If there is swelling below the surgery site then I would massage the area with movements towards the stifle and hip.
We started underwater treadmill as soon as the suture (staples) were removed and continued at the rate of twice a week for 8 weeks. By that time she was able to do 2 miles on an incline.
We also did a lot of sits to stands early on along with side hill waking on leash and slow moving up stairs no bounding. There was a set of about 82 stairs with many landings and we would walk to each landing where she had to sit stand sit stand a few times. I iced after each walk or period of exercise.
I have found that most of the surgeons are more conservative than I was as they are afraid of problems occurring and that the owner will not recognize these and try to work through them.
You need to know your dog and look for anything that seems different or odd when doing rehab and stop and reassess frequently and cut back or rest if you feel that there is a problem.
Again good luck.
Thanks for the responses. I agree that the Vet probably gave me the ‘Crate all the time’ because they wanted to err on the side of conservative rehab. Terex could you pm me or e-mail me a list kind of broken out as follows:
Week 1 – Ice only, no exercise other than….
Week 2 – Light PROM and short walk on leash….
Etc, etc, etc,
Week ? – Back to training as usual running marks and blinds.
Keep in mind I have easy access to a large pond and can do a good bit of swimming blinds back and forth on the pond when he is ready.
Also I realize that every dog is different and using a list like the above is defiantly only as good if you have the ability to read your dog (I believe I do). What I would like to do is prior to my next vet visit on 1/29 compile a schedule and then review it with him to get his opinion on the schedule. I am going to keep track of his recovery in my training journal and then maybe at the end I can type it up a and post it to RTF for others who may have to deal with this rehab.
Swimming is great once your dog is full weight bearing. Until then it is possible to swim while guarding the surgically repaired limb by using the other three limbs hence no benefit from swimming. Walking on lead or in water as in the underwater treadmill is more beneficial.
Sun Valley Animal Center - Randy Acker, DVM
What to Expect
Due to anesthesia and pain medication, most dogs will not be themselves their first night home. Please be assured that everything possible has been done to relieve your pet from pain. Your pet’s eyes will look different due to an eye ointment administered at the time of surgery which prevents the eyes from drying out. Some dogs are very thirsty after surgery. Small amounts of water may be given every half hour. Occasionally, a patient will vomit. If this occurs, remove water, food and medication for one night. Since the surgery wound is fresh, some bleeding may occur. The dried blood makes a natural bandage and should be left alone. Cleaning the incision could cause it to bleed more. Some licking is ok because the sutures are under the skin. If your dog licks excessively, you can place a sock with the toes cut out up and over the dog’s knee. If the licking continues, an e-collar may become necessary. Most dogs will return to “normal” in 1-2 days.
During this period your dog may begin “toe touching.” This is where the foot extends to the ground in an attempt to bear weight. This varies from dog to dog and by the extent of the surgery. Some dogs will begin to walk at this stage. However, walking could take up to three weeks. Dark red/purple bruising and mild swelling at the incision is normal. SWELLING IN THE ANKLE IS ALSO NORMAL.
A few days following surgery, the ankle joint may become swollen. This is normal and it will disappear within a couple of days. Cold packing this area is not necessary. In some cases the Fentanyl Patch may cause vocalization and will need to be removed early.
Remove and dispose of the Fentanyl patch. Keep it away from children and other dogs. Removal of this potent pain patch may cause some dogs to temporarily become more lame. Under the bandage is a clear plastic sticker (the patch itself) that MUST BE PEELED OFF OF THE UNDERSIDE OF THE FOOT. Wash the area with warm water and mild detergent. Do not let your dog lick where the patch was placed.
At two-weeks, please make an appointment with your Veterinarian. By this point, most dogs are bearing weight the leg that was operated on.
Please make an appointment with your Veterinarian for a 2-month check-up. If all is well, your pet can gradually return to normal off-leash function. Swimming is excellent therapy at this time. Your pet should progress slowly into longer walks and then into runs. For some dogs, full recovery and return to normal activity can take up to six months. However, most dogs regain full function two to three months following surgery.
As soon as the leg is physically healed (stitches gone & walking) you can begin swimming but no lunging, dog must be released while already in the water & no in & outs. Doc will give you that release to begin & provided detailed rehab info after a scheduled visit.
Many of these suggestions are from laymen. For this reason, they may know what did or didn't work for them but.....chances are it was for only one dog. You've enlisted the services of a vet specialist. He's the one that is responsible for the after-care guidance. Ask your questions of him and don't stop until you understand fully what's being said.
For example....EdA is the former(?) president of the American Canine Sports Medicine Association. He has the credentials to discuss this matter both professionally and from personal experience. In fact, he made something of a study of his own dog's rehab after cruciate surgery. Others are telling you to swim the dog but EdA points out that just swimming the dog in a lake won't do much compared to supported walking or swimming in a treadmill tank.
You've hired a professional. I'd defer to him.
When Dr Milton releases your dog, another vet on his staff will give you a complete consult on rehab during the same visit. Until then I'd do what he says. He has done many FT dogs with great success - includng one of mine.
Dr Milton did juices leg recently. We're almost 10 weeks post surgery. My instruction from dr Milton were simple. He said I don't give a ..... What you hear from anyone don't push this dog. We started doing light swimming and under water treadmill work after the 6 week mark. For 6 weeks air and back to the crate. No extended leash walks or anything. He said all the prom and exercises in the world won't do that much to accelerate recovery so take it easy. I asked about professional rehab and he saidi it is a waste of money in his opinion. At the end of the day his message was to go slow and don't try to do too much too soon and you will be fine. Juice is doing great. I know of two FC AFC that would be recognized by anyone on this board that had tplo. I know what they did for rehab and there wasn't much but crate rest, swimming and pulling weights. Nothing but crate rest was done fire the first 6 weeks. They both accumulated tons of AA points post tplo. I simply believe all the early rehab is about makin yourself feel better more that the dog. JMO and I have no proof to back that up.
Everything seems different about your dog when going through this. That's the problem.
Originally Posted by terrax
Thanks David and Claimsdj. Going forward I am going to follow Dr. Miltons advice to the T. The time it takes for recovery is not near the concern that full recover is. I know he has done dogs who have achieved FC and AFC titles after the TPLO so I guess when it comes down to it his opinion is best.