

Even if the dog doesn’t require ACL surgery, a regular doctor’s visit fee may apply.  A doctor’s visit fee ranges from $35 to $150 a session.

Anesthesia

Anesthesia will be required in order to put the dog down.  This price can be anywhere from $300 to $700.

Post-operative care

After the surgery, a dog may require physical therapy.  During these sessions, a physical exam, neurological exam, and gait analysis will be done.  For most pet owners, plan on spending $500 to $1,300 to go through all sessions to see results.

Dog knee brace

A special dog knee brace may be needed and can cost anywhere from $150 to more than $600, depending on the brand.

Dog ACL repair overview

Before the surgery even begins, a vet will be able to tell if your dog has an ACL problem by palpating the knee.  However, to confirm the diagnosis, he or she will perform a CT scan or MRI.

The surgery, as well as a few overnight stays at the clinic, will be included.  The staff will more than likely help your dog cope with the surgery, usually by walking them, letting them go to the bathroom and attending to other duties.

Some vet clinics will include the medications into the overall cost.  While some may write a prescription for you to take to an outside pet pharmacy, most known clinics can dispense their own medicine.

Recovery will vary depending on the procedure and your dog’s condition.  Most dog owners saw significant results within eight to 12 weeks.  By six months, the dog should be back to walking on their own.

The three common dog ACL procedures

Lateral suture technique.

This is the oldest procedure and commonly done by most vets.  During this repair, a synthetic suture in the knee to help restore stability.

TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy).

This surgery will change the conformation of the knee.  During the surgery, the tibia will be cut, moved and reattached in a new position with the help of a steel bone plate.  This will often be performed on older dogs and will be performed by a specialist.

TTA (tibial tuberosity advancement)  

During this surgery, the tibia will be cut and will heal at a different angle, which will lessen the mechanical stress.  With this different angle, it will change the geometry of the joint.  Out of all procedures, this will be the most expensive procedure.

Tips to know

Fatter dogs are more prone to knee injuries.  If your vet says your dog needs to lose weight, it’s best to listen to prevent a hefty bill.

Even if your dog is at a healthy weight, make sure they get enough exercise every day.  Like a human, don’t let them sit around all day.

How can I save money?

Talk with at least three different clinics.   While most won’t be able to get you an exact quote over the phone, they may be able to give you an idea.

Consider the alternatives as you will find this surgery isn’t always the best route to take.  Be sure to confirm with a professional that the surgery is necessary.  Sometimes, rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to see if the knee improves.

Pet insurance policies can cost a few dollars a month and can potentially save you thousands.  However, don’t wait until the procedure is needed because. like health insurance policies in the past, pre-existing health conditions may prevent you from signing up for a policy.

This surgery can be expensive, and if you can’t afford your payments up front or the vet office won’t work with you, consider getting a loan with Care Credit.  It can only be used for health care services, and you may be able to get little to no interest on your loan.  Be sure to read the fine print.


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Average Reported Cost: $3225

100 %
0 %
Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Charley (Gilbert,  Arizona) paid $3500 and said:

    3500.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  2. Debbie (Stillwater,  Oklahoma) paid $2700 and said:

    At OSU Vet hospital.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  3. steve (plattsburgh,  New York) paid $2500 and said:

    possible acl tear

    Was it worth it? Yes

  4. anne marie pierce (toledo,  Ohio) paid $2450 and said:

    Went to Dr Harrison in columbus ohio

    Was it worth it? Yes

  5. Jerrie Williams (manassas ,  Virginia) paid $4200 and said:

    $4,200

    Was it worth it? Yes

  6. Bette (Albany,  Oregon) paid $4000 and said:

    This is estimate vet gave us not including x rays and 500 already spent total cost will be about 5,000.

    Was it worth it? Yes

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