Adhering to a schedule following orthopedic repair is crucial for successful recovery. Pets take about 3-4 months to recover. During the healing process, it is key that your pet not engage in too little or too much use of the knee. Too little use can lead to joint stiffening and delay healing. Too much activity can damage the implants and lead to repair failure.

Week 1-2
Your pet will typically be loopy for about 48 hours after surgery as the post-operative pain injections and anesthesia gradually wear off. In the first 10-14 days before sutures are removed it is important that the pet be restricted to leash walks to use the bathroom only. Your dogs should always be on a leash, even for short potty breaks! Excessive activity can damage the surgery site. Your dog should not go up or down any stairs during this time. For the first 1-2 weeks prescribed medication for pain will be administered as needed. A long-lasting antibiotic injection is administered on the day of surgery so no antibiotics will be needed at home. Please remove the bandage in 24 hours. You can do this at home or we can do this for you if you prefer. The bandage is just to minimize bruising and swelling so it is not an issue if slips off early. Swelling in the limb is typical post-surgery, especially 48-72 hours. If the knee appears swollen ice packs can be applied for 5 minutes at a time to reduce it. It is very important that the pet not be permitted to lick the surgery site as this can lead to an open incision and infection. Your pet will be sent home with a plastic collar to prevent this.

Pets typically begin toe-touching the surgically repaired leg 3-5 days after the procedure however in some cases it can take more than a week

If tolerated, starting on the third day following surgery engage in about 5 minutes of passive range of motion exercise 2- 3 times a day. Passive range of motion involves moving the leg through a normal range of motion. Each joint, particularly the knee, should be flexed and extended. This may be painful for your dog, try to do as much as he or she will tolerate as ROM exercises will help prevent excessive scar tissue from forming.

We will remove the staples in 10-14 days. Please make an appointment whenever convenient for you. Dr. Kahn will also evaluate how the healing is progressing at that time.

Weeks 2-3 (after sutures removed). Your pet is now permitted to go on short walks! Walking on a leash should be about 15 minutes 2 or 3 times a day at a pace that your dog is comfortable with. Please continue the passive range of motion exercises as well as keep your pet off the stairs.

Weeks 4-6: Leash walks can now be 30 minutes in length and should be done 2 to 3 times a day. Going up and down stairs slowly is permitted, but please try to avoid them at this point as much as possible! We would like to get radiographs at about 6-8 weeks to make sure everything is healing appropriately.

Weeks 7 through 12: Leash walks can be increased to 45 minutes at a time and can begin to incorporate hills or ramps on these walks to help strengthen the surgical leg. Your dog can now begin to go up and down stairs as they typically would and can engage in light play. By the end of 12 weeks, your dog’s leg should be healed and may engage in normal activity, but may appear weaker than the other side depending on how much muscle loss was experienced. Complete recovery can take up to 6 months.

In some cases, the pins placed will need to be removed. If that is the case, they generally will be pulled at about the 12-week mark. This surgery is significantly less intensive than the original surgery and will only require minimal activity restriction while the small skin incision heals.