At first your veterinarian will want to see you a few days after the procedure, then at 1-2 weeks, and then at 6 weeks. At the 6 week post op appointment, x-rays will be taken of your dog’s leg to make sure that everything is healing properly. During these post operative visits it is important to discuss your dog’s progress with your vet, making note of any changes or anything else that just “doesn’t seem right”.
Your veterinarian will prescribe a few medications to make your pet more comfortable and to help prevent infection for the first week following CCL repair surgery. They will prescribe an NSAID (non-steroidal anti inflammatory) such as Carprofen or Meloxicam. The NSAID will be used for at least 7 days, but most likely longer following a TTO surgery.
Your vet will also prescribe oral antibiotics in either the cephalosporin or penicillin family. The antibiotic course will be anywhere from 5-14 days. Again, go with your veterinarian’s recommendations and do not stop the dosage before all of the pills have been taken.
You may also be given a tranquilizer or other calming agent to keep your pet quiet while they recover. We were given Acepromazine for our dog during his recovery process.
Pain medications may also be given to help your dog through the first few days following the procedure. If it is at all possible, it is advisable to keep your dog overnight at the facility where they are having the TTO done – as long as the facility is constantly staffed throughout the night. This way your dog can be monitored all evening after the procedure and can continue to receive pain medications via IV.
Post Op to 6 Weeks
Your veterinarian will recommend your pet have very minimal exercise for the first 6 weeks following the TTO surgery. It is recommended that you set up a confined, carpeted area in the home where the dog can stay. It is optimal if this area is located close to where your dog will need to go to use the bathroom. 10 minutes of any type of exercise/movement is the absolute maximum during this crucial time following the TTO.
Many people get creative with ways to help out their pet during the recovery process. You can fashion a sling out of a towel to help your dog get up and down. Other people install ramps if their dog needs to navigate steps in order to go outside. The best thing you can do to ensure your dog has the best recovery possible is to plan as far ahead of the surgery as possible, making sure that the home is safe, quiet and secure to allow them the best chance at an optimal recovery.
After 6 Weeks
If the healing process is taking place as planned, leashed walking can typically begin around the 6 week mark. It is important to start off slow with the walks as your dog will have experienced a significant amount of muscle atrophy as a result of the extended resting period. The best way to begin incorporating walks is to go for a few walks of short duration. On the first day maybe take three to four, 4 minute walks, and work your way up gradually over the next two weeks. By 8 weeks it is ok (as long as your dog is doing well) to increase the walks to a maximum of two, 20 minute walks per day.
If at all possible, this is also a good time to do swimming (in water deeper than they are able to stand) or walking up slight inclines. Both of these types of exercises will help to rebuild lost muscle mass.
Unsupervised play, as well as jumping, stairs or other types of roughhousing should continue to be avoided until about the 12-16 week period. At 12-16 weeks after the TTO surgery your dog should be almost back to normal. If not, make an appointment to go in and see your veterinarian for a recheck.