Post Operative Care
Please read these notes together with our forms covering bandage care and postoperative care for TTO and TWO procedures (Part B). There are three components to caring for your dog after this surgery – controlling pain, caring for the bone as it heals and caring for the joint. Maximise the chances of good results by following a very slow progressive return to activity
Time since the surgery recommendation
Up to 2 weeks:
very short leash walks to “toilet” only return to us for bandage removal and checkup at 10 to 14 days postop
2 to 4 weeks:
strict confinement when not on a leash leash walks as above, with some longer walks around garden only
aim for a number of very short walks per day passively gently flexing and extending the limb may be useful in some dogs
4 to 7 weeks:
strict confinement when not on a leash
longer leash walks can commence inside or outside your property, but only increased in distance if the leg is being used confidently without any obvious discomfort. How far you are walking at this stage will depend very much on how comfortable your own dog is. Some dogs will need to progress very slowly. If uncertain, start the week with a very gentle 3 minute walk 3 to 5 times a day and end the week with a 5 minute walk 3 to 5 times a day. Build the length of walking time up by 2 to 5 minutes per week. By the end of 7 weeks postop, some dogs may be able to walk for 15 to 20 minutes 3 to 5 times a day, others will not be up to this level. Always tailor the walking to your individual dog. You are overdoing it if your dog becomes tired or sore or lame by the end of the walk. Do not push your dog past a level at which they feel comfortable. If your dog is coping very well, try and do more sessions of walking per day, rather than increasing the length of the walks too much at this time. Swimming can be useful only if great care is exercised getting into and out of the water. You must still avoid any rough activity (jumping, running, other dogs etc)
7 to 8 weeks:
Return to us for a check x-ray of the leg to see if the bone has healed solidly.This will be a visit for the day. (The cost of this procedure is not included in the initial surgical costs).
2 to 3 months:
If the go-ahead has been given for more exercise; you may be able to progressively increase the length of the leash walks and the level of activity. This should be done with great regard to your own dog’s capability, The knee joint usually cannot withstand normal activity levels without some degree of soreness or injury before 3 months postop.
3 months onwards:
If long leash walks of 30 minutes or more have been well tolerated with no soreness, free activity off the leash may be allowed.
Remember, these recommendations are just that, recommendations. Your own dog may progress more quickly or more slowly than this. Always call us if you are unsure how you should be progressing with your own dog. Some dogs may require physiotherapy or careful use of pain killers or anti-arthritic agents to aid their recovery.
Finally, remember that your local, primary care veterinarian plays a vital role in assisting your pet’s recovery, particularly over the longer term.