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How to Take Care of Your Dog After TPLO Surgery

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TPLO surgery – which stands for tibial plateau levelling osteotomy – is a surgical procedure to the cranial or anterior cruciate ligament.

Ordinarily, a damaged cruciate ligament for a dog happens subtly, with the most common ways being skidding, twisting, jumping, or turning awkwardly on their back legs. Symptoms of cruciate problems include limping, lameness in the hind limbs, and reluctance to go on walks or exercise in general.

For dog owners everywhere, it can be a very distressing incident, not least because of the pain your pet is going through and their more subdued personality due to the damage. Thankfully, TPLO surgery is there to solve the issue, ensuring that your dog gets back to normal health and is ready to have some fun again!

Having said that, TPLO issues do not stop immediately after the surgery is complete. As a dog owner, it is your job to follow the right steps and ensure that their recovery is a complete success. With this in mind, here is everything you should do to take care of your dog after TPLO surgery:

Firstly, Prepare For The Future

If you haven’t yet got pet insurance, the first thing you should do after surgery is insure the future and protect your dog from any injuries or issues down the line. Coverage for today’s dogs ordinarily includes everything from surgery, emergency care, bloodwork, medication, cancer, ultrasounds, injections, and much more. It’s always best to be safe – especially where your beloved pets’ health is concerned!

Make That First Week As Comfortable As Possible

When it comes to your dog’s TPLO recovery, it’s important to ensure that the first week is as comfortable as possible. The muscles in the knee are asking to rest, so try to keep your dog calm, relaxed, and out of mischief! You can do this by confining your dog to a single room – the lounge or kitchen is best, to ensure your dog doesn’t get lonely! Prepare some clean bedding that is free of dog fur, and make sure to clean up often to prevent any infection.

Help The Muscles To Recuperate

To aid the recuperation process, you should also perform regular dog massages, which include ten repetitions of quadriceps muscle massage three times a day. As well as this, try to flex the knee from mild-to-moderate pressure at least twice a day, followed by an ice pack to soothe any swelling. If you can, see if you have any dog pools nearby with underwater treadmills. In terms of physiotherapy for dogs, this is one of the best ways to speed up the process and ensure the muscles are exercised efficiently and safely.

Start To Build Up Their Walks

After three or so weeks, your dog is going to be getting pretty restless! It’s important not to relent to their demands, however, and only ever take your dog out on a leash. Around the 3-to-4-week mark, bump up those walks to around 5-to-10 minutes twice a day. Once again, this is done to build up the muscles and ensure that they are exercised – keeping the muscles still and unworked will only elongate the recovery, and it could even make them more susceptible to damage when your dog does get back to the way they were.

Push The Healing Process To The Next Level

Even at the 6-week mark, you should still be massaging your dog, carrying out PROM – passive range of motion – applying ice packs and using an underwater treadmill if you can. But it is now that you should start pushing the healing process a little further. Take your dog on leash walks for 20-to-30 minutes rather than 5-to-10. Map out the walk to include some inclines and stairs, too, if possible. Carry out some figure-of-eight exercises, and have little plays with your dog – tug of war is a great way to work those hind legs and stretch out the muscles.

The End Of Recovery

Toward the end of the recovery period – around weeks 9-to-12 – you can start getting your dog back to normal. Take them on faster walks more times a day, allow them to go on a few runs, and gradually get them back to the activity they were used to before the injury took place. Make sure you’re continuously reevaluating their recovery with a post-surgery evaluation if you’re unsure about their progress, and always allow your dog to lead the way – if they seem tired, let them rest, and don’t push an excess of exercise onto them. Lastly, give them a few treats to say well done on pulling through. They deserve it, and you probably do too!

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