When you go home the nurse will go through all the medication and care plan. Please anything you are unsure about just ask.
Antibiotics are normally given for 5 days post op.
For Pain Relief, we tend to start with a combination of a non-steroidal analgesic which should be given every day. We will also send your dog home with additional pain relief for you to use if your dog still feels sore. If in doubt, giving too much pain relief is better than not enough!
If your dog will let you, apply an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel around the stifle three times daily for about seven minutes each day.
When you take your dog home, especially in the first couple of weeks we need to keep him / her restricted. Avoid all slippery surfaces (laminate floors etc.), stairs and any form of jumping.
When you are with your dog, they can potter about freely as long as they are on carpets/non slip floors and not able to jump up onto chairs etc.
When unsupervised your dog must be left in either a collapsible kennel or a small room max 3m x 3m.
We do like to start controlled exercise fairly soon after the surgery to keep muscle bulk and good joint movement.
For the first couple of days you can take your dog out to the garden on a lead to go to the toilet then straight back in.
From day 3 onwards slow, controlled steady lead walks initially in the garden then outside are recommended. Initially 5 minutes twice daily ideally with your dog on your right if it was the right leg operated on or left if it was the left.
Exercise can gradually be increased if your dog seems comfortable. Add 5 minutes to the time of each walk. Increasing by this amount every 5 days or so. After week 2 you can also increase the frequency of walks going out 3-4 times. 3-4 shorter walks are more beneficial than one long walk.
We normally check your dog 4-5 days after the surgery then a week later. We then normally have you back in for a post-op X-ray at 4 weeks. Once we can see the implants are stable and things are healing as expected we will get you to increase the amount of exercise.
In the early stages we will show you how to do passive range of motion exercises. The important thing with these is they are passive! They involve gentle extension and flexion of the knee. This should be done 2-3 times a day with about 10 slow gentle repetitions. Again if your dog is happy to allow it gentle massage of the quadriceps muscles above the knee for 5 minutes before these passive movements is helpful.
After 3-4 weeks we might suggest some hydrotherapy in our water treadmill. This allows us to build muscle bulk and improve range of motion and gait in a controlled manner.