TPLO Surgery Advice – Charlie’s Story

TPLO Advice

My dog, Charlie (2 year old black lab) was running for a ball at the dog park, tripped in a hole, and yelped. He was diagnosed with a torn ACL and scheduled for surgery at a cost of $2500 plus (plus the cost of the exam and x-ray-another $250 since they had to sedate him).

We brought him home after about 5 hours. He had bright pink bandages going up his leg to protect the incision. The E-cone freaked him out, to the point where I was worried about him damaging his leg. He slept most of the evening. During the night I took him out to the backyard to pee, then back inside to drink and take his pills. After a full day of laying down, he felt comfortable where he crawled up on the couch where he laid the remainder of the evening/night.

TPLO Recovery

The first week was a slow week of taking him out to pee/poop. The second week, he had much more energy, still limped quite a bit. 3-5th week, increasingly energy. We’re at about the 7 week point right now. Let me just tell you, trying to keep a normally active dog contained is next to impossible. The reality is, I never crated him. The few times that I tethered him, he chewed the leashes in half. He ate his Kong into shreds in less than 5 minutes. Good luck getting him to lay quietly all day with a Kong. I We took him with us in the car so he could get out. We stayed home with him a lot but let him putter along side us when we do things around the house. We bent the rules a lot with Charlie. He seems to be healing well.

At 7 weeks, he walks with barely a limp. The vet assistant had to convince her co-worker that she saw his surgery, as he jumped up and over their desk (their fault, not mine) at 4 weeks post surgery. For him, relaxing the rules worked in his favor. It probably isn’t for everyone. His leg looks just like the other one, no muscular weakness.

TPLO Recovery 7 Weeks

My advice to other future TPLO moms and dads:

  1. Choose a vet who has performed lots of the surgeries and explains it well
  2. Take at least 3 days off work to spend with your dog
  3. Get a soft cone or one of the blow up cones that look like travel pillows. (Some flexible dogs CAN bend to lick their wounds-mine did)
  4. Get the more expensive pills that are like edible treats. Trying to get your dog to eat 16 pills per day…he won’t eat peanut butter or cheese any more, as he’s suspicious.
  5. Cut down on their food consumption as they’re not able to exercise

One thought on “TPLO Surgery Advice – Charlie’s Story

  1. Charlie’s behavior is similar to my Annie’s after her TPLO. She is now 4 weeks post-op and is doing well. She still terrifies me when she takes off after one of our cats. We still take her out on her leash to do her business. She was good about leaving her incision alone, and we never used the collar, however, one of us was with her 24/7 to watch her.
    We all slept in the living room so that any licking sounds would be heard, but she did very well. Early in the morning, when the leg is well rested, she walks with barely a limp. As the day progresses and fatigue sets in, she seems to limp a bit more.
    For pill administration, I have found the best thing is liver sausage with the pills stuck in.

    Annie is a Lab/hound mix and looks a lot like Charlie.

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