Must haves for post-ACL surgery

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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby GoingPostal » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:19 pm

As far as Jersey, I'm not sold on anything yet, we just found out today and the vet would prefer to do a TPLO and apparently is the only one in the area who does any ccl surgery, he's 3 hours away but anyone else would be 5-6. Not a clue on what cost is for tplo or the other option yet but either way probably won't be done for several months while I save money so trying to do my research. If it does seem likely it will tear fully eventually why wait? I was planning to look up that brace as I noted you mentioned it in another thread, maybe do the brace while setting money aside. How mobile are dogs usually after a successful surgery?
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby Red » Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:16 am

GoingPostal wrote:Red can you send me the info on that xpen as well? Jersey just got diagnosed with a partial tear as well so I'd like to start collecting things we need.


Sure, PM sent.
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby Mortis » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:08 pm

GoingPostal wrote: How mobile are dogs usually after a successful surgery?

gunner had his operation nearly 4 months ago and is only now getting back to a more normal exercise routine, i was given a 6 month estimate to when he could do what ever he wanted again. i found the restrictions very hard on gunner he wanted to play and run etc and i couldn't let him. if it is a partial tear i would defintely try the brace first and leave the operation as a last option.

good luck with blu's operation
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby lilangel » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:35 pm

And if you are going to opt for surgery then a brace, in addition, will get your dog back on all fours so much faster. You can even have your surgeon make the cast of your dog's leg either right before surgery or while your dog is out.

You will have almost no down time and your dog will not suffer the muscle atrophy that is often associated with knee surgeries.
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby IloveBlu » Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:42 pm

We picked Blu up yesterday afternoon. He had a fully torn cruciate, so I'm glad we did the surgery. He's on tramadol, deramaxx and cipro. As of this morning, he is attempting to walk in his pen on both legs (no toe touching like yesterday).

The car ride home yesterday was rough, but he was late on his pain med., so once he got home, medicated and settled in his pen with comfy blankets, beds and pillows, he calmed down. He was in the pen for the afternoon and we took turns sitting with him. He mostly wanted to sleep, but didn't turn down food or water. Because one of us was watching him 100% of the time, we didn't cone him until we transferred him into his crate in our bedroom at bedtime. He completely freaked out and began thrashing around his crate, I've never seen him anywhere close to that. I moved him down to his pen in the living room, removed the cone and camped out with him on the floor (my back is killing me today) for the night. He was up a few times panting and had trouble settling until his 6am pain pill, but I think he's more comfortable spreading out in the pen than the crate. I stayed up from 1am to 6am making sure he didn't lick. Yes, I'm exhausted and yes, we're trying an inflatable today rather and the comfy cone.

All in all, we're all tired and I just want my pup to be pain-free and comfortable. I'm trying to figure out where he's going be when I'm not home - crate or pen. Also trying to figure out if I should have a dog walker come and let him out for potty break or not take any chances and just have him hold it until we're home (9ish hours).
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby mtlu » Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:20 pm

If you can find someone you can trust who understands what needs to happen and not happen while he's recovering from surgery, I would opt for a dog walker in the middle of the day. I'm not sure if others experienced this but Molly could not hold her pee as long as usual. She averaged about 4hrs between pee breaks during the first two weeks when she was on all the meds. After that, she was able to build back up to a more normal pee schedule. We took vacation time right after her surgeries to be home with her during the first two weeks because we could not find someone who would carry her up and down the stairs to the backyard to use the bathroom.

I almost got one of those indoor pee tray-things with the fake grass but we were able to adjust our schedules to not need to get one. A neighbor down the street who also has a full set of stairs to get in/out of the house did get one of those indoor pee things for his boxer who also had cruciate surgery. I don't think his girlfriend was able to carry the boxer up and down the stairs.

As for where to leave him during the day, wherever he will be calm and not stressed would probably be best. We had a tall x-pen for Molly since we have never been able to crate train her (she would show huge signs of stress even with very slow desensitization).

I hope Blu has a speedy and uncomplicated recovery :hug:
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby irkenequine » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:54 pm

You've been given some phenomenal advice! Just wanted to say I hope your baby has a quick and painless recovery :)

I work in specialty surgery so I work overnight ICU--and am often watching 5+ different dogs that had TPLO's/lateral sutures done. As much rehab you can squeeze in during recovery will make a big difference too. Your baby's lucky to have such a dilligent owner! I can offer any advice too if you need it but mtlu's definitely got it all :)
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby FBODGRL » Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:20 pm

I hope he recovers fast and as good as new!


What type of cone did you end up getting? Maybe you could try switching to a different style and seeing how he does :dunno:
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby IloveBlu » Sat Sep 10, 2011 5:41 pm

His dr. said absolutely no rehab or walks at all (except potty breaks) until the xrays are taken at 6-8weeks. I was surprised to hear this since I know many people on here were doing light PT right after surgery. Are most dogs only on the pain meds for one week? That's all they prescribed for Blu.

Luckily I can set Blu up where he only needs two or three steps up so I'm hoping our vet tech dog walker can do that. We have a sling but Blu freezes when we use it, so we've been carrying him up and down the stairs. Outside to potty is only a few minutes and I let him go sling free since he won't pee/poop with the sling on...does that sound okay?

We used the comfy cone and just bought the inflatable collar which he tolerates but I think he can still access his back leg (he isn't really trying except for a stray lick or two so I'm keeping the inflatable on and seeing what happens.
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby irkenequine » Sat Sep 10, 2011 6:53 pm

We generally perscribe Rimadyl/Tramadol for a week to two weeks here. I'm suprised (not in a condescending way, every vet has their own method of success) about the no-rehab...all TPLO's here are given rehab (range of motion) and laser immediately following surgery and every 6 hours prior (I do them at 2 AM on all the guys here overnight), followed by icing. But definitely no heavy PT like underwater treadmill work until 6-8 weeks as well.

As long as you're right there and holding the sling in case he gets wobbly, I often have to drop the sling to get animals to urinate/deficate here (we jokingly call it 'sling fright :P). Some (most) dogs do NOT feel comfortable doing their business hitched up tight in the sling, just make sure you're watching like a hawk (as I'm sure you are.) One swift slip will ruin all of your progress!

I prefer those inflatable collars...especially on a bully breed with big slobbery happy mouths, a few days in an e-collar and the inside of that thing becomes a wet humid rainforest...hellooo ear infections! Not to mention how it easily slices the skin off the back of your legs XD
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby mtlu » Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:11 pm

Molly had TPLO both times and we were instructed to do lots of passive stretching and light massage during the first two weeks. At the end of two weeks, the staples came out so that gave the surgeon another chance to see how she was doing. At that point, we started with two 5-minute walks a day and then built up slowly from there, monitoring muscle strength and confidence of footing (not exuberance) to guide when to increase walk duration. I found that massaging her foot and toes of the leg that was operated on seemed to help a lot. They did give a breakdown/schedule of how much to increase the walks as the weeks go by but since there's a lot of variation with recovery, the schedule is less important than monitoring muscle strength.

I don't know what the activity recommendations are for recovery from TTA – that's the surgery Blu had? I would imagine they should be somewhat similar but since the repair methods differ, I can see where the recovery would differ as well.

The surgeon prescribed two kinds of antibiotics and metacam for the first ten days. Enough tramadol for ten days was also prescribed but the typical schedule they recommended for the tramadol was whole pills every 12 hrs for the first few days and then taper down to half a pill and then down to nothing. After two weeks, we still had several whole pills of tramadol left over. With the metacam, we were advised that it could be given safely as needed after the first ten days so we had more than half a bottle (it's a liquid) left over after the full eight weeks.

irkenequine wrote:...all TPLO's here are given rehab (range of motion) and laser immediately following surgery and every 6 hours prior (I do them at 2 AM on all the guys here overnight), followed by icing. But definitely no heavy PT like underwater treadmill work until 6-8 weeks as well.

Sounds like you work at a really nice place :thumbsup:
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby irkenequine » Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:41 pm

Yeah its got some great features... I'm fortunate to be here lol But even being here, when I see some people bring their dog 5 days a week for water therapy, accupuncture, laser therapy, accupressure...boggles the senses. Kudos to those folks, that takes some looooooooooooooooooove.

(Btw your Molly is precious...and I am lovin' that collar B)
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby IloveBlu » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:04 am

Yes, Blu had TTA. They basically want you to do nothing for 6-8 weeks...no walks, no icing, no touching or massaging, etc. Just observe it to make sure it's clean and dry. We went to the most recommended orthopedic surg. center in our area so I'm hoping they know what they're talking about. If necessary I will be calling to see if we can extend the abx and pain med if necessary after the first week. He is taking a whole tramadol every eight hours right now and at about the 7th hour, he starts panting and showing signs of discomfort. And given his affinity to staph infections, I would really like to keep him on abx as long as possible.

We had another trying night over here. At about 12am, I woke up to the sound of licking. I jumped out of bed, ran to his crate and saw that Blu was able to reach his incision with the inflatable collar/cloud on. :po: So, on went the dreaded comfy cone(along with treats and lots of reassurance because he seems to think the cone is some sort of punishment) and Blu stressed out big time. I figured he would calm down in a few so I waited and no dice. Again we removed him from the crate and put him in the pen thinking he needed a little more space (he is very comfortable in the pen without the cone) and he just sat up whining. I went in and tried to comfort him and eventually he laid down and fell asleep. It took about two hours. The minute I got up from the pen, he freaked out again. So I had another night on the floor in the pen with him. I almost took the cone off but I knew I would fall asleep and wanted to be sure. Plus he will need to be coned when we go to work and I want him to get used to it.

Right now I am laying on the couch and he is snoozing in his pen cone-free. I have a blanket over him and am watching his head movement like a hawk. My fiance is out at the pet stores seeing if they have anything that may be more tolerable.

On a positive note, one of our friends is letting us borrom a 4'x4' enclosed kennel for the basement so Blu is contained better than the pen but not as tight as in the crate when we are gone. Just hoping I have room for it down there.
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby PitBull-Lady » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:20 am

Stay strong! The first week is in my mind the most difficult for all of you. It sounds like you are doing all the right things and trying out lots of different things to find what works for your situation.

Congratulations on being a dog parent to emulate :)
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Re: Must haves for post-ACL surgery

Postby mtlu » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:12 am

Is he eating okay? Are you giving him all the pills with meal time? If I remember correctly, the meds can cause stomach discomfort/nausea and are best taken with food – I'm wondering if that might be affecting Blu. Tramadol usually has a mild "knock out" effect on Molly so she was easier to manage during the first week when she was on a full/close to full dosage.

Is the comfy cone the big soft one – not inflatable but a fabric-type material that tightens at the neck with a drawstring? That is the style cone we had for Molly and it worked way better when we used a really large one and flipped it down over her shoulders. That way, when she lay down, her head could still be on a pillow/blanket (yes, she's a princess) and the cone actually covered her body when she curled up in a ball. Also, with the cone flipped down, she could still stand up and drink out of her water bowl inside the x-pen. She was thirstier than usual too on all the meds. We had to tie the cone through her collar so she couldn't pull it off and she was less bothered by the bulk/noises it made when it was flipped down rather than the usual up position that blocks vision and messed with her concept of where her body is in relation to barriers.

How many steps go down to the basement? If you have room and can deal with the temporary ugliness of having the 4x4 kennel (awesome of your friend to lend it :) ) in the main level of the house, I would do that to avoid stairs or having to carry him.

It's hard and stressful but I think you're doing all the right things to try to keep him comfortable :hug:
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