Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Surviving The Post-Op: After Your Dog's ACL/CCL Surgery

You're probably all worried, I was too. Let me start with the good news. Based on my experience with Jasmine's bi-lateral ACL surgeries I truly believe that the post-op recovery is actually going to be much easier for your dog than it will be for you.

Dogs are survivors. They don't sulk or complain, they take what there is and make the best of it. They have an amazing ability to adapt and make things work. This is probably one of the times when the difference between a dog and a human attitude is the most profound.

The other good news is that from the moment of the surgery your dog is on his way to get well. That's what I kept telling Jasmine--and more importantly myself--when I was counting the days. You are one day closer to getting your life back. And then two …

Prepare your home

It will make it easier for both you and your dog if you plan ahead and get some things ready before the surgery. Of course, if you have a little dog some of the points below won't apply, because you can simply carry your dog around. However, large breed dogs are more likely to suffer an ACL injury.

After your dog comes home, you will have to restrict his movement. Prepare a comfortable and safe place for your dog, ideally somewhere near you.

He will not be allowed to use stairs. This means he will be restricted to the main floor for some time. Think how you're going to make this work so your dog is excluded from your life as little as possible. Good spirits are important for physical healing.

We dealt with that by moving all our activity to the main floor, and because our bedrooms are on the second floor, I slept with Jasmine in the kitchen. Clearly, you don't have to go to the same extreme, but whatever you're going to do, have it figured out beforehand.

Slippery surfaces can be a danger to your dog after the surgery. You can assist your dog when walking on them, or you can do what we did--buy some cheap carpets and rugs and cover the entire main floor. Problem solved.

Are there a couple of stairs on the way to his potty place? Again, you can assist your dog by supporting him with a towel (towel-walking) or, if you have the means, you can build a simple ramp. Jasmine didn't like the idea of towel-walking at all. She would either freeze or move awkwardly backward – clearly not very helpful when trying to assist her up and down the steps. She did, however, love her ramp. We also covered it with an outdoor rug to make a safe non-slippery surface.

If getting a ramp, make sure it's comfortably wide and with a very mild incline for safety (which means it will need to be fairly long as well).

Prepare your dog

If you never tried towel-walking your dog before, you might want to try and see how he responds to it. Place a towel under his belly and support his weight when walking. There are also some cool products designed for this purpose. In any case, I think it's a good idea to have this figured out beforehand also.

Prepare yourself

The post-op is going to be quite similar regardless of which surgery you choose for your dog. It will be a long journey. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is what will help you to get through it.

Prepare yourself for a visual shock. When your dog comes back home, his leg will be shaved, bruised and with a long incision. He might be quite spaced out from the surgery and from the meds. When Jasmine came home, her eyes looked quite bewildered. He will be using the leg very little or not at all.

Do your best to make him comfortable. Plenty of deep sleep is important for the healing process.

Have your vet explain the post-op rehabilitation to you in detail. You will probably get a printed sheet – read it and ask questions until you understand everything you need to do.

Taking care of the incision

Keep an eye on the incision. Make sure it remains dry and clean, do not allow your dog to lick it. This can lead to infections and neither you or your dog need the additional trouble. The incision shouldn't be bleeding or oozing.

TIP: We found that Preparation H (yes, the hemorrhoid ointment) works wonders in promoting faster deep wound healing.

The PROM is not a party

Passive Range of Motion exercise (PROM) is an important part of your dog's post-op program. It is a flexing and stretching exercise that promotes joint health prevents contraction of the muscles and stimulates blood and lymphatic flow.

However, there is a good chance your dog won't like it at all. Have your veterinarian show you how to do the exercise properly. I recommend you consider muzzling your dog for the exercise (simple cloth muzzle works fine).

Don't use force. If the joint is too painful to do the exercise, consult your veterinarian about pain management.

Bringing it home

Safety is the most important part of the post-op period. Do everything you can to prevent any mishaps. One bad slip or one bad jump of the couch can be disastrous.

Follow your dog's post-op schedule religiously. The better you do with that, the better and faster will your dog recover.

Figure out ways of entertaining your dog during his restricted exercise period. Try some clicker training. Get a lot of yummy chew toys. You can even try some dog companion videos, such as the ones by Stanley Coren.

It will feel like a lifetime. But that too shall pass.

Wishing your dog perfect recovery

Related articles:
Talk To Me About ACL Injuries
Preventing ACL Injuries In Dogs
ACL Injuries In Dogs: Xena's Story 
ACL Injury Conservative Management: Sandy's Story
Don't Forget the Physical Therapy
ACL Injuries in Dogs: Non-Surgical Alternatives?



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At August 29, 2010 at 7:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article! I recommend using a canine-trained physical therapist to adjunct the post-op care with ROM, massage, laser and other techniques for maximum healing and results. Thanks, Susan Davis, PT

At August 29, 2010 at 7:35 PM , Blogger Dog Mama said...

Susan, thank you for reading, glad you like!

Seeing a therapist wouldn't have worked out for us with Jasmine's ACLs at the time, since the risk associated with traveling was higher than the benefit would have been, plus had other things on her plate. Our surgeon did show us how to do things properly.

Later, with Jasmine's muscle injury, we were seeing a vet chiro for underwater treadmill and other treatments.

At August 29, 2010 at 8:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

just a quick follow-up--I understand your point about travel, which is why I provide PT in the home. It is a great practice model, except that I obviously cannot provide water therapy. Underwater treadmill and canine swim facilitites are so great 2 months or so after surgey. I am so glad Jasmine has recovered!

At August 29, 2010 at 9:03 PM , Blogger Dog Mama said...

Susan, that is the perfect scenario! (PT in the home)

Jasmine is doing quite great, her knees are solid and her arthritis not bothering her at all thanks to the stem cell treatment she got also.

At April 6, 2011 at 1:22 AM , Anonymous Dr. Christopher Durin said...

I like icing too. Just for a few minutes twice a day and keep the wound dry. Nice article Jana.

At September 21, 2012 at 2:45 PM , Blogger Review Of My Dog said...

Thanks for this detailed article! I am bringing my dog back home from her ACL surgery today and I'm anxious about what to expect and how to prepare the house. This was really helpful!

At September 21, 2012 at 3:31 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Glad you found this helpful! Glad the surgery went well, which one did you dog have?

Did you get a detail post-op plan from your vet/surgeon? If not, please ask, or discuss the example post-op plan I have also posted.

At September 21, 2012 at 10:21 PM , Blogger Review Of My Dog said...

She had the tightrope procedure. Our vet says he does at least one of these every week! We're hoping the other knee holds up - she's only 3 years old!

I found a different post-op plan online and reviewed that with my vet

I'll compare it with yours - can never have too much info on this stuff! We bring her back in 3 days for a checkup.

At September 21, 2012 at 10:47 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

I'd be very interested in updates, as I don't know any dogs who had this particular surgery.

At October 9, 2012 at 10:50 AM , Anonymous Review of My Dog said...

We're 2 and a half weeks post-op for the tightrope surgery on our 3 year old lab/husky mix, and she just got the stitches out. She's been getting laser treatments to help speed up the healing, starting with twice per week, and now once per week.

We brought her home the day after the tightrope surgery and she looked great - no bruising or anything. But the next morning when we let her out of her crate, she got so excited she jumped and bruised her knee. But, when we brought her back in for her 3 day checkup, they did the laser treatment and by the next morning the bruising and swelling was almost completely gone! I can't say enough good things about the laser treatments.

She's been putting partial weight on her leg from day 1, but every so often (usually when we take her into the waiting room at the vet's) she tries to jump and causes some swelling. That has made her recovery take longer, but the swelling finally went down enough to take the stitches out and get rid of the cone!

She's putting a little more weight on the leg, but definitely nowhere near what she was before the injury. We'll be starting short leash walks soon, so far it's just been out to the yard on a leash to potty.

At October 9, 2012 at 10:33 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Cold laser is certainly awesome for many things. Glad the surgery went well. The recovery does take time, just think how much healing there needs to happen to the knee and to the soft tissues around it and all. Lot of work for the body.

This is one of the things that need time.

At March 6, 2013 at 4:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish I had found your site before Zeb's op. However, he has had the op today and your article is helping me to relax a little bit. The positive slant is really helping.

At March 7, 2013 at 12:15 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Glad you found my article helpful. I have a number of cruciate articles on the blog, if you do a search.

Which surgery did Zeb have? Glad it went well. Do ask your surgeon for a detailed post-op rehabilitation plan, as that is as important as the surgery itself.

At March 14, 2013 at 5:12 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

Our westie had Cruciate surgery yesterday. She is rightly feeling sorry for herself at the moment.
She hasn't been to the bathroom and I am not sure if this is because she cannot squat as the surgery was on her back leg?
Has anyone else experienced this post surgery with their dog and any tips??

At March 14, 2013 at 6:39 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

She hasn't been to the bathroom - please explain
a) hasn't gone outside at all
b) hasn't peed
c) hasn't pooped

At March 15, 2013 at 6:15 PM , Blogger alwaystalking2u said...

Great article. We just brought home our 86LB pit/bulldog mix. He is only 14 months and already needs acl surgery on both knees. His TPLO surgery went great yesterday and the vet is very positive. I was not very prepared for the look and inability to hold the leg. Since he is so young and soft bones he has a split which will be changed in 5 days. Taking him outside was very traumatic. We tried the towel sling and he had trouble peeing. I can right in and ordered a harness from handicapped pets. I hope it arrives soon and figured since he needed the surgery later on the other leg this would help out.

At March 21, 2013 at 2:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Tibetan terrier has just had a TPLO surgery and came home 2 days ago but hasn't been for a poo yet , maybe it's because she's on a bland diet of fish /rice/chicken/pasta or maybe cos she is scared to go for the discomfort she is in. Can anyone tell me how long it normally takes fir them to go?
Ps great tips for post surgery.

At March 21, 2013 at 2:44 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

If it's been two days I would start worrying. Jasmine would also not poo for a while after each of her surgeries, mostly because she didn't eat at the vets at all. But this is getting to be a bit long.

No, I don't think it should be because of physical problem with going, or fear from going. She does squat to pee, right? Not that much of the difference, physically.

So I'd talk to your vet, you want to avoid constipation and you do need to get the poop going.

At July 15, 2013 at 2:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 4 yr old lab is having ACL surgery on Wednesday. My question is when you brought your animals home how did you get them out of the car? Did you need 2 people? My vet also isn't putting a cone on her. I think that's great BUT I don't want her to lick her wound. I bought a blow up one just in case. Any help would be great!

At July 15, 2013 at 3:03 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

We had a truck, hubby was able to lift her in by himself. Our vet offered assistance, though.

How much help your dog will need depends on the type of car (how high it is etc)

We didn't use a cone either, I work at home and was able to watch her to make sure she leaves the incision alone. If she didn't, we would have to use something.

There are other products out there now, more comfortable to the dog than the cone, too.

At July 15, 2013 at 3:12 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Note: since you still have time, you can consider getting a ramp, or PickMeUp Harness, or Bottoms Up Leash. Very helpful.

At August 10, 2013 at 3:08 PM , Blogger Stacey Nolan said...

My 7yr old staffie had cruciate repair op on back left leg. He was feeling extremely sorry for himself and was back to normal on 3rd day. Bruising has appeared on day 3 tho and im wondering if thats normal? Does anyone know.....

At August 10, 2013 at 3:47 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Are you sure the bruising appeared? Or is it that you first noticed it? Because bruises change colors over time.

There will be swelling and bruising post op. Unless the incision is angry and oozing, you're likely looking at normal part of the process.

If you are concerned, you can always take some photos and send them to you vet/surgeon

TPLO Recovery: What You And Your Dog Can Expect

My Big Operation by Simon

At September 2, 2013 at 11:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our 5 year old Rottweiler, Snot, had the tightrope procedure done 3 weeks ago. Now, he's being super stubborn and just holding his leg you have any tips/tricks to help him understand that he can use his leg again?

He lets me do the range of motion, put ice and heat on it, doesn't show any discomfort when I touch it. His last appt the vet said his knee was nice and strong.

At September 3, 2013 at 12:09 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

I am hesitant to buy that he's just being stubborn. I feel that if he's not using the leg, he has a good reason for it. Truly.

I'd go searching for what that reason is.

Has he been using the leg at all post op? At least toe-touching? Or has he not been using it at all the whole time?

At November 9, 2013 at 5:50 AM , Anonymous DFW Spine & Joint Center Cold Laser Therapy For Knees said...

I have a pet dog also. I think this article will be a big help for me.

At November 23, 2013 at 3:58 PM , Blogger Jobee Benavidez said...

Thank you for all the advice! The towel walking is a great technique that helps a lot...and yeah I didn't even think about rugs for slippery surface thank goodness you mentioned that! Great that you post about these things. It's hard for dogs and owners and making the dog more comfortable and relaxed will definitely aid the healing process.

At November 23, 2013 at 9:12 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Glad the towel walking worked for you, Jasmine didn't like it very much. But many dogs take well to it.

Taking care of anything slippery is a great help. These days, you could also try the ToeGrips, which help a lot as well.

At December 19, 2013 at 6:40 AM , Blogger Jane eastwood said...

Thanks for the advice. Biscuit my Mini Schnauzer had a fall and fractured her knee and severed her ACL. She has had it replaced. Today is day 4 post op. She won't walk on the injured leg. Looks like she is in pain constantly but still will make effort to come for food. I tell her to stop licking her wound which she does but I am not there during the day, so will speak to vet about cone. Feel sad for her to have a cone as well as everything else she is going through....How long was recovery for you?

At December 19, 2013 at 2:48 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Poor girl. Talk to your vet about adequate pain management. The fact she's not walking on it this early is not a surprise, though.

At January 17, 2014 at 10:32 PM , Blogger Jillian Saras said...

My cat just has surgery to repair three snapped ligaments (this morning). She looks like she is in so much pain - curled up, and when she moves she whimpers. Is this normal after such a major surgery? She is on buprenorphine already for pain.

At January 17, 2014 at 10:36 PM , Blogger Jillian Saras said...

Please someone!

My cat just had surgery to repair her three torn knee ligaments. She got home this afternoon and has been laying down, whimpering when she changes positions and just generally looking like she is in so much pain. Is this expected so soon after a major surgery like this (she was under anesthesia for almost 2 hours because of the complexity of her case)? It is killing me to see her like this - she is my baby. I will call the vet if she does not improve tomorrow. Just looking for some advice or encouragement.

At January 18, 2014 at 2:45 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

HI Jillian,

there is expected to be a source of pain BUT there is also expected to be an adequate pain management in place. If you cat is in pain, you need to get back to your vet/surgeon and have the pain management plan revised.

You cat should not be in pain! There should be adequate medication to prevent that.

Do call them right away, they need to adjust the meds.

At January 25, 2014 at 8:39 PM , Blogger Jillian Saras said...

I was so exhausted I don't even remember posting here twice, and sounding so frazzled.

Update: the next morning she was no longer vocalizing or shaking. She took it easy for a couple of days and now she is wanting to walk and play and run. It is SO hard to keep her still (she is a cat, after all). She twists and kicks when it's time for medicine - I hope that can't compromise the surgery. She had Tightrope, which is way stronger than normal extracapsular, so that makes me feel a little bit better. I stay with her all day, watching Cat-TV shows on Youtube or playing with her favorite toy - that twisty thing that comes off of a gallon of water when you first open it. I will be on edge until she is back to 100%.

She toe-touched the next day, and is now walking with a limp - sometimes the limp is very noticeable, other times very mild. She is weaning off Buprenex because it made her quite constipated.

How did you all handle the emotional stress? I am just a wreck, paranoid about whether every move she makes will cause the surgery to fail. Did you have any "close calls"?

I'm glad there is a site like this, even if it is not about cats - there is pretty much nothing on cats' CCL injuries.

At January 26, 2014 at 12:08 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Hi Jillian,

glad she improved. Yes, it is very stressful, but one kind of gets used to it with time and improvement.

Some limping this soon after surgery is to be expected; there was a lot of tissue trauma which needs to heal. You vet should have given you a rehab and progress schedule ...? That way you'd know what to expect and also what to do.

As for moves, the most dangerous are the ones with high impact or twists. With dogs, it is recommended they don't jump off and on anything and don't use stairs. Not sure how this can be applied to cats - is she being crated? Just kicking legs in the air shouldn't be a major risk I wouldn't think, as there is no impact involved.

Do what you can and hope for the best. Think of what's the worst that can happen - that the surgery would need to be done all over - which wouldn't really be the end of the world.

Best of luck and speedy recovery

At January 26, 2014 at 1:26 AM , Blogger Jillian Saras said...

The vet's only instructions were to keep her in a room with no furniture to jump on, for a month. He said that the procedure stabilized her knee immediately. I've done relentless hours of Google-ing though, and there isn't much information on cats. A few veterinary sites do suggest that a cat's lighter weight necessitates less restriction.

I wish I had time to research and compare a bunch of vets, but her knee was so badly damaged (three ligaments gone, putting 4th at risk) time was crucial. He is a published researcher, former professor at OSU, works with VCA and with all the local vets, seems very respected - so I was surprised when there was such little instruction after her surgery.

My cat is my entire world, though, so I am going to learn all I can about recovery, and I am asking about laser therapy tomorrow.

Thank you for your quick responses. Your blog is amazingly informative!

At January 26, 2014 at 1:39 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Well, I don't know anything about cats either, just about dogs and about knee surgeries. I fully agree with the not jumping. It could be true that since cats are generally lighter, one month of restriction is enough.

For more specifically cat information, you need to find a cat blog :-) This is a dog blog. You could try www.

At May 23, 2014 at 6:16 PM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

Thank you so much for posting this! Just knowing others have gone through this and made it out okay lets me know that I'm not alone and gives me hope that my baby will get better! I've put him in a room where he'd only be able to get up and walk about..5 steps. Right now he's definitely not wanting to do that as this it has been only two days since his surgery and he was just brought home today. He is on sedatives because he had a panic attack which made his temperature rise up to 108 so he's been sleeping since I brought him home about 5 hours ago. But, how long was it until your dog wanted to start getting back into old routines? And did you apply the Prep H on the bruises or the incision?

Thanks again for posting this!

At May 23, 2014 at 6:32 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

You're definitely not alone, this is, sadly, quite a common injury.

So sorry about the panic attack and hyperthermia. We've been through that with Jasmine too, though under different circumstances.

Given the sedation, the hyperthermia and the fact it's ony two days since surgery, I wouldn't expect him to want to do much. All that would have taken a lot out of him. Which would change the timeline of expected early progress too.

Is he eating and drinking normally? Did the vet give you specific instructions for care, particularly after the hyperthermia? When did he last pee and poo?

Which surgery did he have?

I used the Prep H on the incision, where it wasn't healing as well as it should. The bruises look horrible but will go away on their own.

At May 23, 2014 at 10:32 PM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

He's eating and drinking fine. Due to the hyperthermia he stayed an additional night and was given a lot of fluids so he has been peeing a lot all day. Unfortunately, he has also been peeing a lot in the house (about once every two hours so far). Did you have problems with that as well? He has not gone poop yet but I will wait until tomorrow since he didn't eat much until today.

The vet did give me instructions to watch his temperature which I've been doing ever 1-2 hours but they said it was probably due to anxiety.

He had TPLO surgery. Around when did you feel it was a good time to use Prep H?

At May 23, 2014 at 11:48 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Eating and drinking is a good sign.

Peeing in the house could be due to a number of things, the increased fluid intake, and even the sedation. Is he mobile enough to go out to potty?

We didn't have this problem after Jasmine's knee surgeries, but Cookie, after anesthesia, was leaking quite a bit that day. And the more fluids, the more they want to come out.

Jasmine's hyperthermia was drug-induced (Buprenorphine). Keeping an eye on the temperature is a good thing to do, we were measuring Jasmine's a lot for a while.

You might not need the Prep H if the wound is healing the way it should. Jasmine's incision had a portion which didn't want to stay on track with the healing. Of course, if the incision isn't healing the way it should, you do want to tell the surgeon first, before trying any treatments.

At May 24, 2014 at 12:49 AM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

He's still a bit hesitant on walking which I understand but he also can't seem to hold it long enough to get outside. I'm praying that it will get easier the next couple of days because today has been incredibly hard just seeing him like that.

He is the type of dog who doesn't like to pass by a place where he has used the restroom so when he went in the house he ended up laying in bed and hiding his face.

Another problem with trying to take him out to potty is his anxiety. The minute the towel goes under him and he is asked to get up he begins to freak out and his temperature shoots up.

At May 24, 2014 at 12:57 AM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

When he gets up he tends to panic which causes his temperature to rise. The vet said that when he was there he walked around just fine however that doesn't seem to be the case here.

I attempted to take him out earlier and I wasn't able to make it out of the room before he began peeing. When he got back he was feeling a bit warm so I took his temperature and it had gone up to 103.4. He's at about 102.1 right now but it's been a few hours since he was last taken out and I'm about to try again to see where it goes.

I ended up placing a fake grass patch that is used for potty training so he can use that if he can't make it. I'm just afraid of him feeling that he can start doing that from now on and not ever have a reason to leave the room. Not sure if that happens with dogs though.

I'll do that. He wasn't bruised the day after the surgery however, today when I went to pick him up he had numerous amounts of bruises.

At May 24, 2014 at 1:27 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Not being able to hold it long enough is probably still from all the fluids. Should stop by tomorrow, unless he's still drinking a lot ... ?

The towel is great if the dog accepts it. Jasmine didn't like that idea either. If you don't have slippery floors (or can put down rugs) and if you don't have stairs to potty (can put a ramp) than you might not need the towel.

Try desensitizing him to the towel - show the towel and give yummy treats. Then place the towel and give yummy treats (don't make him do anything). Slowly try working your way up to getting up and walking.

I am quite concerned about the fluctuating temperature. If the gets too hot, try wet/damp towel on him. Did the vet say when the temperature should stabilize and what to do if it keeps going crazy?

I wouldn't worry about house breaking habits right now, sounds like he's not happy making the mess.

Bruises, if you observed on your own, do change colors over time. So they seem to get looking more sinister after couple daysl.

At May 24, 2014 at 1:41 AM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

He is still drinking a lot but I'm trying to restrict it a bit. I called the vet after the first incident and they just said to monitor him and go from there.

Unfortunately, he hates the towel as well. I do have tile which is an issue however, he doesn't want to get up at all. I've even tried just encouraging him and he kind of looks at me like I'm nuts.

I've had my fan going on him for a bit now. I'll continue to monitor his temperature but I agree, it is alarming. Especially after the hyperthermia.

When I attempted to try and take him outside again to go to the bathroom I discovered that his bed was wet as I was trying to get him up. So unfortunately he wasn't able to make it out.

Due to him going on his bed, he tried to move himself a bit by sliding down. I assume he was trying to slide down off the bed but didn't make it too far. Unfortunately, when I looked at his leg again, the bruising got worse. It may be because he tried to slide down but I'm not completely sure.

I'm sorry about the double post! I typed up one part on my phone and wasn't sure if it sent so I responded again on my laptop.

Hopefully tomorrow is better! :)

At May 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

I'd talk to the vet about restricting the water. Because if his body needs all that water to get something out, than it would be wise to provide it. I realize that it is a problem with the potty. But I'd talk about it with the vet.

Yeah, tile would be a problem. Any cheap rug(s) you can grab to cover at least some of it temporarily? He won't get up even for a yummy treat?

You might also invest into some pee pads for the bed etc, at least as a temporary solution.

How immobile is he?

Cannot judge the bruising without seeing it, you might want to take some photos and send to the vet also.

At May 24, 2014 at 10:55 PM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

I tried calling the vet who did his procedure but she's out of town for memorial weekend unfortunately.

I've been using some rugs around the house but the room is close to the garage and he isn't used to going out the garage so we've been taking him the longer route to the front door.

We decided to move him to the kitchen around the back door and I had planned on sleeping in the kitchen with him. He had another accident there as well. I took him outside and he continued using the restroom. I brought him back in and he laid down but the minute I turned my back he tried to run off into the room he usually sleeps in as it's really, really cold in there.

So he's not as immobile as I thought.

At May 25, 2014 at 12:45 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

See how quickly you can get your hands on Toe Grips (look it up, it's a great little product to help with traction)

I slept with Jasmine on the kitchen floor countless times :-)

All this drinking and pee problems still happening would concern me. If you can't talk to the surgeon, try talking to another vet.

At May 25, 2014 at 1:04 AM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

I'll give his primary vet a phone call tomorrow.

How often did you take out Jasmine? Maybe I'm just not taking him out as much. Part of me is too scared to constantly keep moving him.

At May 25, 2014 at 1:35 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Jasmine didn't have a change in drinking. Normally she'd need to go out about 3x daily. Though normally we'd let her out
1x in the morning
1x at noon
1x at dinner
1x before bed

Once we started rehab work, 3 to 5x a day for very short little walks. That's all she ever needed.

At May 25, 2014 at 10:05 AM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

Was that with or without the towel? How long did you use the towel for?

Thank you for being so awesome with responding to all my posts! This has all really helped me more than you know! :)

At May 25, 2014 at 3:06 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

We did not use the towel because Jasmine wasn't responding well to it - would freeze or walk backward ...

We had a ramp made so there were no stairs she'd have to use and we plastered the floors with carpets.

At May 25, 2014 at 3:06 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

How is the drinking and peeing today? How is the temperature?

At May 26, 2014 at 11:44 PM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

The drinking still seems like a lot but the accidents are becoming less and less (so far there has only been one today!).

It's becoming more difficult to use a towel with him since he keeps trying to walk on his own but I guess that's a good sign.

His temperature is steady now, thankfully. However, the bruising on his lower abdomen is getting worse while the bruising on his leg is getting better.

At May 26, 2014 at 11:58 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Yes, it's a good sign that he's trying to walk on his own. Maybe you just want to keep the towel there as a safety but not actually pull on it. Just have it there in case he needed support. I was doing it that way after Jasmine's hyperthermia when she really was barely walking and could fall down at any moment.

Glad the temperature is steady.

Bruising on his lower abdomen? From a knee surgery? Why would there be bruising on the abdomen? Am I missing something?

Glad less accidents. Strange still drinking "a lot" perhaps from the meds ...? Did you ask your vet about that?

At May 27, 2014 at 12:24 AM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

Right. The lower abdomen bruising is weird to me too. Especially because when I googled dogs who have had ACL surgery it only showed bruising on the leg around the incision site.

I called the place that Mason (my baby) got his procedure done at and unfortunately the surgeons were not there for memorial weekend.

I spoke to those who were and they said that it's normal but if it is still there when we go back (at the 2 week checkup) they will look into it. Still concerns me though. The surgeons will be back tomorrow and I plan on sending them pictures through email and seeing what they have to say.

As far as the excessive water, that's what I was told. He was also prescribed sedatives for when he needs to be taken out since he wouldn't walk without starting to panic. So, they said the medication could be the cause to that.

My main concern right now is the bruising. I'm not sure what's going on there but I've been monitoring it and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. Hopefully I'll be able to talk to the surgeon who performed his surgery tomorrow.

At May 27, 2014 at 5:35 AM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

Did you have any problems with Jasmine sleeping? Some nights I'll wake up around 3 am and find Mason just sitting there. Like tonight. I gave him some pain medication in case that was what's wrong and took him outside to potty but it's been over an hour and he's still sitting there.

At May 27, 2014 at 2:48 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Well, yes, but that was unrelated to the surgeries. She had this unrelated problem prior and after. There was no change during the post-op.

What you describe does sound kind of strange. Could it be pain? Could it be from some of the meds? What kind of meds is he still on?

At May 27, 2014 at 2:53 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Yes, bruising should be only around the surgical site. What is the gum color? Any bleeding from the gums or anywhere else?

They said it is normal to have bruising on the abdomen after leg surgery? Is the bruising on the leg and the abdomen about the same color? Or is the abdominal bruising looking different (dark)? Any changes in color of the tongue?

I'd talk about this to your regular vet to see what they think about this.

At May 29, 2014 at 3:26 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Renu, how is he doing? How is the belly bruising? Limping? Mobility?

At June 1, 2014 at 12:11 PM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

Hi! Sorry! It's been a crazy couple of days. The bruising has gone down and he's been going to the bathroom without the towel. The accidents are done too! There is still a little bruising on his abdomen but it's much better than before. He's also becoming more stubborn with licking his incision. When the cone comes off for dinner he immediately tries to lick it. The random waking up in the middle of the night is still happening but he only sits for about 15 minutes then turns around and goes back to sleep. He's doing much better but it's getting harder to see him stuck in that little area of the kitchen.

At June 1, 2014 at 2:43 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Glad to hear about all those improvements.

Incision licking is a bad plan. How does the incision look? Well closed and dry? Any chance it's irritating him or hurting? There are creams out there you could ask your vet to give you to help discourage licking (this is applied around the incision, not directly on it)

He's going to have to be restricted for quite some time yet; I know it's sad. There are games and activities you can do, though; there is a video with good examples somewhere on my blog too)

At June 2, 2014 at 8:11 PM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

I'll be taking him to the vet this week to make sure all is okay. It bled a bit due to someone leaving his cone off. It doesn't look bad now but I'm still worried and don't want to take any risks.

Did you let jasmine out of her crated area at any time other than for bathroom breaks? I know Mason hates sleeping in the kitchen so I'm wondering if it'd be okay to let him nap in another room once in a while or not.

At June 2, 2014 at 10:03 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Yes, particularly if it was bleeding, have it checked.

Jasmine wasn't crated at all, but don't take it as a rule. I work at home so I was with her at all times and she wasn't one to do any crazy things in the house.

Main problem during post-op is impact; whether from jumping, fast accelerations and stops. Also stairs, because there is plenty of impact with that also.

Can you move the crate to another room? Can you create a closed area in another room? Are there stairs anywhere near and can those be blocked off?

He would naturally want to be close to you and he might also prefer a more comfy spot. So I'd either move the crate, get another one or create an inclosed space in other way so he can be where you are/where he wants to be.

At June 4, 2014 at 6:12 AM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

He tends to want to move between two rooms and the living room since he likes to go where it's the coldest. I've been keeping him out of his gated area (I've been using one of those play pens) and letting him sleep where he wants when I'm home and when I'm not I leave him in a room. Thankfully stairs are not an issue and the couch which he usually loves to jump on has been blocked off.

He never likes to lay in one space for too long which I think is what caused him to sit up in the middle of the night and do nothing for over an hour.

At June 4, 2014 at 2:56 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

You might have good success getting him the Cooling Bed. When we got it for Jasmine, she clearly preferred it to anything else and spent about 90% on there and only 10% anywhere else.

At June 6, 2014 at 1:04 AM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

I've actually never heard of that! All you do is just fill it up with water and that's all?

At June 6, 2014 at 2:44 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Yes, you fill it with water and that's all. (Gotta make sure you get all the air out) It has quite a cooling power and remains cool even if used for a long time. Jasmine loved it.

At June 6, 2014 at 2:45 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

This is the one we used; not sure whether they have a newer model now.

At June 19, 2014 at 4:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our lab mix had Tightrope Surgery for his ACL 3 months ago and he still favors his bad leg. He will not put 100% weight on it and will lift it when he runs. Our surgeon says the procedure went well and it has healed correctly but does not know why he still favors the bad leg. I've done mild PT with him and he will go for walks but gets tired and starts to limp at the end. Just trying to see if anyone else has had a longer than usual recovery time for this surgery.

At June 19, 2014 at 5:09 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Without having more details, it is hard to judge. I believe that 3 months post-op he should be using the leg well. How did the vet evaluate the progress? Perhaps it is time to get a second opinion.

At June 27, 2014 at 5:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our bichon just cam home from his surgery yesterday. Today, he was sleeping in his crate. I had the door open because I was nearby. The next thing I know he came out of the crate and before I could get to him, he jumped onto the couch. He seems perfectly fine, but I am just sick. How would I know if he hurt himself? He is not acting any differently, but I am so worried. That door is staying shut from now on.

At June 27, 2014 at 6:16 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Not every single jump will result in a mishap. So if everything looks good, you should be good. If he hurt himself, you'd know. It's a good sign that he feels well enough to get on the couch.

However, to prevent potential mishap, which are most likely to happen with jumps, please make sure he doesn't do that again. If you do want him to be able to get on the couch, you could get a ramp for him.

At June 27, 2014 at 6:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Jana. I feel much better now. And, don't worry. I won't let that happen again. It was so kind of you to respond.

At August 26, 2014 at 11:56 PM , Blogger cathy said...

I have a 22month old lab 11 days out from TPLO. She has been so stressed every time we kennel her that we have had to partially sedate her. She will get her stitches out in 2 days. Last weekend she jumped up on my husband and was up and around more than she had been although She is restricted to one room and we have had someone with her all the time. She was walking on the leg pretty good a couple days after surgery but since the jump she is limping more. She is also out of pain meds. Should I be worried that she has damaged her 'repair?

At August 27, 2014 at 10:35 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Every time there is a post-op set back, it is a reason to check it out and make sure that nothing went really wrong. TPLO is fairly forgiving but damage can be done. I'd consult with the surgeon and have it take a look at it.

Also if she's still in pain she should be getting adequate pain management. So talk to your surgeon about that also.

At November 11, 2014 at 1:53 AM , Blogger Anna McRay said...

I am not the original poster of the comment above, but I have the same question. My mixed breed just had surgery today, and as of 0200, she has not peed. One episode of explosive diarrhea, though. It does get better soon, right? I wish I had gotten this type of advice from our surgeon...I am really regretting putting my girl through this right now. Any advice would be SO appreciated!

At November 11, 2014 at 8:27 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Anna, how long hasn't she peed all together? Is she drinking? Any more diarrhea? Diarrhea COULD be a reaction to the anesthesia, antibiotics or stress. It could also lower the urine output if all the liquid leaves through stools.

However, please do report all this to your vet. She might need a change in meds. And she does need to pee (I do hope she peed in the meantime)

As for regretting the surgery, these complications are not very common and they should be very temporary and surgery is indeed the best way to fix a knee with busted cruciate ligament.

At November 23, 2014 at 8:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you use a kennel to limit activity and mobility immediately following surgery? What size? Should it be smaller than would typically use to prevent standing or sudden movements?

At November 23, 2014 at 9:15 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

We did not use it because Jasmine was calm enough in the house. But in many cases this does need to be used.

It has to be large enough so your dog CAN stand up, turn around etc. Just shouldn't be able to run or jump. Might want to discuss the exact ideal size with your vet.

At November 24, 2014 at 9:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Golden Retriever Madison age 9, hurt her right rear leg yesterday. We took her to her vet, and she was diagnosed with a torn ACL and meniscus. She had the same surgery on her left rear leg 4 years ago. I am just wondering if I should put her through that trauma again. She is in great health, and still thinks she's a puppy. It is so traumatic though. The vet. said that they've done the surgery on older dogs than Maddie. Any thoughts?

At November 24, 2014 at 9:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there, did anyonre find anything good for your dogs entertainment while they were resting their leg? I want to make sure our dog is resting but not bored ridged. Thanks in advance

At November 24, 2014 at 12:37 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Chew toys and food toys, of course. Here is also a great little video showing a number of games
Injured Dog? Recovery And Rehab Activities For Dogs After Back, Hip, Leg And Knee Injuries

At December 28, 2014 at 12:38 AM , Blogger Bunny said...

Miss Daisy, my website mix had acl surgery 10 days ago. I am having to force her to drink water with a turkey baster and an concerned about dehydration. Is this normal? She is eating ok, not her usual appetite, but healthy. I add water to her meals also. And she doesn't have much energy. She won't even walk to her food dish. Is this expected?

At December 28, 2014 at 5:58 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Which surgery did she have? Does she bare any weight on the operated leg? What pain management is she on? What does the surgical site look like?

10 days post surgery Jasmine was eating and drinking normally and she was bearing some weight on the leg. Was going to potty with no issues and wanted to go for walks, just wasn't allowed yet.

I'd want to make sure that
- there is no infection going on at the surgical site
- there is adequate pain management
- it is possible that the pain meds are making her lethargic (depending on type and dosing)

Talk to your surgeon about it.

At February 10, 2015 at 7:40 PM , Blogger Nicole Stanga said...

My 50kb shepherd mix is having tbi surgery tomorrow and im wondering what the total time he will be crated for recovery. My vet said 8 weeks which seemed like a lot? I'm also concerned that this will totally break his spirit. How do I keep him from that? Thanks a lot.

At February 11, 2015 at 8:53 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

TBI - brain surgery? If your vet says he needs to be crated for 8 week, it is best to stick with that for the dog's own good. I have no experience with this surgery, so I don't know what the post-op would encompass. Do make sure your vet gives you a post-op plan and recommendations on what kind of things he can do, whether he could play some of the crate mentally stimulating games etc. Placement of the crate(s) will also make a difference for his spirits (he'll be happier being close with everybody)

At February 11, 2015 at 2:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry to much about going pooty poo:) too fast, the dogs intestinal tract will slow down a bunch after surgery, my lab waited a few days but was peeing the first day..... My surgeon explained it could be 2 to 7 days before the dog could possibly go POOTY POO!

At February 12, 2015 at 8:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dog had acl surgery on February 10, so far so good... she is eating/drinking and going to the bathroom. Not using the leg at all right now however but that's ok (for now of course). Your page here is very helpful, I don't understand the preperation H thing though, could you please explain that?

At February 13, 2015 at 8:44 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

What surgery did she have? Is she on pain management?

The prepH was used because couple of Jasmine's staples allowed the incision to be more open than it should and it wasn't healing as it should (not infected, just opening a little with movement. The prep H allowed it to heal quickly.

At February 13, 2015 at 10:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again, thank you for the quick reply- I understand the Prep H thing a little more now, I won't worry about that although I like the idea of healing quicker.
She had the surgery where they use the "fishing line" and make a new joint with it (does that make sense?). She is doing well, eating and drinking, going to the bathroom etc. She of course is not using the leg yet but it's only been a couple of days and i'm trying to make sure it heals and she doesn't lick it or anything. Any tips is appreciated but reading all of the above has been helpful as well (you and others, thank you all).

At February 14, 2015 at 8:26 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Not even toe-touching? Jasmine started that fairly quickly.

Cruciate Ligament (ACL/CCL) Surgery Post-Op Care: Example Plan

At February 14, 2015 at 12:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

She holds the leg up and out for the most part. She will "toe-tap" when she is standing though. The leg is swollen though, I think it's getting better however so i'm hoping any day she uses it just a bit more to take pressure off the other leg. I'm confident yet, it was only Wednesday she had the surgery.

At February 14, 2015 at 7:35 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

SOME swelling post-op is normal. But I'd talk to the vet and send some photos. If nothing else, pain management seems inadequate to me.

At February 15, 2015 at 12:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll keep an eye on it, I don't think there is anything out of the ordinary though. I do have to stop at the vet tomorrow so I will ask them then.

At March 3, 2015 at 1:02 PM , Anonymous Mackenzie said...

Thanks so much for this post. My dog recently was hit by a car and now I think she will need surgery. It's a tough situation, but I'm confident she'll be fine.

At March 3, 2015 at 7:12 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

So sorry about your dog. Best wishes for easy post-op.

At March 8, 2015 at 1:01 PM , Blogger Ms. C said...

Hi Jana, thanks for the article. My dog is having ACL SURGERY on both his hind legs tomorrow morning. Do you have any tips for a dog that can't use either hind leg? He's also have his luxating patellar fixed on both legs. Ugh I'm so nervous!

At March 8, 2015 at 4:24 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Your vet/surgeon should guide you through the process in detail. If they don't offer a detailed plan and instructions, ask for them.

Meanwhile, hind end support of some sorts will be handy. If you have time you can look into some products such as Bottom's Up Leash or similar. If you won't have time to get that, you can try "toweling" which means supporting your dog's hind end by running a towel under the belly and helping to take the weight of the hind end.

Which type of surgery is your dog having? Types like TPLO do allow for better use of the legs sooner.

Of course, in either case you want to make sure your dog doesn't get a chance to do something silly such as running or jumping (including on and off furniture etc)

Look up example post-op plan on my blog.

At March 8, 2015 at 5:09 PM , Blogger Em said...

Thank you so much for your article! My dog had a bilateral TPLO on Thursday.

I have been noticing that she has been shaking/shivering this normal? I feel like I read somewhere that that can be a sign of anesthesia leaving the body. I just want to be sure that it isn't an early sign of an infection. Her incision looks great! Of course I came home last night from work and her cone was off :) silly pup!

At March 8, 2015 at 6:43 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Anesthesia drugs should clear out faster than that. I would definitely talk to the surgeon about that. Could be inadequate pain management. Infection could be internal.

At March 9, 2015 at 7:53 PM , Blogger Ms. C said...

Thank you! I'm not sure what type of surgery. I know they used nylon wire. I did buy a walkabout harness and I'm hoping it works. I'm petrified of this recovery.

At March 9, 2015 at 9:14 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

That's what's called "traditional" repair. Not as forgiving, so you gotta be really careful during the post-op.

At March 10, 2015 at 7:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you for your post! My dog will have tplo surgery later this week. She is 40 lbs and I can carry her. I'm trying to prepare. The towel is a great idea. In terms of stairs, do you know if it is safe to carry them to a second floor or should that not be attempted? We sleep upstairs. Also my dogs go to work with me. What about short travel after surgery? Safe or not? Thanks!

At March 10, 2015 at 8:53 AM , Blogger Teri Noel said...

My dog, a boxer mix, had ACL surgery on December 29 and is doing really well. He has been released for limited activity but will be fully released at the end of the month. However, he has started licking the knee where the repair occurred. It was never an open wound but it is become one. Any tips to stop the licking other than to watch I'm closely? Has anyone else had this problem?

At March 10, 2015 at 9:50 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

If you can carry he safely and make sure she doesn't use the stairs on her own (closed doors, baby gates ...) then there is no reason for her to be carried to the bedroom with you. Please note that jumping on and off furniture is a bad plan. If she's used to getting on the bed with you, you might need to consider ramp or other way of preventing her from hopping up and down.

With travel it's the same. Going for rides is a good way for them to get out of the house but only as long as no jumping and carrying on while in the vehicle or while at work with you.

At March 10, 2015 at 9:53 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Hi Teri, glad your dog is recovering well. I am very concerned about the state of the wound as you describe it; at this point it should not open and the dog should not have a reason to lick it. I'd start first by having the surgeon examine the site to make sure there is no infection going on in there. Particularly since she didn't bother with the incision before and does now.

At March 16, 2015 at 2:41 PM , Blogger Louise and Gavin said...

Our dog had the surgery four weeks ago; when we brought her home after the op she wouldn't go to the bathroom for about 3 or four days! I was freaking out! But eventually she went and its no big deal now!

At March 19, 2015 at 9:28 PM , Blogger Nancy Zawisza said...

My golden retriever had ACL surgery 14 weeks ago. She went for her 12 week check up and had a slight limp. Vet said she was healing well and give her more freedom. Yesterday she started a more pronounced limp and is putting less weight on that leg. We are calling the vet tomorrow. Has anyone else had this experience?

At March 19, 2015 at 9:33 PM , Blogger Nancy Zawisza said...

My golden retriever had knee surgery 14 weeks ago. At her 12 week check up she had a slight limp but vet said she was doing really well and should be given more freedom. Yesterday her limp was more pronounced. Today the same thing. We are calling the vet tomorrow but we are very concerned. Is this common?

At March 20, 2015 at 9:18 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Hi Nancy,

which surgery did she have? How old is she? How much "more freedom" did she get? Yes, do talk to the vet.

At March 22, 2015 at 6:49 PM , Anonymous Anne said...

So good to read all these comments, my grandson has a Rottweiler 130 lbs he needs ACL surgery in the next 2 weeks, we are taking him to a sport orthopedic surgeon, how do we know which surgery they should do the TTA or the TPLO, he is a very active 4 yr old even as big as he is he wants to jump everywhere, we need to make a ramp so he can be taken outside to go potty, what kind of ramp do u suggest since he is a big dog, I know going to be difficult especially since there is a yorkie in household and they love to play, It is very helpful reading others experiences and I will probably be back in touch after surgery with questions

At March 22, 2015 at 7:59 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Your surgeon should be able to give you a recommendation after evaluating your dog. If the surgeon feels both options are equally good, then go with the one the surgeon has more experience/success doing. Because that matters a lot.

Do ask the surgeon for a detailed post-op plan including management and therapy.

There are couple articles on ramps on my blog, look them up. It should have good width and as mild of an incline as possible. Of course, it has to be stable and support the weight safely. We had good experience with ramps, both to the yard post-op and to a vehicle.

Unfortunately, before the leg heals, he cannot run around and play with the other pups, unless they are used to playing without much jumping and running. The little guys can't hurt him but he could hurt himself. It will be important to manage things to avoid mishaps.

At March 29, 2015 at 12:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 4 y/o Standard Poodle will have TTA surgery for a partial tear of his right CCL. I am terrified of the post-op since I will be the only caretaker. My vet has performed over 200 of these with great results as he has told me. Anyone that has had TTA on their dogs and the results would be appreciated.

At March 29, 2015 at 2:26 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

TTA surgery is a good option. The post-op expectation is more terrifying that when it actually happens. Like with many things. Do make sure, though, that your surgeon gives you a detailed post-op plan. This should include day-to-day, week-to-week and month-to-months steps including PROM exercises, when and how long can your dog start going on walks (multiple very short ones after the first week usually), what progress you should expect seeing, when to contact the surgeon ...

At March 31, 2015 at 7:50 PM , Anonymous Anna said...

Great post! There's some really helpful information here. Thanks so much for sharing this!

At April 5, 2015 at 11:41 AM , Blogger shizairee said...

Thanks for this. I'll have to read through more replies as I have time. My rottweiler tore her ACL a day ago and is set for surgery sometime this week. Its the long weekend, of course, so we are just waiting for Tuesday when the vets can decide which procedure she needs. Its already hard on my active girl (probably more so on me) so wish us luck!

At April 5, 2015 at 11:45 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Best of luck. Yes, it is hard, particularly for an active dog. Keep us posted.

At April 5, 2015 at 7:39 PM , Anonymous Cheyanne Ranson said...

This is such an awesome article. My female rottweiler had to have a TPLO surgery on her right hind leg, and let me tell you I WAS A WRECK. She was at the vet for three days and I missed her so much, and when she came home I was so happy. But it was A LOT of work. Keeping her from licking her incision, keeping her from walking on it too much, having to lift her back legs when she went outside. It was just a lot. Had I found this article earlier, I feel like I would have been much more prepared for what we were getting into.

At April 5, 2015 at 7:45 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Thank you, Cheyanne. Yes, it's scary and it's draining, particularly with all the worrying. But you got through it, that's important.

At April 15, 2015 at 10:38 AM , Blogger Buddy's Mom said...

Buddy just had TPLO surgery yesterday. Reading your blog really helps. I didn't think I would make it through first night. He cried most of the night even with pain meds. He is crated but I did away with the cone cause I am with him in same room. He doesn't do the towel walking very good either. He stood up in crate at 4am but I couldn't get him out by myself. Friend came over and helped but we never made it outside before he had to pee. Can I ask questions as needed?

At April 15, 2015 at 1:44 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Yes, ask questions as you need.

Yes, the first days are hard. I am kind of surprised that they sent him home right away; with Jasmine, they kept her in the hospital for three days on a pain pump. Sounds to me the pain management isn't adequate, I'd talk to the surgeon about that.

Jasmine didn't do really well with the towel walking either. We made a ramp for her instead, she took to that right away. I think you'll need to work on the towel walking a bit so he gets the idea.

How do you mean you couldn't get him out by yourself?

At May 1, 2015 at 4:35 AM , Anonymous Cal said...

Hi! I'm so glad I found this and I hope you can help!
My 75lb lab/collie mix had the lateral suture repair surgery 8 weeks ago. The wound was having trouble healing so we had to keep going back to the vet to get it looked at, eventually needed staples in, then back for staples out, etc. Last week once it was finally healed, it started to swell. Brought him back in and his ligament capsule either tore or it didn't heal properly. So they opened him back up on Tuesday to repair that. He was walking okay on it when we brought him home and yesterday. Today, I was walking him in a leash to potty and he slipped through to chase a cat (can I tell you how much I hate cats?!). It ran up a fence and he jumped for it. When I finally got him back to me, he wouldn't put his leg down. Now, a few hours later, he still won't walk on it and it looks so swollen. I'm not sure what to do. Bringing him back and forth to the vet I feel is hurting him more than helping. I can't find any info on this, I'm hoping we aren't the only ones with so many issues. ��

At May 1, 2015 at 8:36 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Sounds like a major mishap and injury to the repair site. Unfortunately, you do need to take him back to the vet.

At May 4, 2015 at 1:02 PM , Anonymous Cay said...

What a helpful article. I am getting ready to schedule my German Shepherd and I wondered if the crate out where we are when we are home would be a problem since I have 2 other dogs and all three are very close.

At May 4, 2015 at 2:05 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

The whole idea is to make things as safe as possible, as well as as emotionally comfortable as possible. You need to find the balance. A crated dog will prefer companionship. So being where everybody else is is generally best emotionally.

If the other dogs were to instigate some wild activity, though, than it wouldn't be safe. You don't mention how the dogs behave when together and whether they are able to just hang out and relax.

It is best to place the dog where it will be safest, while happiest.

At May 19, 2015 at 3:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jana, Our 5 month old shepherd cross just had a caudal ligament surgery (the ligament was replaced with a suture). I know this is so young for a dog to have this type of injury, and we're not even sure what caused it. It started as a gradual limp and just got worse. Anyway, she just had the surgery last Thursday (May 14). The recovery has been going well so far, but has also been quite exhausting. She gets into the odd mood where she starts to jump around before we have a chance to get to her (we stop the behavior right away). Anyway, I'm SO nervous about her moving around and damaging her knee again- I just want to know, if she does the odd goofy movement and slips, for example, if she doesn't yelp or anything and still walks on the injured leg (about 25-50% weight right now), would that probably mean nothing has been damaged?

We get to start taking her on walks (5-10 mins max) in two days. I cannot wait!

Thanks for this article. I've never been through surgery with a dog before and I'm having a tough time handling this.


At May 19, 2015 at 4:45 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Hi Kim,

so sorry she hurt her ligament already; that is VERY young. Typically, at that age it would be a wrong twist (acute injury) though the gradual onset of symptoms is strange IMO.

At that age, keeping her from getting the zoomies IS difficult if not impossible. I can't imagine trying to keep a young pup like that subdued. There is a video some place on my blog showing crate rest games (clicker training tricks and things) that will help to keep her occupied. But still ... you do have an exhausting journey on your hands.

Not every jump equals a setback but mishaps and setbacks can happen. Particularly with slipping. I'd recommend managing the environment so no slipping can occur. After Jasmine's surgery we plastered all our floors with rugs so the'd be no place to slip. If that is not feasible, I'd consider ToeGrips at least.

This early post-op favoring of the leg is expected so unless you can see clear set back in progress, I don't think you could tell whether the suture got stretched or not. Your vet would be able to assess whether the knee remains as stable as it should.

At May 22, 2015 at 11:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jana- I appreciate the response. We are doing the best we can and I realize some things are just out of our hands. It's hard to explain- even though this is exhausting and frustrating, we seem to be building a bond with our dog that we definitely didn't have before. Life is funny... things happen for a reason but it can be tough to understand why sometimes ;-). Thanks for your fantastic blog- I absolutely love it.

At July 14, 2015 at 10:49 AM , Anonymous Kim said...

Hi Jana,
Our shepherd cross had her caudal cruciate surgery 9 weeks ago (suture to hold it in place). We took her to a specialist knee surgeon, one of the best in the city. I took her to the vet last week at 8 weeks post op, and she said her knee was very stable, and she could run free in the yard, and in another 2-3 weeks she can play with other dogs.

Since she's young (7 months- my first post is just above this one), she likes to do her zoomies. She did them a few times this past week with no issues, but last night she jumped at us and let out a little yelp. However, she was walking just fine on it afterwards (no limp or anything). This morning, she is noticeable stiffer in that leg, but is still walking on it. We are going to restrict her back to a leash in the yard now for the next few weeks.

Is it possible the vet is letting us give her more freedom too soon? I am so paranoid about her injuring it again, but it sounds like it is nice and stable, so it's probably just overuse. Regardless, we'll keep her to her walks, and take it easy in the yard.

At July 14, 2015 at 11:26 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

The best thing to do would be to have the vet check for stability to see whether the scar tissue got damaged and/or the suture stretched.

At July 14, 2015 at 6:24 PM , Blogger Lynn said...

I have a 6 year old wheaten terrier who is 8 months post op lateral suture ACL Repair. She had the procedure in November 2014. After months of conservative treatment with intermittent limping we opted to do the procedure. Her post op course was uneventful except her recovery from limping and walking was not what it should have been. After 3 months and extensive exam by vet including X-rays (everything was aligned and in place) it was decided the best course to improve things was hydrotherapy rehab with laser and exercises. She did that for four months with great results. She graduated with full muscle strength and perfect ROM a month ago. 2 days ago we noticed a limp and in the the last 24 hours she is hopping on three legs. Have you heard of this happening 8 months post op. What could possibly be the problem.

At July 14, 2015 at 7:56 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Hi Lynn,

sorry about the setback your dog is experiencing.

No, 8 months post-op there should not be any issues with a properly healed leg.

There are couple things I can see happening:
a) you mention the recovery and weight-bearing wasn't as expected. While physical therapy is always awesome, I'd wonder whether something caused the suture to stretch/loosen; rendering it less stable than it should have been. Did your vet check for knee stability regularly? Was there any set-back you can think off?

b) the suture might be irritating/pinching some place. This happens rarely but it could happen.

I'd have the surgeon evaluate the knee for stability and consider whether it is possible the suture is causing trouble or whether there is something else going on. If the suture is the problem, it can be removed.

SOMETIMES, another cause all together can look like a setback and have nothing to do with the knee. Well after healed from her knee surgeries, Jasmine became lame on one of her hind legs; even more so than she's been before the surgery. She had a tweak in her spine and a chiropractic adjustment fixed it right up.

There was a dog who became fully lame on hind leg and no problem could be found. Surprisingly it turned out he had a tick attached to his foot; must have attached right at a nerve ending, rendering the dog lame.

Cookie looked as if she busted her knee and was fully lame on her hind leg. Turned out she had a chunk of porcupine quill embedded in her foot, causing the lameness.

Another friend's dog looked like he busted his knee but it turned out he got bitten by a snake.

So I'd see a vet, have the leg thoroughly examined looking for any discrepancies at all. Then thoroughly evaluate the knee stability as well. If nothing found, a visit to a veterinary chiropractor might be a good idea.

At August 6, 2015 at 3:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi all, In dire need of some advice. My dog tore her ACL's on both back legs.. We are unable to afford surgery, so we are doing laser therapy, physical therapy, a brace and tons of TLC! My question is that I'm having trouble getting her to go pee outside with her towel sling under her belly. The vet has tried palpating her bladder, and we've tried walking her around the dog walk area at the vet for the other smells. She wants nothing to do with going potty while her knees are injured. She is on some pain medication, and we are keeping her crated when we aren't around, and I pretty much carry her wherever she needs to go. I just wish so bad that she would pee!! She has gone once a day for a couple days, but hasn't gone since yesterday. Any advice would be great! The Vet knows shes having trouble peeing, and they just keep telling me that she will go eventually. I'm just worried she will get an infection if she waits too long. Thanks for any advice anyone has!

At August 6, 2015 at 4:14 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Yes, I'd worry about her not peeing too. What braces are you using? How long has it been? Is she not getting used to them or not getting proper support from them?

You could try one of the harnesses specifically made for support (I know the towel is awkward and Jasmine didn't like it either), such as Bottoms Up leash or Help'em Up harness.

You might have to get your vet teach you how to express the bladder.

I wish you could find a way to afford the surgery; there are a number of options out there.

Or at least get a really good brace.

At August 7, 2015 at 3:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response! We are going to get a Wound Wear brace. I just finally got the measurements. It has only been a little over a week since she hurt her legs. I'll look into the other harnesses to help her out. Thanks again for the advice!

At August 7, 2015 at 7:24 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Ah, I see. I don't blame her the least for being reluctant to potty then. Must hurt pretty bad with both bum knees.

I don't have a whole lot of trust in knee braces that need to be held in place over the back. If I were to go with a brace (and we did consider that seriously) I'd go with one designed based on human braces; one that is molded exactly to the leg and fits without additional support, such as Orthopets.

At August 15, 2015 at 12:14 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello there! my dog had surgery on his ACL 3 days ago. Staples are still in, is it ok to massage around the area? (hamstrings, quads) Is it also ok to apply ice for small periods of time through out the day, just to manage pain? He's recovering so well. No crying, or whimpering which puts m heart at ease. He sleeps well at night and also eats and drinks similar to before surgery. I see him not bearing any pressure on his leg, which makes sense since he is 3 days out. I just think once I see him apply pressure, I will completely be at ease!

At August 15, 2015 at 8:44 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Your surgeon should have give you detailed post-op instructions, which would also include the type of exercises, massage etc, and schedule of what should happen when, similar to this one:

If you look at that link, you'll see that yes, massage and passive range motion exercises are included in the first 10 days, as well as cold and warm compresses. Please read the example post-op plan.

Glad he's recovering well.

At September 26, 2015 at 7:31 PM , Blogger JMark274 said...

My nearly 7yr old female Australian Shepherd had Lateral Suture with bone tunneling (similar to"TightRope") 5 weeks ago yesterday. The staples were removed on the 11th day post, and she has been doing the underwater treadmill once per week ever since. (she also did the treadmill for 3wks prior to surgery). Anyway, she started very small walks (2 blocks total) about a week ago, and per the Ortho Specialist, we'll start steps in the next week or two. Some days are better than others...but she's coming along ok.

At September 27, 2015 at 8:12 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Glad she's coming along. Underwater treadmill is great.

Why are you in such a hurry for doing steps? I'd wait much longer with that. At least be very careful and don't let her do it unsupervised.

At October 2, 2015 at 11:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your blog. Our dog, a long haired chihuahua/spaniel mix (13lbs) just had her torn ACL surgically repaired yesterday and we picked her up from the vet about 6 hours ago and I am an anxious mess! She has always been highly sensitive, so she is a sad, miserable little one right now.
I'm actually not sure of the specific name of the surgery they did, but I know that it was the less expensive option (which is what they recommended). She has pain medication and seems to be a resting comfortably for the most part right now, but then will do a lot of whining and some moaning and groaning. Part of it is I think she doesn't like not being able to sleep on the bed and being in her crate.
Can anyone tell me how long this "crisis mode" feeling lasted for you and your pet after surgery? I get that we will need to adjust our lives for the next couple months to make sure she doesn't jump on furniture, but will she start to feel better before her staples are removed? This is stressful! Thanks for all of the information on your page.

At October 3, 2015 at 8:55 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

She might just be bummed out still getting all the drugs out of her system; she might be a big off because of the meds she's on. I'd talk about this with the surgeon, also making sure that her pain management is adequate but I'd give it a day.

Not being able to sleep with you might be part of her being upset; being suddenly "banished" into the crate would hurt anybody's feelings.

With a smaller dog like this, you could probably find a way to getting her safely off and on the bed ...? With Jasmine, because bedroom was upstairs and it wouldn't be safe trying to carry her up and down, I slept with her. This way she got to have the companionship she needed without putting her leg(s) at risk. I slept with her the entire recovery. So we didn't have emotional issues other than her being sad because of not getting out as much as she'd like/was used to.

At October 9, 2015 at 6:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My American Bulldog had the CCL surgery about a moth ago now. He is still limping and does not always put all his weight on his leg he had the surgery on. He does toe touch. We are still messaging and doing the range of motion exercises. Is the limping and lack of standing weight still after a month after the surgery normal? If so, at what month does the limping seem to stop?

At October 9, 2015 at 6:34 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Which surgery did he have? When was his progress last evaluated by his surgeon?

At October 10, 2015 at 10:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

He had the ligament repair surgery on August 27th. The last time he was at the vet who did the surgery was September 10th for his 14 day review to remove the staples. They said he was progressing well and was putting a good amount of weight on it. They never said we needed to go back. Just keep following the rehab sheet they gave us.

At October 10, 2015 at 5:45 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Next check should have been a month post surgery. Then next one 8 weeks post-surgery, and, of course, when there is a concern.

Go back and have the leg evaluated.

At October 14, 2015 at 10:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response! We are 11 days post surgery now. We've had so many complications, but starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. She had a bad reaction to both tramadol and rimadyl. So now she is on metacam. She also pulled her head out of her cone and pulled out every single one of her staples the night before they were to be removed! We have an rx for some ointment to put on the wound now and she is getting cold laser treatments.
Thanks again for your great blog!

At October 15, 2015 at 7:10 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

So sorry you had all these complications! Glad things are looking good now, though. Wishing speedy recovery and full healing.

At November 5, 2015 at 6:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredibly sweet of you to sleep in the kitchen for your dog. I would do the same, but still good to hear.

At November 6, 2015 at 9:18 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

There is very little, if anything, I wouldn't do for my dog.

At November 6, 2015 at 8:56 PM , Blogger Kimberly Miller said...

Hi! So glad to have all of the comments and past experiences to reference as I am on day 10 of post op recovery from a cruciate surgery with my 3 yr old 90lb Rottweiler. My issue is that he acts like nothing is wrong and simply wants to hobble on 3 feet rather than accept my towel walking assistance. Today he broke out of his caged "recovery" area and started full running and wouldn't stop!! The legs seems completely fine at the moment but I am nervous he may have ruined his recovery as it is only day 10. Also on the first night I experienced him jumping up on the blocked off couch...I have never experienced a pets surgery such as this so I do not know if I should be worried or not! Any suggestions to either ease or confirm my nerves? Thank you everyone!

At November 7, 2015 at 11:39 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Jasmine did not respond well to the towel either. We used ramps instead.

I'm glad to hear he's feeling well but zoomies is a bad plan this early post-op. So is jumping on things (again, might consider a ramp or a step so he can get on the couch safely.

If there was a mishap I'm sure you'd see it. Sounds like he made it through his antics safely. But do your best to prevent these things. Mind games can tire a dog out as well, look into those.

At January 20, 2016 at 8:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi guys i had the tightrope surgery done on my 3 yr old mastiff cross its been a week since surgery and her leg is really full of fluid was wondering if this is normal, she is still on all painkillers and anti biotics thanks in advance.

At January 20, 2016 at 3:30 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Not normal, please talk to your surgeon. SOME fluid or drainage can happen but it doesn't mean it should or shouldn't be taken care of. And what you're saying sound like a lot.

Please talk to your surgeon about this.

At January 20, 2016 at 5:55 PM , Blogger Leigh Ann Yansen said...

My Toy Poodle is having the tight rope surgery as I type this. Nervous for our little baby. They are keeping her at the vet for 3 days😢Thanks so much for all this helpful information. Kind of eases the nerves

At January 20, 2016 at 7:25 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

These things are always scary. I'm sure everything will go great.

At February 18, 2016 at 6:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi guys. My dog had ACL surgery 3 weeks ago. Her recovery is going well. The staples were removed and she appears to have no problems. My question is, is it okay if she is using the injured leg? She tends to use the leg when she walks around the room she is confined in, but sometimes she gets a little too excited and starts to gallop slightly and she holds the injured leg up. Is this normal? Should we expect her to only use the leg when walking?

At February 18, 2016 at 7:29 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

It's pretty normal. Now, this early post op she should be on leash only and be encourage to just walk, not gallop. Putting weight on the leg when walking is a good thing
a) means everything is progressing well
b) keeps the muscles working

Did you get a post-op recovery plan, including passive and active exercises?

At April 16, 2016 at 12:46 PM , Blogger Tom Bartholomew said...

Thanks for some great information PLUS if that is your lovely dog in the photo at the top of the page she certainly was very lovely. I wish some scientist could alter the genes of dogs so they live as long as us!

My English Staffy X Jack Russell terrier popped her ACL a few weeks back. She had corrective surgery almost nine days ago now which involved reshaping the angle of the bone at the stifle joint.

Since the operation she has been on a restricted movement regime. Basically she's on a two metre long lead in our living room. She's got one of those padded Elizabethan Collars on and the poor girl looks like she's in a real bother. Being 13 years old the operation was not the easiest for her but she's recovering well with few complaints. The first three days were the worst...she whimpered a lot and it was heart-breaking. Once her bowels opened she was a happy dog again...the anaesthetic bound her up quite a bit.

My biggest worry is that we have three steps down to the yard where she does her business and she refuses to be towel-walked down. So the vet told us that we were to walk down the steps in front of her to reduce her speed so that each step was taken carefully...same when she came back up the stairs as well. This seems to have worked. Anyway...she's now allowed to walk about 200 metres and once the stitches are out this coming Tuesday she will be allowed to walk further. She's itching for the chance. She hates being cooped up inside.

Keep up the good work.

At April 22, 2016 at 12:56 PM , Blogger Krystle said...

Hi, Thank you for posting this! My dog just had the TPLO surgery 3 days ago. I'm at a place where there are no stairs for a few days (i live in an apartment on the second floor so for the first week i'm at a friends house). I left for a couple hours and my friend and her husband were home and I asked them to make sure she doesn't jump on the furniture or lick that leg. As I walked in the door, they told me she had gotten on the couch! Now I'm paranoid that something is wrong and I'm missing it. She's on rimadyl and the tramadol so i'm not sure if she would notice anything wrong. and it's so early that she's not really putting weight on that leg anyways. Are their any signs I should be looking for?

At April 24, 2016 at 4:27 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Mishap and setback aren't the same thing. Not EVERY jump on or off the couch results in a setback. The only thing is that it could and that's why it's to be prevented.

I'm quite sure if something happen you would know quite clearly. If you're really not sure, have your surgeon re-check.

At June 3, 2016 at 11:28 PM , Blogger Lydia Mynott said...

We have had a similar experience my dog was found on the window seat today the only explanations are he jumped the 4ft high baby gate or my partner forgot to lock him in his confinement area. I am so worried this could be a set back to his TPA surgery we are trying to confine him but he also got down the basement stairs. We are spending the weekend doing more security upgrades but I am worried we have done him harm

At June 4, 2016 at 10:08 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

I he limping more or using the leg less? Unless you see changes in the way he's using the leg, you're likely in the clear.

But it could have been a setback. It's important to remain diligent, not counting on luck.

If in doubt, see the surgeon for evaluation.

At June 16, 2016 at 5:15 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hi, my dog is scheduled to get surgery on her ACL in 2 weeks. About how long do they leave the stitches/staples in?

At June 17, 2016 at 8:06 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Stitches/staples stay in about the same time as with any other surgery 10-14 days if everything is healing.

At July 3, 2016 at 4:11 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

My 7 yr old Yorkie had the tplo procedure for his acl on his back hind leg. He has had two bowel movements and is eating. Surgery was on Thursday and we picked him up Friday no problems until Sat night as he slept he was having bowel leakage. This happened twice he us on clindamycin could this be the antibiotic or reaction from surgery. I just find it weird that it's just started two days after surgery

At July 3, 2016 at 11:04 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Yes, that's strange. Loose or normal stool? Antibiotics can cause diarrhea but not involuntary bowel movements. What other meds is he on? What about pain management? I'd definitely call the vet about this.

At July 3, 2016 at 5:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 4-yr old American Bulldog had surgery on 6/29 on right knee. Brought her home on 6/30 with cast. Have been through this with her 6 months ago on left knee so not a newbie to recovery process. Worried about toes swelling. Last time wrapped them and over the hump in 2 days after home. This time wrapping is not helping. Took her to vet on Friday and they recommended wrapping but to take wrap off after 12 hours if doesn't come off on its own. No improvement so far. Will not be able to see regular vet until Tues due to holiday. All else appears well. Wondering if I should take her to emergency vet for check? Is it common for swelling to be a problem for this long?

At July 3, 2016 at 5:55 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Frankly, I never heard of a dog getting a cast after a knee surgery. However, swelling like that could be dangerous I believe. Yes, I'd err on side of caution and go to the emergency vet.

At July 5, 2016 at 2:55 AM , Blogger Cupcate said...

I'm desperate and at my wits end. My mini poodle Freddy had surgery on Friday. On Sat,I brought him home and he figured out how to pee standing up on both legs.

But since Sat, he has REFUSED to stand. And he hasn't peed for me. I finally took him back in last evening. They removed the bandage, and expressed his anal glands. And he stood, walked, and peed a bucketful and pooped for them immediately. As soon as I brought him home, he again refused to walk or even stand.

I have tried to be patient, but now I'm just so stressed out, I haven't slept for days, he cries continually (although he's on plenty of pain meds).I'm screwing this up! I don't know how to proceed, and I have to go back to work in 4 hours!

At July 5, 2016 at 7:57 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Sorry you're having such a hard time. Main question - could the bandage have anything to do with him not wanting to stand? Does he need the bandage? Jasmine didn't have a bandage either of the times she had knee surgery. While it is important to prevent the surgical site being licked, I don't think the bandage is needed - please think whether that could be the problem and talk to your vet about not using one.

Please note that [particularly a male] dog not peeing for extended periods of time can quickly become an emergency and another medical problem all together.

What meds is he on? If he constantly crying and not wanting to stand, it is possible that the pain management indeed is not sufficient.

If pain was to blame, do note that while being at a vet excitement level is high, adrenaline pumping and this often masks pain. Often vets are unable to observe a symptom for this reason.

Please talk to the vet about what is happening. Film it if needed so they can actually see it. Your vet needs to help you with this.

Did you try offering support when getting up, such as towel support, or they are a number of different types of hind end support harnesses out there. Your vet might even have one.

At July 7, 2016 at 4:03 PM , Blogger Renu Tandale said...

So glad this website is still up!

Mason is going for his surgery again on his other leg. Glad I can come read everything that we talked about before to calm myself before this!

At July 8, 2016 at 10:17 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Sorry your baby is going for another surgery. I'm really glad my experiences are helpful XOXOX

At July 9, 2016 at 12:13 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My staffy has had the MMP method of cruciate repair, I was wondering if anyone else has had this done? He is up to week four now and doing quite well but at his xray check up one of the pins had pulled away from the bone. I'm not sure my vet had seen this before and we are going back in four weeks to have it checked again. He is walking on it but has some pain after getting riled up at another dog.

At July 10, 2016 at 11:42 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

I would definitely do my best to minimize getting riled up at another dog or any intense movements. That could be why the pin is pulling away. I would be concerned about this. Perhaps your vet should consult with an orthopedic specialist or people who invented this procedure to find out what they think about this and what they recommend.

At August 17, 2016 at 5:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Jana and fellow acl injury families, thankyou for this forum! Our American Staffy has just had his second TPLO surgery in 2 years (diff legs). First one went great. This latest surgery went well however this time he has been far more active and hard to contain. He developed anxiety any time he was left at home which has made it hard as he was trying to break out of his pen/enclosure. At one point I asked our vet for something to keep him calm and he prescribed diazepam 5mg x4 tablets at a time - this was disastrous as he wouldnt settle down and was so wonky I was beside myself leaving him. Since then I have avoiding giving it too him or only given it if desperate and then I only give him one tablet. Anyway we are now 4.5 weeks past surgery. Last weekend the vet told me that he believes there is 'cranial draw' and that even though it was only 4 weeks post surgery he wasn't using his leg enough (he has weight bared basically from week 1-2weeks I would say graduating from 20% to 50% of the time now probably 70%of the time)and he recommends we now do the oestiotomy(sorry spelling....the op where you cut the bone). I was devastated to say the least as I have been nursing him all this time and it has caused so much anxiety as it is. However in the last few days we decided it was far too soon to make that decision so we are continuing with confinement and care a few more weeks then will seek another opinion. We recall with his first surgery he barely weight bared at all until 8 weeks! They were considering putting his front foot in his collar to make him use it. If his ACL was stuffed again wouldn't he be not wanting to weight bare at all? Geez this has been a stressful process (not to mention costly) but we love him so much we couldn't not help him. Cheers Lisa

At August 17, 2016 at 10:17 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Hi Lisa,
sorry you're going with such an ordeal with your second surgery.

First things first - TPLO IS the one where they cut the bone. So I'm assuming your dog had the surgery where they use sutures? That one goes under a number of different names, including traditional repair, suture technique and others.

Unfortunately, the suture can withstand only so much stress and it is possible for it to stretch or break. If that happens the knee indeed wouldn't have the stability to heal properly. If that's the case, and I'd likely want to get a second opinion on that first, the surgery could be repeated but unless the situation changes and you'd be able to keep him calmer, you're risking ending up at the same place you're at now.

The osteotomy (TPLO - there are other techniques)can withstand more abuse but there is a breaking point for that one too and setbacks can happen and technically can be more disastrous.

I do believe the leg should be used at this time post-op but I do feel that putting his front foot through his collar sounds pretty crazy. Not something I would even consider.

Physical therapy, however, such as underwater treadmill etc also encourages proper use of the leg without "crazy stunts" and asking for further injuries. Never heard of that one before and would not do it.

All that said, first thing to address, I believe is all the stress and anxiety. To facilitate Cookie's recovery we used Trazodone which worked quite well. The first two days she was wobbly about half an hour after each dose, we advocated for spreading same dose over more frequent administration. Over time, though, the effect evens out. So that might be something to ask about.

Another thing to consider might be a dog sitter who would be there so your dog doesn't have to be alone and freaking out, at least at the initial stages.

Depending on your dog's weight, he may or may not be a candidate for a different technique,

I figure he might be too large for their present limit, though; they are working on an implant for large dogs.

How old is your dog?

Anyway, things I'd do
- get a second opinion on the state of the knee
- see what you have available for physical therapy
- look into the Trazodone
- evaluate all options for what to do next if the knee indeed lost stability

If you give me your phone# or Skype, I'll be happy to call you and talk.

At August 17, 2016 at 4:15 PM , Blogger Sunil Kumar said...

We are having a TPLO tomorrow for our 5 year old Coorgy-Mix Browny and this Article and comments are really helpful in Calming us. He ruptured his ligament couple of weeks ago .Will update our Post Surgery Experiences .Thank again for the Post

At August 17, 2016 at 5:29 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Best of luck with the surgery! Do keep us posted.

At August 17, 2016 at 8:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jana I have got confused he had the suture surgery I was thinking it was TPLO. So he has the fake ligament. My Skype name is mlgigliotti1. I am in Australia not sure where you are? Cheers Lisa

At August 18, 2016 at 8:44 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

It's not really a fake ligament, it's the means of keeping the knee stable until enough scar tissue develops to stabilize it that way. I'm in Canada.

At September 16, 2016 at 3:45 PM , Blogger Magjig said...

I have a 66lb pitbull mix, she had ACL surgery in March 2016, that surgeon put a plate in,this was right leg,and now she tore her other ACL, I went to a vet that had available appt he said he could do the surgery but it doesn't use a plate. I am so confused now. I don't understand the types of surgery, I guess Ishould have found this all out back in March. I don't know if I should go back to other surgeon who did the first surgery. Also the new Vet doesn't believe in giving pain meds. The only reason I went to the new Vet was they had an appt open that same day, and then he said he does this type surgery, and charges less to help people so animals get help. I liked the other place and the surgeon, I feel so confused now. I had no idea there were different types of ACL surgery.

At September 17, 2016 at 9:55 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

If the new vet doesn't believe in pain management, that's your reason to stay away from him right there. Nothing else he has to say matters.

There are a number of surgeries out there
- suture/traditional technique; uses sutures to stabilize the joint until it heals
- Tight Rope/similar idea to the above but different material used
- TPLO; bone surgery, uses plates, changes the angles in the joint to stabilize it
- TTA; bone surgery, uses hardware to change the conformation of the bones to stabilize the joint
- TTO; combination of the two; plus there is one now with a different name but it's the same thing
- in England they do a modified TTO where they put a wedge for added strength and healing
- Simitri Stable in Stride; a new one out there, "hinge technique" which uses hardware to stabilize the joint but does not change bone conformation

If the first surgery worked well for your dog, I'd go with the same one

At October 10, 2016 at 10:20 PM , Blogger Adam Anderson said...

I live in an upstairs apartment and have no main floor. Every way in and out is steps. I have a back porch that I planned on using puppy pads on for her to use the bathroom. Should I postpone the surgery until I find a new place to stay? I don't want my dog to become permanently injured.

At October 11, 2016 at 9:58 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Well, it all depends on what solutions you can come up with. How many steps are there? Any possibility of making a ramp? If not, you could get your hands on one of the support harnesses and help her up and down that way. I think she'd be happier that way than having to go on puppy pads.

At November 7, 2016 at 10:18 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your article. Our black lab is having surgery in two weeks and I'm quite nervous. We are flying her two weeks after surgery. I'm beyond stressed.

Thank you again.

At November 27, 2016 at 4:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi our 4.5 yr old lab had surgery 8 weeks ago Type that uses line to allow scar tissue to formally. He's was doing great well. We had increased his expertise but last few days only toe touching or putting very little weight on foot. Back to vets Fri he was pleased with 70 degree movement in knee and no heat and swelling advised us to wait a while and see. Didn't see any jystification to sedate and xray/operate at minute. We've gone back to just toilet trips for potty and confined to one roomile but I am stressing what if he has injured it?

At November 27, 2016 at 6:41 PM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Some light toe-touching off and on would be expected but if it is consistent or pronounced, I'd be concerned about either insufficient pain management or a mishap resulting in the suture stretching. If the vet is happy enough with the knee stability, you could give a bit of time. Having to go back a step can happen but if he remains not putting weight on the leg I'd revisit with the vet.

At December 21, 2016 at 6:55 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

My Baby Girl just had surgery on Monday. I've noticed that she likes to lay on her injured side (left leg). I'm thinking she gets tired of laying on the opposite side. Is it OK/ normal for her to lay on the left side. I don't see her covering her wound or putting pressure on it, more worried about her incision. By the way you're super helpful. It's 4 AM here and reading all your tips, etc. is putting me at ease.

At December 21, 2016 at 6:58 AM , Blogger Alma Avalos said...

Sorry it's me again. One other question. Since her operation on Monday Baby Girl doesn't attempt to stand at all. She will sit up briefly and lay back down. I understand she's continuously medicated but is this normal? Should I encourage her to stand ?

At December 21, 2016 at 10:48 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Jasmine used to do that too and I was worried as well. Nothing major ever came of that. Gotta let them do what they gotta do. Just watch that the stitches are not coming apart.

At December 21, 2016 at 10:50 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Doesn't attempt to stand at all? How does she go potty? Most dogs are toe-touching the day of the surgery already; and at least she should be using the other three legs.

I wouldn't consider that normal. Not sure whether she's medicated too heavily or not enough but she should be able to stand up and walk a bit whether on three legs or toe-touching.

At December 21, 2016 at 4:36 PM , Blogger Alma Avalos said...

Hi, thanks for the quick response. She sits up on her own. She does use her other three legs but only when we get her up and out to use the bathroom. Usually she starts grunting so we help her stand up take her out (we use the sling to help lift her). Once she's out, with our help she takes a few steps on three legs and toe touches but she never initiates the walking.

At December 22, 2016 at 10:30 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

That's now what I would expect to see. I'd talk to the surgeon about this.

At December 22, 2016 at 7:54 PM , Blogger Mommamannie said...

Hello, so glad I found this article. Just rescued an 2 yr old female akbash last week. She had acl surgery on Nov 17th. Apparently she had the injury awhile and has some arthritis. The rescue or gave me no other info or any recovery instructions. She walks evenly, but is slow to sit. Should I be working on sit commands right now? Should I be taking her on walks. Sometimes I notice her stomp her other side lightly on the floor, could the other side have damage?

At December 22, 2016 at 7:57 PM , Blogger Mommamannie said...

We just adopted a two year old female akbash a week ago. She had ACL surgery on November 17th. The rescue organization didn't give me much information. They said she probably had the injury for a while and some arthritis set in. They also didn't give me any recovery instructions. She walks pretty evenly but sometimes I noticed that she stomps lightly with the other side. Could that mean there's damage on the other side? Should I start walking yet? Should I be practicing sit commands yet?

At December 23, 2016 at 11:57 AM , Blogger Jana Rade said...

Yes, there should be some leashed walking and some strength exercises and active stretching. Ideally, if you could work with a physical therapist, that'd be the best. The surgeon is typically the one who recommends the plan as well as adjusts based on progress.

For sit exercises, having a dog sit against an obstacle, such as a wall, encourages "proper" sit. See the below link for an example plan

Also there are great articles in the Physical Therapy section of my website.

At January 17, 2017 at 3:42 PM , Anonymous Pipper's mom said...

My dog Pipper had TPLO surgery on Thursday according to the surgeon it went well, she stayed overnight and came home Friday morning. First two days were really rough, whining, crying, not sleeping but not in any apparent pain, she was putting weight on her leg but yesterday she didn't want to move or get up, she started trembling and panting sometimes and her incision is seeping, she's holding her leg up and peeing on her bed. I called the clinic repeatedly and they said it was ok to ice it and put a towel on her leg to stop the seeping and just watch it. Am I overreacting? It doesn't look ok to me. Pipper has been created this whole time under 24 hr supervision. I feel that perhaps they don't want her to come in because she is extremely hard to handle.

At January 18, 2017 at 9:03 AM , Blogger Stephen Henderson said...

Hi There, I'm glad I found this site, thanks, my golden "kookie" has ruptured her back left cruciate, this was 4 weeks ago and we immediately took her to the vet who x-rayed her and confirmed her cruciate was ruptured, unfortunately where I stay (Scotland) there is a 6 week waiting list for the operation so she goes for it on 31st January
I know the operation has a high success rate but I have a few concerns about her post op, when she was sedated for the x ray and got home she had violent diarrhoea the next day about 12 times in 12 hours, the vet put this down to her being upset about what happened rather than any medication, my worry is that if this happened to her after the op that it would be extremely difficult for her and potentially damaging for her leg if she was not able to rest properly immediately after her operation, any help on this would be greatly appreciated,

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