Pets

Any post-surgery tips for canine ACL surgery?

My four year old Lab is having an ACL repair tomorrow. Because of the extensive damage, we are having the tightrope repair (cable and two plates). She will be restricted to no steps, jumping, playing, running, or off-leash walking for 3 weeks. We are getting a mild sedative for her.

Any advice or tips post-surgery to expect? This is my first major surgery for any pet aside from the typical spay.

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Re: Any post-surgery tips for canine ACL surgery?

  • Rest as much as possible & keep the ecollar on.
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  • I would highly recommend prepping some kongs with frozen goodies, and keeping her on crate rest with the kongs. You could also pick up some bully sticks or an antler. Do you have any treat dispensing toys like the kong wobbler that you could use to feed her meals from? Tiring her out mentally can help.

     

    We just went through surgery for a luxating patella with one of our pups, and the first week, she didn't want to do much. We're now 4.5 weeks post op, and she is SO full of energy and trying to roughhouse and leap off of everything. Mentally stimulating her helps the most. 

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  • Cooper was very lazy for days after his 1st surgery. Im not sure if it was the anesthesia, or just sort of the shock to his body...or a combination of the two. I was actually pretty surprised b/c I thought for sure we'd have our hands full, & we didn't. Even @ his energy level (he's a GSP) we didn't need any sedatives, we didn't have much trouble keeping him inactive....until he started to feel better.

    I'd say the most imortant thing is to follow the Vets post-op instructions to a T. That includes the timing of the activity restrictions (the instructions should be laid out in a day to day, then week by week format). Its very very important that you do this. B/c once she starts to feel better, you are going to forget that she just had surgery & start letting her do stuff that she might not be ready for, but acts like she is...its hard not to let them...esp b/c you feel bad for them. But IMO, how well you follow the Vets post-op instructions can really determine the success of the surgery.

    Are you planning to crate confine?? I'd highly recommend this. Even though Cooper had free run of the house for years prior to his surgery, we crate confined for his safety (which of course, he hated  Lol). We only felt it was necessary to do till his stitches came out, & then we just confined him to our living room while we were gone. He gets so excited when we get home & we didn't want him slipping all over our tiled kitchen floor when we walked in the door. For his 2nd & 3rd surgeries we did not crate confine at all, but we did confine him to the living room again. 

    My best piece of advice for you is, stay calm while she's in surgery; she'll be ok! & stay strong post-op!! Once she starts to feel better you might start going crazy b/c she's *dying* of bordem Lol, but she'll be fine. If my 4 y/o GSP can survive the activity restriction, any dog can! Haha. Its always harder on you then it is on them, so just remember to tell yourself that when/if she's driving you crazy!!

    HTH & GL!! I'll be praying for you both tomorrow! & Cooper seyz good luck to her too! Big Smile

     

    Cooper age 8, Taylor age 14

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  • Thanks for all of the advice!

    We do have several kongs for her so I will keep that in mind. I do think that she will probably be lethargic the first few days, but I am mostly worried about once she starts feeling better. This has been the problem since she first had the injury. She would feel a little bit better, and decide to hop around or take off running and when you tried to stop her it got even worse!

    We are not to going to crate her at first, but probably will next week.  We'll actually be off from tomorrow until Monday and be with her during the day and night so I think that will be easier than when we go back to work.  Crating her at night may be necessary though.  We can shut her off so that she can only be in the living room (no steps and carpet) after we go back to work if we feel like its ok or we can crate her.

    She has such anxiety about going to the vet anyway, I know she is going to be terrified. Of course today she is blissfully unaware of whats about to happen! Ah, to be a dog some days!

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  • And Rocksie says thanks for the good thoughts :)

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  • Rest is the most important part of the recovery and limited activity which can be hard on dogs. Rest is not only important to preventing her from tearing any sutures and repairs to her cruciate but also to prevent the other cruciate ligament from tearing. This is often seen in dogs who tear one CL - during the recovery process they end up tearing the other one because of the added stress on that leg. I would highly recommend crating her as much as possible even though it may not seem fair, it is the best way to assure she isn't putting added stress on her good leg. If she is being too active the vet can give you mild tranquilizer pills that won't knock her out completely but they will help her relax more and prevent her from getting up and down frequently - just something to consider if her recovery isn't going well. Best of luck tomorrow, she'll do just fine!!!
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  • image steeser03:

    And Rocksie says thanks for the good thoughts :)

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    Aw!

    Aside from boylema's advice, mine is to watch her calorie intake since she won't be burning energy! If she's like my dog, she eats just to burn all.that.danged.energy! So without activity she needed less food. 

    We have a corgi, and worried about confining her, but I think it was a relief for her because she knew she wasn't feeling right and didn't feel like she had to move around for her daily routine. As soon as I realized this, I relaxed and she did too! The first couple of weeks, really the first four until we got the ok to start activity, she was in her crate if we could not devote all attention to her. This was for her safety since I *knew* she would try to hop on and off the sofa or run downstairs (we live on a second level with the stairs in our unit). Yup, as soon as we blinked, she hopped up or dwn or went downstairs. She was ok, but we decided it wasn't worth the catastrophic risk.

    Corki was the same as Cooper. At first, she was like blah. That lasted about a week when her phentanol (sp?) patch came off. Then she was more herself and realizing her leg felt pretty good and wanted to move. That's when we started mental stimulation. I highly recommend meals in a treat puzzle, because it'll wear them out safely!

    Corki ignored her stitches, but she still got the cone when we couldn't watch her 100%.  She also got the cone for a few days after her stitches came out per doctors rec. The surgeon said too many times he's seen a very healthy wound licked open. Part of that though was because her wound was dehiscing (clear liquid seeping out of it, generally from activity but she did no activity so I'm not sure) which made licking more appealing. Once I was able to clean it and watch her behavior for a weekend, the cone was gone. (No baths for several weeks, like until full activity resumes so she doesn't slip!). DO NOT CARRY THE DOG, SHE'S TOO BIG. If you fall, it is dangerous for both of you, she can't catch herself. Don't have DH carry her either, and don't tag team. Do this instead with a towel, of course at a minimum, but good for stairs, or one stair even, to potty or go to bed.You can help lift as much as needed, and if her leg slips, you are holding her anyway, so no injury. (Take off the cone for potty, but put on a leash in place of the cone so you can control her. image

    I took time off work to care for her, which was unnecessary since she lived in her crate, but it was good for me. Sometimes my brother would come over to give her pain meds during the day because I did not want to get behind on those! DH takes an early lunch so he'd come home mid morning and I take a late lunch so I'd come home mid afternoon. These visits were more for me, because even when she's feeling great she sleeps like a log all day. 

    Your dog looks healthy and strong, which is a h.u.g.e advantage! The muscles will weaken, and my dog had some huge leg muscles from snow in the winter, herding a frisbee year round, and swimming in the summer. Because she had more muscle, her atrophy was slower, and recovery easier. Also, keep your dog on the lower end of healthy weight for life. And with the loss of activity, watch her food intake so she doesn't gain weight. 

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  • Here's Corki a couple of weeks after surgery. You can see her hair fuzz growing back, and it still shed! She loves sunbathing, and that was all she was allowed to do!

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    ETA, pardon the AW... She's my babyyyy! 

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  • Thanks so much for all the great advice! I just dropped her off and they said they would call me mid-afternoon to let me know how the surgery went.
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