AFTERCARE FOR CRUCIATE REPAIR PATIENTS
Ligament replacement technique
POST ANAESTHETIC CARE
Your pet may be "groggy" during the anaesthetic recovery period for up to 48 hours. Confine the animal until fully conscious to prevent misadventure.
Occasionally animals vomit after an anaesthetic so we advise only a small drink of water be given until your pet can walk properly. Because the anaesthetic gas is administered via a rubber tube in the windpipe some animals cough a little for a few days post-operatively.
Minor discomfort is indicated by licking at the stitches. Pain on touching the incision site is to be expected.
We recommend that the animal spends the night after the surgery in the clinic so that we can manage some of these problems with our trained staff and provide adequate pain relief.
Your dog will receive an antibiotic injection/s prior to and during surgery and may require a course of antibiotic tablets to be completed at home to prevent infection at the surgical site. Often pain relief tablets, or syrup are also prescribed for home use.
HOW MUCH EXERCISE?
- Initially your pet will be reluctant to move much. A short (no more than 5 minutes) walk on the lead 3-4 times a day for going to the toilet is fine. In between times your pet must be confined to a small area (an old playpen is a good option for small dogs) where he/she isn’t able to jump onto beds or sofas. If Rob usually stays outdoors he/she should be safely confined to an area about the size of an average laundry or tied up on a 2 metre or shorter chain
A small amount of physiotherapy is recommended if tolerated by your pet. Gently move the knee to flex and extend the joint for about 10 repetitions twice a day, just to the degree of bend your pet will comfortably tolerate. The degree of bend will improve as the inflammation improves.
Skin sutures are removed 10-14 days after surgery. There is usually no extra charge for this consultation, although we like to discuss any issues and check the surgery site so please book an appointment.
At this time your pet should be just starting to balance on or touch the toe of the affected leg to the ground at a walking pace.
After suture removal, the amount of exercise can now be slowly and steadily increased to 10 minutes walking at a slow, steady pace a couple of times a day. As your pet feels more comfortable you can continue building up the exercise but it should always be on the lead. Swimming can be a good activity for restoring movement if weather and pet agreeable.
Sunburn can be a problem on the leg that has had surgery, especially in summer and with dogs that spend most or all of their time outside. Sunscreen formulated for animals can be purchased from the vets.
Your Veterinarian may discuss with you any arthritic change that may be present in the knee at the time of surgery, and may recommend the use of Synovan ™ (weekly injections under the skin for 4 weeks) to aid the healing of the joint. An omega oil supplement or the feeding of Hills j/d™ diet designed for dogs and cats with joint injury or arthritis, is likely to be recommended as additional benefit to the repair process.
By 6 weeks your pet should be reasonably comfortable on the leg but allow 3 months for full rehabilitation of the injured knee.
OUTLINE OF REHABILITATION AFTER KNEE SURGERY
Week 1 & 2
Complete restriction of activity except physiotherapy on knee, toilet breaks 2-4 times per day on a lead
Week 3 & 4
5 minute lead walks twice daily, with restriction of activity in between, with toilet breaks as needed
Weeks 5 & 6
10 minute lead walks twice daily, with restriction of activity in between, with toilet breaks as needed
Weeks 7 & 8
15 minute lead walks twice daily, with restriction of activity in between, with toilet breaks as needed
Weeks 9 & 10
20 minute lead walks twice daily, can be let out of holding area as long as jumping and excessive running is restricted
Weeks 11 & 12
Finally the expected recuperative period is over! Allow normal activity except for trying to discourage jumping and other forceful motions on the knee. Swimming is an excellent exercise to encourage strengthening of the knee muscles and maximise full range of motion
Walking pace for any of these lead walks should be at a pace that the dog is choosing to use the “sore” leg by taking some weight on the foot. This slow pace allows effective rehabilitation of the muscles and soft tissues around the joint. In the first few weeks this may be quite slow, (slow wander), but will increase probably to a brisk walk by the end of week 8-10.