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Dog Knee & ACL Surgery Recovery From an Insider’s Perspective

Scout, my German Shorthaired Pointer, is only four years old but has already endured two ACL surgeries (both knees) and a meniscus tear surgery. I am well acquainted with each surgery and its recovery time. The weeks following any knee surgery are difficult for the dog as well as his guardian. I felt so bad for Scout. He looked so sad sitting in his kennel with his leg all bandaged up.

“There are many procedures that have as their goal the stability and comfort of the stifle joint,” says Dr. G. Timothy Lee, DVM  of VCA Northwood in Anderson, Indiana. Dr. Lee’s practice is limited to referral surgery and was Scout’s surgeon for all three knee surgeries. “The most common procedures done by orthopedic specialists include the TPLO, TTA (Scout’s surgery), Tightrope, Lateral Imbrication Sutures, and the Fibular Head Transposition. The procedure used will vary with the dog involved and the experience of the surgeon.”

Scout and I are no strangers to compression bandages, staples, the dreaded e-collar, and lengthy rehab. Each dog will have its own rehab schedule, so what I’ll do here is give you five tips to assist your beloved doggy with recovery from knee surgery.

Tip #1: Follow your vet’s post op instructions

While this is going to seem like a no-brainer, but first and foremost, follow your surgeon’s rehab schedule to a T. The more you pay attention to instructions sent home with your pooch following surgery, the more quickly your pup and you can fall into a regular rehab schedule and get well. “Under the best of circumstances you must allow six to eight weeks before your pet is allowed to do everything it wants to do. For the first couple of weeks a passive range of motion exercise regimen is helpful,” Dr. Lee said.

It is really important to heed the good doctor’s advice.

Read carefully, you will learn from my shortcomings and brain-fades!

Tip #2: Two people should pick your pup up from the hospital

Each time Scout was released from the hospital, I made the mistake of picking him up all by myself. (Apparently, I have a very short memory!) He was ready to leave and go home and wanted out of there! As such, he was difficult to confine in the car. If someone had accompanied me to the vet, I could have sat in the back seat with Scout and kept him calm, still, and quiet during the ride home.

Tip #3: When out of the kennel, always have your dog on a leash

Seems pretty obvious, but you don’t want your recovering pup tearing out of the door after a squirrel or the neighbor’s cat. Keeping Scout on a leash, even when he was in the house, kept him under control, out of harm’s way and from jumping on the furniture! “Most surgeons recommend leash-only exercise when outside for the first four to five weeks,” Dr. Lee adds.

Tip # 4: Confine your pooch in a crate, kennel or small room

During rehab and recovery, your pup will need to be confined in a crate, kennel or small room to limit his activity and movement. A well-ventilated crate or kennel will limit any unnecessary activity. Keep in mind, your dog will need some room to adjust its position so he can be comfortable in several positions. Those little joints can get a little stiff being in one position all day.

Tip #5: Support your dog’s hind quarters to lift weight off the healing joint

When talking with Dr. Lee following Scout’s surgeries, he reminded me, “No stairs unless supported with a sling and increase the length of walks incrementally over the six week period.”

Our house has tons of stairs–everywhere! Outside, inside. From a recovery standpoint, this was a nightmare. In order to support Scout’s hind quarters so he wouldn’t put any weight on the recently repaired knee, I used a towel that was rolled up and placed under his tummy. I held the ends in one hand and while he was leashed, lifted his hind end as we traversed any stairs. This was effective but very awkward. There are many products on the market that will accomplish this lifting in a better, more controlled way than a towel. After three of these surgeries, I strongly suggest researching the options and purchasing one prior to picking your pup up from the hospital. Unfortunately for me and Scout, each time Scout had surgery, I forgot how important and cumbersome lifting his hind quarters was until I was in the throws of rehab.

Tip #6 The Cone of Health and Happiness

Your vet will most likely send you and your pup home with a hard plastic e-collar. You know, those gigantic collars you put around a dog’s head to keep him from licking, biting and tearing off bandages and staples from a wounded area. Yep, now you know what I am talking about!

Most dogs and their owners dislike these types of collars but they are very necessary to keep your pup from chewing off bandages like Scout did or chewing out his staples….Scout did that, too. There is not a great deal of room in a crate for a dog wearing an e-collar to turn around, so I found a softer, more flexible version of this collar and moved Scout into a small bathroom on the main floor of the house.

I also moved his bed to this new room and placed an old cabinet door in the doorway that was tall enough to keep him from jumping over it and out of the bathroom but small enough that he could see everyone in the house as they passed by the room. He is a very social doggie!

The benefits? Cooler room for Scout to sleep, hang out and recover. Provided more room for him so he could wear his flexible e-collar and give him the ability to see everyone in the house as we went through our daily activities.

Okay, back to the benefits of the flexible e-collar.

These flexible collars are great for the dog because he won’t overheat (a cooler pup), they don’t make that loud sound when the dog bumps the collar into something and you can bend them down so your pooch can drink water and eat while wearing the device. It worked so well for Scout, we nicknamed the collar the ‘Cone of Health and Happiness.’ Everyone, including Scout, was delighted when we took the the collar off for the final time after his staples were removed! WOO HOO!

Tip #7: Adjust the quantity of food at mealtimes

One thing you will need to keep an eye on is your pup’s weight. During these weeks of immobility and limited mobility, he will eat and gain weight. Just be aware so your pup doesn’t gain too much weight. Injured or recently repaired areas do not need the additional weight bearing down on a recovering joint.

Tip #8: Give your dog the right supplements

Talk with your veterinarian about supplements. There are many on the market that can aid in recovery and stimulate bone regeneration. I give Scout glucosamine and chondroitin twice daily…once in the morning and once in the evening. I want to give Scout the benefits of a long life and healthy joints as long as I am able…..even though both his hind leg knees have titanium plates and screws attached to them now.

Tip #9: Use mats and floor coverings

If you have tile, hardwood floors or floors with slick surfaces, cover them up with mats that have rubber backing. During and following rehab and recovery, this will keep those little paws from slipping on the floor and from damaging or injuring the recovering joint or creating new injuries.

Tip #10: Give your doggy lots of TLC

Scout had his first ACL surgery when he was just six months old. My heart just hurt for him. At night during his rehab, I would crawl into his kennel, sit with him and just pet him for what seemed like hours. I wanted him to know I loved him and wanted him to be well but he had to be somewhat immobile. His next two knee surgeries were in 2011, March and September. Both of us could no longer fit into the kennel, so each night I would place the leash on him and spend time with him on the floor rubbing his tummy and petting him while we watched television.

Tender loving care, diligent rehab and reassuring tummy rubs got us through all three of these surgeries. Hopefully, you and your dog won’t ever experience a knee surgery. But if you do, there is hope. A trusted, talented surgeon and dogged attention (pun intended) to detail during rehab mixed with many heaping spoonsful of TLC will get you both through the weeks following surgery.

To watch Scout take those first cautious steps off the leash at the completion of rehab made it all worth it. Now when I watch him run like the wind and leap over the boxwoods, my heart just sings.

Cindy Dunston Quirk is the Chief Dog Lover at Scout & Zoe’s Natural Antler Dog Chews. Scout & Zoe’s chews are allergy-free and a green, organic, renewable resource created only from 100% naturally shed elk antlers.

90 Responses to “Dog Knee & ACL Surgery Recovery From an Insider’s Perspective”

  1. Carol Griffin says:

    My golden retriever was about 2yrs old when she blew out one knew, had surgery, followed the instructions to a tee for her recovery, no stairs, built a ramp for her to get up onto my deck, outside only to do her jobs, on leash all the time. Just as she recovered so well from the surgery, she blew out her other knee!
    Our vet was so surprised by her great recovery from the first surgery and the recovery from the second went equally as well. It’s so hard with young dogs to keep them quiet, but if you want a great recovery, you have to do a great rehab. If I had a pool I would have had her swimming, but no such luck…we did everything exactly as laid out, follow up visits with the vet, etc…she runs like crazy today and you would never know she had knee surgery at all!

  2. Dr. Joseph Manda says:

    What a wonderful story, yet, I wonder if there is more opportunities for you and your dog to heal after surgery. As a canine rehabilitator, the latest and greatest way to get your dog back up and walking normal is to locate a canine rehabilitator, canine acupuncturist, canine chiropractor, or other canine rehabilitator. At our practice we have a full service rehabilitation unit with underwater treadmill and laser therapy as well. The dog recuperate tremendously faster and there is a decided difference in the healing time between a rehabilitated dog and a non-rehabilitated dog. So ask your veterinary surgeon for a referral to a rehabilitator and watch how quickly your dog is back to normal…

  3. Jewell Perry says:

    Dr. Manda, could you refer me to a canine rehabilitator in the Orlando, FL area? My maltipoo needs knee surgery and the two posts I just read are larger dogs. Does that have an affect on the recovery time and procedure?

  4. Trish says:

    Thanks for this advice. I just dropped my dog, Shelby off to have her knee surgery this morning and was wondering about crating her afterwards. This answers my question. I will go get one today.

  5. Linda says:

    We have a 11 year old German Shorthair Pointer who 4 weeks ago had knee surgery. We are concerned that he is making no attempt to use or put any weight of the leg yet. Is this something we should be worrying about. The Vet doesn’t seem concerned but we are stressing ourselves over this and worrying. Does anyone out there have some advise for us?

  6. Annelise says:

    My crazy 2 yr old golden retriever girl had TPLO knee surgery 3 1/2 weeks ago. She was weight bearing the first day and is a little crippy from time to time. Overall I think she is doing very well. It has been a huge challenge for us as she tends to sudden explosive energy. We tried sedating her and this made her eyes droopy, stopped her up, but had no effect on her craziness. The only way to keep her quiet (and I don’t mean noisy quiet as she whines) is to keep her in a small room with bones and leash her immediately when going out to potty and always using the belly sling that was sent home after surgery. We opted for the small room instead of the crate because she could not turn around in the crate with the cone on.

  7. Tiffany Shaw says:

    It was discovered a couple days ago that my Corgi/Lab mix who is only four has both arthritis and ligament damage in both back legs. She needs surgery to both knees to ease her pain, but we don’t have an appointment to meet with the surgeon until Friday. The good news is that she is a small dog, and not very crazy energy wise so hopefully she’ll heal up will.

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  9. Jacquelyn Ljungqvist says:

    I am just starting this process with my Labradoodle, Today we go for x rays and I need to schedule surgery. I am so worried.
    This site however is very helpful, and I intend to stay tuned in to the advice from your reader/writers.
    I will be getting 4 baby gates to keep her off the stairs.

  10. David Holland says:

    My lab just had knee surgery This past Thursday 09-05-13. I’m not sure doing this by myself is a good ideal. It has been some what of a challenge. It took me 2 hours and another trip back to the Vet so they could give her a shot to relax before I could get her out of the car and in the Apartment. I have called the vet 24 hour number several times since I have got my Lab home. I hope this gets better as the days move on. Any suggestions to help me out?

  11. lisa cousins says:

    oh my 6 month old border collie just had surgery 2 weeks ago for a completely torn acl from trauma. aaaargh!!!

    post-op is so difficult!

    I have her in a small 10x 7 area of a room, completely carpeted, with her crate at one side of the room. I crate her when I am not here and hang out in the room with her, when I am. I have moved all furniture against the wall and blocked them off with baby gates- she is a jumper! fortunately she had some run-ins with falling baby gates as a wee pu and therefore is afraid of them.

    I just today added a TV- for both of us…

    so it is me on the cushions on the floor, typing with my lap top on my lap, in her little healing room…

    I take her out with the belly towel (I use the belly towel for any time we leave her little room) and I let her play with bones (no toys) with free movement in her little room.
    I hope this will be OK-

    I am terrified that she will make one rapid pouncy jumpy move and ruin the whole thing…!

  12. Ame says:

    I have a 4 yr old Alaskan malamute who ruptured his knee. Surgery was 4 weeks ago and doing quite well … Put foot to floor the day after surgery and hobbles around quite well . Looking to start hydrotherapy in a few weeks to rebuild his muscle . Trouble is he made it up a flight of stairs today when no one was looking and looks to push himself more than he should be

    • C says:

      My golden has had the MMP done to replace her left cruciate. She’s been going great, a little too great actually. Since she’s not in pains d can bear good weight on the leg, she’s trying to be her usual skipping self, she actually got to a flight of stairs and bolted down them with sheer excitement! She’s ok but my heart rate wasn’t! Vets this week to remove sutures so hopefully she hasn’t set her recovery back!

      • Kim says:

        It’s always unnerving to have your dog act like nothing is wrong and off they go!
        My dog got out the door and did her typical run down the porch steps into the yard after something she saw, but immediately stopped when we yelled “NO!!!”””
        I don’t believe it caused any damage, but we are in week 10 of 14 of “confinement” which we define as no stairs, on a leash outside at all times, but free to roam the house unless we are expecting company at the front door which she loves to run to and greet. (slippery floors are the worst for injury)
        Good luck!
        May our dogs run free once again!

  13. Sara O says:

    My lab/pittish mix had ACL surgery performed on 07/30/13 and I can safely say that I thought I was going to lose my mind for the first two weeks. It’s really hard! He also managed to pop the top stitch on his leg, so we had to go back for staples after about five days.

    Just be prepared that it really is going to be a long two weeks. He was wanting to put weight on it almost immediately but we used the rolled towel sling to keep his body weight off it.

    My vet also gave me sedatives on top of all the other meds to keep him quiet b/c he’s just not a quiet dog, I imagine most dogs with this sort of injury are active so we can all related on that.

    Our issue became getting him to take the meds b/c he’s incredibly finicky about eating anyway. I cut his food down so that he wouldn’t gain weight during this period of being on the DL and that helped for a while at first b/c he was pretty hungry at meal times.

    My best advice is to just brace yourself for the fact that your happy go lucky pal is pretty banged up and they need your help for a little while.

    We are now at about 7 weeks and he seems great. We go for short walks and he’s allowed to be loose in the house when we’re home. He’s still separated from the other dogs when they’re out b/c I don’t want them tearing around the yard or him to get slammed into when he’s just not quite 100 % yet.

  14. Shelly says:

    My 80 lb german shepherd mix just had TPLO on her hind leg. She came home last night and I woke up twice to hear her thrashing with the collar and corrected her and woke up twice to find her with her collar off. She is very high anxiety type dog and the collar only increases this and gets her in that “cornered wild animal” mode. I cannot watch her or be here 24/7. Any suggestions on alternative collars that she wouldn’t be able to lick a hind leg with?
    Shelly

    • Kim says:

      Having used the hard “collars of shame” in the past, we opted for a soft collar this time as our 10 year lab mix, who had ACL surgery a week ago, can be so much more comfortable and relaxed. A friend who got “inside” his dog’s hard collar could not believe the amplification of sound from within, and quickly exchanged it with a soft collar. No wonder our pups get so anxious with hard collars. So far, Mia has pretty much left her stitches alone, which we are grateful for, even tho she can reach them if she really wants.
      Our vet gave her 14 weeks of confinement…..yikes…..so we put her in our TV room with a baby gate and access to the backyard for her business. She’s raring to go, and we really have to hold tight to the leash when outside for a pee.
      This is going to be a long haul. We only hope she heals faster so her spirit is not permanently affected:(

  15. brad says:

    Helpful article.

    My vet prescribed surgery for my big older dog with a full torn CCL ACL. I was very concerned when reading the many TPLO TTA fishing line type surgery complaints and nightmares.

    My dog held his leg up, had terrible cracking sound from the meniscus and his leg trembled
    terribly.

    With lots of research online I discovered dog knee braces.

    I decided to order a custom knee brace locally from poshdogkneebrace.com in Florida. The braces are made by Certified Orthotists with over 20 years experience.

    My dog improved slowly. The meniscus stopped cracking. The trembling stopped and when he wears the brace he walks almost normally putting weight on the injured knee.

    While wearing his knee brace, we can go on an hour long dog walk with no problem.

    I will always have him wear the dog knee brace for the rest of his life for dog walks, playing or any activity. This way the knee will be protected from tearing again.

    At home laying or walking around the house, he doesn’t need to wear it.

    If you have steps to go out to potty, then I would recommend a Pet Ramp.
    For the house steps, you can buy plywood and nail or staple old carpet, outside type carpet or turf or sandpaper on the board. Attach the board to the side of your steps so your dog has a ramp to go up and down the house steps. Even with a brace, it is easier for your dog to use a Ramp then using stairs.

    If your dog does not have a brace on, then you definitely need to use a Pet Ramp as dogs with a torn CCL ACL are not suppose to walk on steps.

    I bought a used Pet Ramp on the local craigslist to use for getting in and out of the car.

    I am beyond relieved that this dog knee brace worked. I was told that a total tear would never heal, but sure enough, it has been healing. There has been great improvement so I am very satisfied.

    I am so happy I did what was best for my dog and avoided the surgery nightmares that so many were kind enough to post on many forums to warn other dog lovers what can happen if you choose surgery for a torn ACL CCL cruciate tear.

    I wanted to pass it on my experience with the dog knee brace and there is hope and you don’t have to choose risky surgery.

    I know NOW I did make the right decision to avoid surgery, and my original vet was not happy as they wanted to refer me to surgery.

    I read that some vets receive Referral Fees and or gifts for referring patients to particular surgeons. I don’t know if this was the case or not by my vet. But my vet was really forceful about setting an appt the next day at a surgeon she referred me too. Even her office left voicemails wanting to set up my appt.

    It seemed very suspicious that she wanted me to hurry up and go to surgeon before I researched online and found alternative treatments or would happen to go to another surgeon she did not recommend, and may not have a deal for a referral fee if I did not go to a surgeon she recommended. She recommend two surgeons, one for TPLO and one for the fishing line type surgery. Said I must pick one and get it done right away. It didn’t sit right with me, of course I am going to research first.

    I did hire a new more caring vet and the new vet can see I made the right decision to avoid surgery too.

    Read the helpful articles at http://www.PoshDogKneeBrace.com in Florida for more information regarding surgery and or a dog knee brace.

    Hope this helps others who follow in our paw steps with the unfortunate CCL ACL cruciate tear.

    • Kim says:

      I wish I had researched a non-surgical approach before consenting to a “must” surgery. I will research the knee brace to use when she heals, though, as she is a runner and I don’t want to go through this again! Thank you for your advice.

  16. Beverly says:

    All of your coments have been so informative. We have a 9yr old Goldendoodle who tore her ACL & meniscus. Our journey begins Monday. Consult with orth surgeon then surgery to follow. So sad when your pooch is in pain. Can’t wait to she our Sadie back to her mormal self!

  17. Beverly says:

    All of your comments have been so informative. We have a 9yr old Goldendoodle who tore her ACL & meniscus. Our journey begins Monday. Consult with orth surgeon then surgery to follow. So sad when your pooch is in pain. Can’t wait to she our Sadie back to her mormal self!

  18. Lisa says:

    Hi Shelley,
    How are you doing? I hope you are getting answers somewhere. I am sorry I cannot help. I did try the blow up donut on my border collie pup when she was spayed and she really hated it. She did adapt to the elizabethan-collar, but also I did weave the strings through her collar so she wouldn’t thrash it off. My border collie enjoys food so I had some fun with leaving treats in the cone for her. She also learned to pick treats off the floor. All in all I decided the first two weeks to use food to help her adapt to the situations. I am now in week 7 and use food much less. Good luck!

  19. Erin says:

    My 110 pound St. B. mix had surgery on 10/15/2013 for his torn ACL. He is doing remarkably well and I am following the aftercare instructions given to me to the letter. I am encouraged by his progress thus far; he is already walking about as well as he was prior to the surgery and it’s only been 3 days. I have been using the donut collar as well (the e collar was too darn big and banged against everything, startling him and making him uneasy). He doesn’t care for the soft collar either but it must stay until his stitches heal. I know we have a long road in front of us; does anybody have any advice for alleviating the boredom of confinement?? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I hang out with him a lot and his room is open to the kitchen where we gather but it is still a long long way to a healthy dog.

    • Kim says:

      Since most dogs are social and want to be where we are, we move her to our small bedroom once in a while with her doggy bed for a change of scenery….but really, she just wants to be with us, so most of the time she is in our TV room where we are probably watching TOO much! But I take a book to read and sit on the floor with her.

  20. Brooke says:

    We just had our dog Samsons repair done a few days ago and the first night home he jumped on the couch which we were using as a barricade! I would highly recommend buying a crate before they come home to avoid the anxiety and fear I’m going through now! It only takes a split second for them to do something detremental! Luckily we have found a cage were collecting today but can’t help thinking and praying that he hasn’t damaged his surgery! Only time will tell and it’s going so horribly slow!!!!! :(

    • Barb says:

      Brooke,

      Our boxer did the same thing. We took our eyes off her for 30 seconds and twice she jumped up on couch within one to two days after her surgery. We are getting her 9 week post op xrays today so I am nervous. Did everything turn out OK with you?

      barb

  21. Miryam says:

    My 7 year old soft coarted wheaten terrier could not get up one day. He has always been a very sedate and calm dog (since puppyhood) so when he started to slow down because of pain I missed it. He always followed me around the house and one day he stated waiting a few minutes before looking for me. I thought he was being just lazy, until one day he could barely get up. He was diagnosed with an ACL tear in both knees. He provably injured one knee but managed to get around by compensating which caused him to injure the other one as well. The orthopedic surgeon said both knees needed to be repaired at the same time. He was at the hospital for 5 days. They did not want him to come home until he was able to walk by himself… What a trouper he was! When he finaly came home it was very tough (specially on me). I say that because he did not see to be in much discomfort, but the recommended treatment was icing, irm exercises and massage 3 times a day. He is 55 lbs. so I needs to coax him into the right therapy position to do one leg and then get him to switch to do the other leg….3 times per day for about 3 weeks….I also ” moved to the floor” so he would not feel lonely in the floor….now 7 weeks later he is doing GREAT… Hang on and keep an eye on the patient until he is recovered

  22. Susan says:

    Our 4 year old lab had surgery for her CCL July 3rd and they removed part of her meniscus that was torn, we did the water therapy and the vet said we were ahead of schedule by a month she was doing so well. Three weeks ago she started to limp and we hear popping, e are told to limit her for about 6 weeks to see if it heals itself or it could be the rest of the meniscus tearing (this can be genetic), I am not sure we can put her thru the surgery again, she seems happy and we have her on Rimadyl twice a day and she is not in pain. Anyone else have this happen and is it a tear or……my heart just breaks for her.

  23. Colleen says:

    Our almost 2yr old English springer spaniel tore her meniscus on 0ct. 24th. Had Surgery Oct. 31st. 1st night home (came home same night as surgery) and early part of 2nd day pretty drugged up. Evening of 2nd day wanted to start playing. We have a large dog crate for her. It is hard to leave her in there. I take her out and lay on the floor giving her all kinds of attention. Seems to relax her. I have a feeling it is going to be a long 2 weeks before her 1st checkup. If you would like to follow her progress she has her own Facebook page – Issy the English Springer Spaniel.

  24. donna says:

    My 5 yr old little lab had acl surgery in march,it is now nov and she till seems to be i some pain,limping some,every once in a while she will play but not a lot,is this normal,or should i be worried???Shes seems to be favoring it also,i gave her a low dose bayer asprin a little while ago,,,please any helpfull suggestions would be greatly appreciated,,thank you

  25. Nancy says:

    Donna – Bets are that she tore her meniscus. You might check your surgery papers or call the surgeon and ask. It typically has to come out in order for your dog to use her leg properly again.

    If she had suture surgery, she could have also torn the line before her knee can stabilize.

  26. Nancy Romanot says:

    Just read your comments on dog knee rehab and am going through this a third time with a second dog, Have a HUGE TIP FOR YOU. I prayed for my dogs surgery and extra help this time with the rehab. I am getting older so carrying the dog down even 6 stairs in a split level
    home seemed scary with my dog Rosie weighing in at 52 pounds. A friend of mine suggested her going potty on the deck and I said no, I’ve tried it and she won;t do it. She
    then suggested putting live grass sod precut pieces on my deck which is only 8 feet from
    her kennel. It was a V-8 moment. WOW I could have saved my back with the other 2
    procedures. The sod cut was only 2 dollars per strip and cost 18$ total. A godsend please
    recommend it for those with larger decks and of course leash the dog and make sure a gate
    is closed or entry is fully blocked off. No jumping on the rail so full attention by the owner is a MUST. This one idea took most of my anxiety away for Rosies recovery. I am looking for
    a hydrotherapist for rehab but it will be tough to find in Moline, Illinois. Hope this helps a lot of folks out there. For BEST prices on sod cut out the middlemen in town and use your
    yellow pages to find a sod farm. It may take a half hour drive but they load for you. Just
    be sure to take a large piece of plastic to cover the car so the dirt doesn’t get all over…
    Its a little messy. Also the grass must be watered to live the full recovery period.

  27. jill says:

    my 3yr old 90 lbs pitbull just had Extracapsular ACL surgery on Monday. tonight was his first night home. he has never been crated or confined before, not even as a puppy. he did so good at the hospital but now that we are home he is crying and so confused. i also have a brand new 5 month old baby. i am so afraid he is going to think he is being punished etc. i have to keep him downstairs in the living room area because we are in a bi-level house with many stairs. is it normal for the dogs to twitch in the knee area and i feel like he is moaning alot, but he had a pain shot before leaving the hospital so i’m not too sure he is in much pain at the moment. i’m really hioping its just from all the medicine that he is just out of it and not himself. this is not fun to go through but i’m looking forward to him being himself again after his recovery. i am doing swim therapy with him once he gets his staples out.

  28. lesley says:

    HI, My Rottwieler Taro blew out his first knee 3 years ago, He had Traditional method surgery, his recovery was around 8 to 12 months when I noticed the limp had gone totally. The 8 months ago he blew the 2nd knee :( he had the same surgery done and this time he making slow progress. He seems to walk ok on it for days to weeks then we will have a bad couple days where he will limp after a walk. So I massage the area and apply heat to it before every walk. It seems to be one step forward two steps back. About four months after surgery he was lifting limp totally so i took him to vet worrying he had ruptured the nylon but he didnt have the draw method and vet said the knee was stable sso he gave him an injection which seemed to work and he was able to bare weight on it again. It seems to be taking longer this time but he is now nearly 6 years old so I know age is on his side plus athritus in both knees so Im wondering if he will never regain full use in this leg :( maybe he will always have slight pain after excersise. I am taking him for a check after new year to see what my vet says but i know he will just say he will have gud and bad days so maybe this is now wat he has to cope with and I have to limit the walking he does.

  29. NW says:

    I have an 8 year old Border Collie. It has been 6 weeks since her ACL lateral suture surgery (totally tore her ACL). It has been long and slow, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel! She is putting weight on her back leg now, just a little. I am starting to walk her up and down the hallway(carpeted) a couple times of day now. I am doing gentle range of motion stretches. She HATED the cone of shame and would panic, very high strung personality. But, I smeared peanut butter in it, and she learned to love the cone, it meant licking peanut butter treats! Smear it in a large area, gives them something to do for awhile, and teaches them the big bad cone is not so scary after all! I renamed it, “The Peanut Butter Cone of Shame.” ;-) Will keep her activiy restricted for 12 weeks, slowly walking her more and more around the house on a leash. Anyone have any tips? Never done this before. Don’t want to over walk her? Thanks!!

  30. Gemma Lynch says:

    Our 9 year old working cocker spaniel is on day two of a very long road as are we! Jd has had a tta with a couple of bonus extras as from his x-rays it seems he has a luxating patella ( slipping knee cap) aswell as the cruciate ligament problems.
    Following surgery our vet steve said that things had gone very well however he had to remove several large pieces of torn cartilage and there was something else he said however by this point I just wanted to take my little man home!
    We were given antibiotics and were told to give him metacam and tramadol (ONE TAB TWICE A DAY). On the way home he cried all the way and was shaking and breathing quite hard. I was wondering if we had actually done the right thing as he is in such a mess.
    LAst night was hard work watching him in so much pain. It was 2am before he settled down to sleep..we slept with him downstairs as i was to scarred to leave him.
    We were told the same as everyone else. Strictly limited mobility for next 8 weeks. No walking other than on a lead , including toilet breaks! No stairs.
    Today is my birthday and I have never cried so much! His breathing has become more irratic during the day and we ended up in the vets! We were told he needed a pain killer injection and to double his tramadol and to come back for next few days every morning for the same type of pain killer injection.
    He finally slept this afternoon however at midnight woke with a fright and peed all over himself again! He did the same thing this afternoon however earlier I thought it was a one off but now this just goes to show how much he isnt coping. Something which just isnt him!!! It is now half past one in the morning and he again wont settle even after all his tablets and injectionsand we just dont know what to do with him!! .

  31. Diane Galow says:

    Our 8 yo mellow golden retriever had a complete TPLO last Friday (5 days ago). Instead of a crate, we have cordoned off an area of our sunroom for him (his usual sleeping area is included in this space). His “pen” is a 5 x 4 area, so he is really limited. He is not high strung, so fortunately he is not working to get out of there. Our surgeon (board certified) has us on 3-4 five minute walks per day outside (ON LEASH). Rudy is doing very well, but occasionally I know we have overdone as he picks his leg up more. He was toe touching day 2, and is occasionally weight bearing now.
    My big worry is him overdoing it. He is on pain meds, and I am fearful that he is not feeling the pain. Any one else’s vet allow them to walk this much after surgery???

  32. Marti christie says:

    I have been told the the surgery to repair my dogs torn meniscus will be $2600-$3000. Can anyone comment? My dog is a 75 pounds and I am in Tampa FL. thank you and good luck to us all!

  33. Amanda Jirousek says:

    My 90lb lab pitbull mix had TPLO surgery on January 9th. The first night was rough as he was still feeling the effects of the anesthesia but since then he has acted like nothing happened. He uses his leg a lot but still limps when he has walked more than he should have. He has jumped on the couch twice(ugh being excited from coming in from outside, spur of the moment thing) and I have had to literally pick him up to get him off so he doesn’t hurt himself jumping off. He seems to be doing good, we go for his two week checkup this Thursday so we’ll see how the surgeon is liking his progress. Hoping he doesn’t tear his other acl! This hasn’t been fun. :(

    Marti, my dog’s surgery cost close to 4,000, his meniscus wasn’t torn but the surgeon did snip one side of it so he could move his knee and leg better.

  34. Cathy says:

    Our English mastiff tore his ACL and had to
    Have artificial joints/ligaments added. It’s been
    2 weeks…and he seems worse now than he did
    After the first week. The problem is he is a very
    Dumb dog and does not connect his movement
    To his pain! We crated him for the first few days, and
    Now keep him in the living room. He only goes out on a leash.
    We return to the Vet In 2 days. I’m worried that he’s damaged his knee again
    By flipping out on the hardwood floors!

  35. Diane says:

    Nellie my father’s 90 lb. pit/akita mix will get TPL surgery next week. I will be the one handling her recuperation. Thanks for all your helpful tips.

  36. aimee says:

    My 1 year old Italian Grey long hair doxie mix has to have surgery on both knees. One surgeon wants to do both at the same time and the other 1 at a time. Has anyone had both done together? She only weighs 12 lbs so taking care of her shod be a little easier should be easier than a large dog. I am so afraid to do this to her.

  37. Jessica says:

    It’s night one of my 120 lb Rottweiler being home post op. He has surgery this morning and it was a tough one. At 4 yrs old he had to have surgery on both knees for a hereditary issue. When khan was a puppy he used to cry and whimper a lot usually when it was cold and I knew it was his legs but I figured it was growing pains. About 6 months ago he jumped from a cement driveway to grass literally only about an inch lower and ruined his knee. I took him to the vet but seeing as to him being pretty aggressive they weren’t able to give him a thorough check on his leg so we went home with tranquilizers and a promise to be back. A couple of weeks passed and I noticed he was toe touching and eventually began to walk and run pretty much completely normal. I took it to mean he had recovered. Three days ago I was playing a friendly game of “GIVE ME THAT! NO! THATS NOT YOURS!” with my khan like we usually do on laundry days when he made a sharp turn whole running on the grass and yelped in pain. It was the same leg from before. I felt like the worst doggy parent for not having had taken it seriously the first time so I took him to the yesterday. They confirmed that both knees were torn and even though they might seem to get better with time this was causing him a lot of pain and would continue to happen even with simple exercises. They said I could do one knee at a time but recommended we do both so as to speed up the overall recovery time and it was more cost effective to do both at once. I paid a little under 5,000 in the city of Los Angeles. Immediately after picking him up I started to question if I had made the right choice doing both at the same time and honestly if I should have even went ahead with the procedure. I’ve never seen him in so much pain and it breaks my heart everytime he whimpers and cries. I’m hoping for a speedy recovery and for it to be we painless as possible for him.

    Getting him home post was an obstacle. Luckily I have no stairs but let me remind you my dog is a 120 lb Male Rottweiler who can be extremely stubborn. Just coaxing him out of the car proved to be difficult. If you’re pet is having a surgery and weighs over 50 lbs bring a friend, you’re definitely going to need extra muscle. I’ve been using the towel method where you put a towel on the underside of the dog closed to the hind legs and lift in order to assist the dog and not have him put all his body weight on his newly bald legs. Thank goodness I found this page because when my bet told me to use a towel I didn’t realize I had to roll it up! Thanks guys now I have to apologize to my dog for making him look like a Taco Bell hard shell.

    At home I prepared a room for him which is actually my closet. It’s about 4×3 and had enough room for him to turn his whole body and have food and water inside and still have enough room for him and his cone to be comfortable. I put yoga mats on the floor because I have hardwood and didn’t want him slipping and sliding everywhere and hurting himself more. I left my dog for about half an hour and come back to find him out of his room and in my bedroom by my bed just laying down. I was extremely concerned with how he got out seeing as to how the baracade I had put was still in place. I didn’t put much blocking the doorway out of his room because I was under the impression that it was going to hurt too much for him to walk so he wasn’t even going to try. I was wrong. Khan is and outdoor dog and is not used to being confined so I know these next few months are going to be difficult.
    He’s already restless and ready to go outside and run and play it seems. It’s been a difficult day and night he wakes me up every couple hours crying and trying to get out. He already broke my closet door. We’ve successfully had a pee break but still haven’t been able to help him poop. I don’t know how we’re going to survive the next couple of weeks.
    I’m very happy I found this forum from reading previous comments I’m able to see that I’m not the only one who has gone through this and we’re going to do just fine once we get through the hard parts

  38. aimee says:

    Hi Jessica Thank you for your comment did your vet give your dog a fentanyl patch for pain. Shug is having it done in westlake. I haven’t made a decision yet on when and 1 at a time or both. She is only 12 pounds so handling her will be a little easier than your rottweiler. I’m so afraid how painful it will be for her. How many days was ur dog in a lot of pain?

  39. aimee says:

    Hi Jessica Thank you for your comment did your vet give your dog a fentanyl patch for pain.

  40. Jessica says:

    Hi Aimee, no the vet didn’t. I hadn’t even heard about that until just now that you mentioned it. I’m going to look into it. I received two different pain medications for my dog and they seem to work great for a while after giving them to him but it seems as if they wear out quickly with him. I’m supposed to give him his dosage every 12 hours so I’m sticking to that. He was in pain this second time around for just a couple days. He didn’t seem to be suffering too much pain from his leg prior to his surgery. I didn’t wait any time from the moment the doctor told me what was wrong to the day of the surgery. It was literally one day to the next. I would say to prepare yourself because these past 24 hours have been torture. You have to stay positive and remind yourself that it’s all for the benefit of the dog in the long run.

  41. heather says:

    My 5 yr old golden had TTA surgery for torn ACL. The vet said the Acl surgery went fine but he has ripped his meniscus. There is none and it is bone on bone. I asked if surgery can fix he said no. My poor baby boy went to get fixed only to find out this is not fixable. He may limp the rest if his life. The doctor suggested Adequan injections. Any one use those? I read about it. It is supposed to add fluid to the joints. There is 50/50 feedback on the drug. Then the vet mentioned stem cell injections and acupuncture. Are you kidding me. My pockets are not that deep. He is due to start hydrotherapy next week. I feel horrible. His quality of life will not be the same. Bone on bone….how painful. I don’t want him to suffer or be in pain (after recovery). How can therapy help the acl when there is no meniscus. I hope to pick him up tomorrow night. This is going to be heart wrenching seeing him limp. What should I do about the meniscus? Take one day at a time? This is way too overwhelming and he’s. Not even home yet. Oh and I found out he has hip displaysia in his opposite hip.

  42. Patti says:

    My bulldog had surgery 2 weeks ago doing very well but a lot of post op commitment to keep her from re injury, I have question she is not putting weight on it at all and uses 3 legs to get around, doc says she will put it down when she is ready.

  43. Estela Leal says:

    What is the average cost to repair a torn ACL?

  44. Carri says:

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  45. Lorna says:

    My Siberian Balto had TTA surgery 2 years ago, recovered well then tore the meniscus in the same knee. Had surgery 4 weeks ago. Was recovering really well, then escaped upstairs and has now started to limp. :( couple of days rest again and is hopefully on the mend. Back to the vet school for check up this week. I’m having to carry him downstairs three times a day and he weighs a ton. :)

  46. Michelle says:

    My 9.5 year old wheaten terrier had knee surgery two weeks ago. He won’t put any weight on that leg at all. When he had his staples out on Friday, the vet tech said that it’s unusual for m not to weight bear at all and gave me some tips to try and get him to put weight on it (while supported). He won’t use it at all. He does the odd toe touch but then immediately lifts it back up. I’m starting to get concerned that we put him (and us ) through this for nothing. Has anyone had a similar experience with their dogs recovery? Is this normal? Thanks!

  47. Celeste says:

    We live in South Africa, and have a Jack Russel male 11 years old, he suffered from not being able to walk on his left leg. He has been in and out of vets, and eventually they told us that his upper bone is to long, and they have to shorten it, and then put a steel plate in. None of this made sense because he has never suffered prior to that. After numerous vet opinions, we decided to go ahead with the operation. Now 4 months down the line he is still limping. It brakes my heart to think that he might be suffering, but we dont know what to do. How would a life be for a little short legged jack russel if we have to amputate his leg, because there is no way im putting him down, please advise if you need more info in what the vets here diagnosed him with.

    Much appreciated
    Celeste
    Sent from my iPhone

  48. Alex says:

    I have had three pit’s that have now had TTA surgery in the last four years. Two of mine are pictured at TTA-Surgery.com. A fourth had TPLO surgery back in 2005. I would have to say that my guys who had the TTA surgery recovered more quickly and have not had any additional issues with their hind legs. I am very happy with the results from TTA and would highly recommend TTA surgery to anyone that has a pooch that needs a repair. The cost were just under $2K for each leg, including meds, follow-up, etc

  49. Its such as you learn my thoughts! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something. I think that you can do with some percent to pressure the message home a bit, however instead of that, this is magnificent blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  50. Jo says:

    Thanks so much for all of this information. We have a 6m old border collie who has hurt his knee – we don’t know the extent of it yet as the x-ray isn’t until next week but the vet says surgery might be a possibility. Reading this blog is so helpful to settle my nerves about how we would cope with the recovery process and there are lots of really helpful tips on here. Obviously we are all hoping no surgery will be required but at least if it is there is lots of support from others who have been through this. Thank you.

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  52. My dog Rusty a Labordoodle is 9 years old, he had the ACL Surgery 2 weeks ago Tuesday. We have had him locked up in our kitchen area of our house especially since we have another dog who is a great dane and is 2 years old. It is very hard when we take the gate down and put a leash on him because our other dog wants to play. We have been ok for the last 2 weeks, but Rusty is feeling a lot better and is trying to jump in the kitchen a little bit. We are trying our best, but Rusty is putting pressure on the back leg with a little limp but that is expected. Hopefully the next 4 weeks go fast and he doesn’t get to crazy being kept in kitchen.

  53. Gaynor Henry says:

    We have a large 8 year-old Weimaraner who injured his knee almost 3 weeks ago. Our vet is currently treating him with anti-inflammatories and reduced activity. We are aware that surgery may be in his future. Our concern is this – we have already been advised that his hips and lower spine are deteriorating, he also has numerous lumps all over some of which are lipoma and some feel quite different and we do not know what they are yet. We also have a 5 year-old Lab and a 10 year-old Australian Cattle Dog and are finding it quite difficult to stop the normal roughhousing and playing. In addition we have a two-storey house with a full basement and all our pets go where they want, when they want. Cooooooper does not seem to be in any pain, but his limp is obvious. In his previous life (they are all rescues), he was crated/kenneled for excessive periods of time upwards of 12 hours a day and has some issues regarding crates – understandably. We have been discussing “what to do” for weeks and just keep going around and around; money is NOT the issue, Cooooooper is. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions?

  54. Kealoha says:

    Hi everyone. I’m sorry to hear about all the injuries and rehabs. But your stories are very helpful. My AmStaff just blew his knee out last weekend. I’ve been reading non stop to educate myself on the various types of surgeries.
    I’m interested in the tight rope procedure. Can anyone share their experience? Cost? and maybe recommend a surgeon in the Los Angeles area? But I’m willing to drive a few hours for excellent health care. Thanks!

  55. Valerie says:

    My 8.5 year old 77lb boxer Oscar has tore both acls and had 2 TTA surgerys. His first 1.5 years ago and he recovered super well. He was back to soaring and running like a deer again and then he tore his other acl. We got surgery on it in late November. He was recovering very well from it and walking well, just as we were starting to build up our walking time, he tore his menisucus so he is going in on Tuesday for surgery. He is really a trooper. I just wanted to let people know out there that we never used any collar on Oscar while he was recovering. He hates collars and would jump around trying to get them off which is alot more harmful then an occasional lick of the wound. I stayed home with him during the day and my husband stayed with him while I went to work in the evenings. If you are home and watching your dog, they do not have to have a collar on. Also, we all camped out on the floor at night so him being right next to us, we could hear him if he was licking and would just wake up and tell him no and go back to sleep. He had no problems with licking anything open or anything. He barely even tried to lick it because he knew we would snap or clap and yell no which trained him to not try it. Also, our vet is not for letting your dog lay around. He promotes that if they want to get up and walk around on it then let them walk on it. We would close off a couple rooms in our house, but if Oscar wanted to get up and get a drink of water or food and then walk around a little and lay back down, our vet said that was good. He highly recommends them not being forced to be in the same position all day. We also do not own a crate and we have never crated Oscar. He did perfectly fine without a crate. For those of you concerned about the whining, moaning when they first get home from the surgery. That happened with Oscar. The first time he got surgery we went back the next morning and made them give him another pain injection, because he was up crying the whole night. Once he got the second shot he went right to sleep and slept for hours. We used pills after that and he did fine. Also, we have noticed with both surgeries that once he got the wrap off his leg, he whined a lot less. Both TTA surgeries, Oscar was walking on the operated leg the same day. He was limping, but he was trying to put weight on it and like I said our vet recommends them to start putting weight on it and walking as early as they can. I recommend letting your dog walk around the house a little and not wearing the collar. Our vet said you can also use a sock or ace bandage to keep it over the wound while you are gone to keep them from licking. I understand if you have other dogs or stairs that it won’t be as easy to let your dog walk around. Good Luck to all!!! It is hard for the first couple weeks, but you will make it through!!!

  56. Karen says:

    My 7 year old chow/lab mix injured his ACL about 5 weeks ago. I took him to the vet immediately, but they said to wait and see if he would return to normal usage. He did not. At 4 weeks, I took him to a surgery consultant and he recommended the TPLO surgery.since he is at 70 lbs.
    He didn’t do well at the vet at all. He’s never been away from me, never been crated, and doesn’t really like letting other people close to him (typical chow behavoir.) They said he was out of his mind the whole night after the surgery even though they kept giving him shots of morphine. He tore his bandage off his leg, and was frantic when they put the big plastic cone collar on him.
    Needless to say, he was overjoyed to see me and be home, but it took him a long time to calm down and get over the trama. Although I kept a close eye on him and kept him on pain meds all day – he had seperation anxiety and I couldn’t leave the room to even use the bathroom without him trying to follow me.

    Last night, he cried all night long, so I slept with him on the floor. He was only comforted if my arms were around him and I was telling him that I loved him and everything would be okay. Very rough night for both of us.

    Today, he is in better spirits, but I still have him on both the pain medication as well as a sedation pill. He is actually laying on the back porch sunning himself (favorite thing to do) right now.

    My vet recommended a crate when I have to go back to work (in two days) or confining him to a room. I know my dog well enough to know that this would cause him more pain, confusion and hysterics than anything. I will block the path to the upstairs, but other than that, he will be able to move about downstairs as he normally does. I’ll sedate him right before I go to work and check on him at lunch.

    Also, I will NOT put that cone back on him. It freaks him out. I just tell him no when I catch him licking and he stops right away.

    I can’t see every putting him through this again. It’s breaking my heart. I hope that I can get through the next two weeks.

  57. Nikki Thompson says:

    I have been reading everyone’s comments and hope this one gets read. Come join our TPLO Treatment for Canines group on FB. We are 3 weeks post op and this group has been ,y saving grace. All of your questions are answered and the group is so caring. I urge you to check it out. Lots of info and tips from those who have been there.

  58. liza says:

    My 3yr old pit mix is still in the hospital, he had knee surgery today. He has already had a cancerous tumor removed, he had a terrible 6-8 month long recovery from that because 1- he will NOT stay in his crate he finds a way to break out 2- he will NOT stay calm & kept reopening the site, infections set in etc.. any suggestions I am a full time student & was considering putting his crate in my car & taking him with me but I would have to lift a nearly 70lb dog and I’m all of 100lbs myself in & out I myself have severe disc degeneration from C2-C7, not good for me to be lifting him but I cannot allow him to reinjure himself so any suggestions would be welcome.. Ventura CA

  59. Joyce says:

    we have a 4 y/o Pom who had luxating patella surgery on both back legs @ same time. God sent us a wonderful surgeon who kept her the entire 1st week b/c she would not put any weight on the legs & b/c my husband has had strokes & his balance is really bad & I work. we brought her home on Sat. before Easter and I was so stressed – she would try to walk for front legs only and just drop on the floor & her bowels had not moved since Sun. prior to her surgery on Mon. Took her back to vet on Mon. (1 wk. post) and he offered to keep her that week. (Thank God for miracles) in 3 days, it will be 3 wks. since surgery and is weight bearing some now has had 2 enemas (sp) b/c the Tramadol & Metacam. the vet said to allow her to be loose in the house as long as she didn’t try to jump on furn. or climb stairs but from the other posts here, not sure that is wise. Good Luck Everyone!

  60. Sandy says:

    Just got the word today. My 8 year old golden has torn her ACL. She is 75 pounds. What is the difference of TTA and TPLO surgery? Our vet has had many successes with the lesser surgery on dogs over 70 lbs. Thanks for your comments.

  61. leann says:

    wow! i thought i was alone! my pit mix is having surgery tomorrow so i’m doing research now on how i can help him. sounds like this is going to be a long, long road to recovery…thank you for all of your tips and comments.

  62. Aspen says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! Our little 4 yr old corgi got the official diagnoses today, and goes in for surgery on Monday. We feel good about the vet, but a quick search on the internet and you can easily get anxious about all of the opinions and variety of non-surgical options out there. But hearing all of your stories has been very helpful, and we are optimistic that Peach will make a full recovery. Outside of the recommended treatment, if anyone has suggestions for keeping her *active* during recovery it would be appreciated, as she is extremely playful. A suggestion we got is to work on training (i.e. sit, lay down) because it keeps them engaged and helps them learn discipline during recovery. Any other suggestions?

  63. Kenny says:

    Thank you all sooo much for ur advice. My Taylor, 2yr old jack Russell/boxer mix, had knee/ACL surgery 2 days ago. I survived my first night(thanks to this site) I placed a twin mattress near her cage. We finally made pee about 230a. Va Tech hosp. staff were great. They gave me a soft collar, versus cone collar, also the sling for her hind part is amazing & a sedation shot for the ride home. Fortunately for me she is cage friendly. I placed the leash and sling at cage door, she knows we get everything in place before we walk. Between the meds, home therapy, cold(frozen peas)/hot pack etc..its going to be a long 8wks. Dr. gave me a nice post care schedule, that I’m following to the tea, very important. Its a little overwhelming and tough being a single dad, lol. I pray that everyone and their pet are doin well. I look forward to our walks.

  64. Kenny says:

    Cont. As mentioned above the soft collar is great, as far as comfort for her while u are close.Taylor is in my living room, caged, so I’m near her always to stop the attempt to lick incision. although I had to purchase a hard cone collar today. I’m goin to use the cone when I go back to work or if I leave her for any amount of time. We have our routine down and thankfully she is doing better than I expected. Still no #2 outside yet. Wish you all the best

  65. Jessica says:

    We’re nearing the end of our 12 week rehab for my Rottweiler who had bilateral tta surgery 3 months ago. I’ve got to say I’m pretty upset with my vet because he didn’t give me any type of post op instruction. They only time he asked to see my dog was 10 days after the surgery to remove the stitches. At the time he told me to take the dog on walks every day after the first week and gradually increase the distance and time of our walks as the weeks went on. I did that along with some ROM exercises the first couple of weeks. He NEVER mentioned anything about a 4 week and 8 week checkup. Luckily nothing happened during this recovery time that caused alarm and warranted a vet visit. The only thing I’m really concerned about is that he is still limping on one of his legs. It’s not really a limp, more that after a little longer distance of walking he starts to, i don’t know how to describe it, emphasize that he is stepping on the ground. It’s strange I know. He sort of extends it a little further back then when he steps with his other leg. That same knee has a part that’s also pretty pointy a little lower than the knee joint. He doesn’t seem to be in pain at all but he’s due for his shots in a couple months so I’m going to talk to his vet about it. At this point, financially I cannot afford to do another surgery of this magnitude again. It is expensive and it does require that you dedicate a lot of time to your pet. It has been the longest 12 weeks of my life but after the first 2 weeks it got better. In the beginning I regretted going through the process because of the pain he was in but as time went on and I saw him getting stronger I knew it was worth every sleepless night and every penny spent. The only thing I can hope for is that I don’t have to go through this surgery again. I don’t want to put him through all that trauma and pain ever again. By the way he didn’t poop for 4 days after his surgery!!!! I think that caused a lot of his restlessness. Eventually they do relieve themselves so don’t get too worried about it. Their bodies are pumped with medication and chances are their appetite is down so in turn that affects their ability to make a movement, not to mention the fact it most likely hurts to squat.
    I’m going to be checking this forum periodically so if you have aaaaaaany questions ask away and if I somehow know the answer ill reply. I will also update on khans status in a couple months. If the worst happens and I have to have them perform another tta on him I’ll sell my soul to pay for it if I have to. :(

  66. Anita says:

    I am on day 3 of post surgery with my 65 lb almost 9-year old Labradoodle. We did not do the big surgery but opted for the suture technique instead. Jessica, I am in the same boat you are as my Vet left me no post opp instructions other than her drug schedule and see you in 14 days or so to remove the staples. I really like my small town vet but this was disappointing to say the least. I am a little nervous to start the Passive Range of Motion Exercises as I have seen on You Tube. My Maddie seems to be in way too much pain for me to even touch her then try to move her leg. I have decided I am taking Maddie to a rehab center which is 50 miles away but I have heard wonderful things about them. Our first appt is on June 24th – once her staples are out. My Vet had not heard of them but a friend of a friend used them when her young dog tore their ACL and she opted against the surgery. That dog is doing great now. I do have a question on putting ice (or bag of peas) on the leg. Are you putting this over the staples? If I don’t hear back I will call the vet in the morning. I am also curious how everyone’s dogs are doing now.

  67. Kathy Clements says:

    My scottish terrier tore his acl in his knee 5 days ago when he jumped off the arm of a chair. He had surgery and he was on pain meds that kept him groggy at first. I keep him confined to three small rooms with no furniture to jump on. Doggie beds are everywhere. We have 2 other scotties that are with him. They are older, so they don’t play much. We built a ramp out the back door off the steps so he doesn’t climb up any steps. We put carpet on the ramp so he doesn’t slip. I have him on a leash when we go out. He sleeps most of the day, so it’s really not too bad. When I’m here I take the cone off. He’s not interested in his stitches yet but I still keep my eyes on him. For entertainment, I put him in a jogging stroller and walk him every day. He is leashed so he doesn’t jump out. I put foam on the bottom that he can sit on. We go for about a 20 minute walk every day. He puts weight on it now, but sometimes he still limps a little. I have 7 more weeks to go…..it’s gonna be a long summer! The stroller is a life saver!!!

  68. Jennifer Battersby says:

    I have an 8 yr old Lab weighing 24kg. She had the TTA 11 days ago & was putting her foot down almost immediately. She has an Elizabethan Collar & is in a crate which is big enough for her to move position & stand up, always on the lead & only goes out to the toilet & back in. On an evening I let her sit with me on the floor without her E/Collar but she’s still on the lead to prevent sudden jumping up. Due to 2 steps to get outside I have a ramp with runs & carpet on to prevent slipping. We have laid carpet down on top of the laminate to prevent slipping as well. I was advised in the 3rd week she can have 2 x 5 minute walks, 2nd week 2 x 10 minute walks increasing by 5 minutes each week upto 8 weeks when she goes back for her final x-ray. I have decreased her food to prevent gaining weight & hope to send her to hydrotherapy once well enough to get muscle built back up.

  69. Sarah Beth says:

    I just picked up my 66 lb black lab Lexi Jo from hospital. She was playing in the yard I heard a scream I thought she had been bitten by a snake and rushed her to the vet. I was told she tore her ACL. She was pitiful. I had surgery two weeks ago. She looks sad in her eyes. She is stubborn and hates her collar hates to be on a leash and pulls so bad. I was told to put a towel under her outside to help hold her up. It is hot and she wants to go around and around. Ugh this is terrible to see her so sad and so helpless. Like several of you said my vet said nothing about icing or exercise just said he would see me in a week for a checkup. Good luck and God bless all fury children and their owners.

  70. Brittney says:

    All of these posts are very helpful, and comforting to know others have experience in this. My 8yr old Lab came home last night from TTA surgery. He was weight bearing before surgery (with a hobbled limb) and still doing so after surgery, so I’m hoping that may help chances of keeping his good knee intact? I am walking him on leash outside of the room he is in (inside the small room he just has room to drink water and move from laying on dog bed to floor) I use the sling, although the sling seems to just slide down and feels awkward, i’m not sure if i’m helping much or if the sling is to mainly keep him from slipping? Thankfully I am able to be home with him for the first 5 days post op. Before his injury happened, we discovered during his senior exam that he has high liver enzymes. With a few different courses of action not to mention, many blood tests and ultrasounds later, it was determined he will need a liver biopsy to find out more, which means no pain meds for the poor guy during this recovery. I do have 50mg Tramadol from before surgery that I gave him 2xdaily, but do not know if it is necessary or okay to give him now. He does have on a fetynal patch, which is leaving him disoriented and confused. Apparently this is common with the patch, and the whimpering is not because of pain, but rather being uncertain and uncomfortable. My main concern, aside from the enigma that is his liver right now, is that even before the surgery, and still after he is constantly sitting/laying on the injured leg. Is that normal, and could this cause more damage? The top stitches look red and puckered, but they looked like that when I picked him up. Any advice or comments, would be much appreciated! :)

  71. Francine says:

    My 8 year old chocolate lab Emily Jean got the tta surgery today on both knees! This is only day one and after reading everyone’s comments I’m feeling much more confident about this horrible two week wait! She’s in so much pain the doc didn’t give me any antibiotics. Is that normal? I’m confining her to my carpeted closet while I’m at work. Will she eventually just stand on her own?? right now that doesn’t even seem possible :( my heart is breaking for my little old lady

  72. Elizabeth says:

    We are taking out 2 1/2 year old lab/boxer/pit mix for surgery tomorrow. I am having trouble sleeping due to the worry. I know Bo will be in good hands, but he has never had to be away from us. The posts have giving me some good ideas on how to handle the upcoming rehabilitation period. My greatest concern is that in week two, Bo will be alone as my husband and son are out-of-town and I work. I do have someone coming in to check him around noon each day so hope that as well as sedation will help. I hate seeing him so out of it, but don’t know any other way to keep him calm. I just want him to feel better….

  73. Kenny says:

    Its been 6wks+ since Taylors (53lbs) knee/acl surgery. I too cried alot the first week or so. Its Important to take care of yourself, 3 1/2 wks into it, I gave myself a Viral Infection from worrying/stressing if I was doin to much or to little. My personal Vet assured me that I was doin great, renewed pain, anti inflammtory & antiobiotic rx, to soothe my mind :) We have stuck to recommended walks, Passive ROM, cold/hot pack for the first 2wks. We’ve been doin the hill climbs for 2wks to strengthen her leg & will cont. til 7/15 (final xrays).The sling gave me great control/support of Tay during our walks preventing sudden movements from seeing squirrels, other dogs, etc…. She still has a slight limp, but is doing great. Its has been a loooong recovery, alot of floor naps. I’m getting stairs for my sofa, precaution. She can’t wait to get off the leash in the yard. The amount of time required is amazing, but to see her smiling face everyday is priceless . Hope everyone is doing well

  74. Adrianne says:

    My 4 year old pit Cain (weighs 78 lbs) had TPLO surgery exactly a week ago… let me say nothing I have read has prepared me for what I’ve experienced over the past week. I will say this site does give valuable advice. Cain has been recovering very well.. almost too well I think. He’s definitely feeling better at this point. He was actually toe touching on the “bad” leg the day after surgery when I picked him up. He has continously been toe touching and some light weight bearing in the past 3 days. I continue to ice/ hot pack his leg 4 times daily and do the PROM excercises twice daily. However, yesterday one of his top stiches popped out (his incision was really tight). Fortunately the incision has healed very well and just the top layer wasn’t fully healed. My sister was a vet tech for years (thank god!) so she just applied a little skin glue and fixed it. I do crate Cain when no one is home or when there’s alot of commotion in the house ( ex. kids running around) to keep him from jumping up suddenly but when I’m home or my sister is watching him, we keep him in a section the den, which isn’t very large. Maybe a 4×5 area. He’s not a very active dog thank goodness and prefers to lounge around and watch TV all day so I’m fortunate with that. Sometimes he does stand up or walk around just a bit but never for a long period of time. I think that’s actually good because he seems a bit stiff after sitting or laying for a long period. I did purchase a sling from Dr. Fosters & Smith that has helped tremendously with getting him up my porch steps (only 3 steps) to go out for pee pee time. I highly recommend getting the sling plus it was only $15. Well worth it. I will say that the recovery process seems to be getting a bit better. The first 3 nights were just horrible! Not really with Cain’s leg but he had the worst liquid bowels I’ve ever seen! But now that has subsided and he seems to be very comfortable. We go on Tuesday July 8th to have his stiches removed and post op eval. Hopefully everything will be just fine. This experience has been worse for me than for Cain. My nerves have been horrible as I’m so afraid he will injure himself more or hurt the “bad” leg during recovery. But so far so good! Good luck to everyone going through this type of ordeal. Hang in there.

  75. Ben says:

    My 50 lb pitty goes in on Thursday for TTA surgery. Not looking forward to the next couple months, but hopefully she will be back to normal again after that. I’ll try and keep this updated.

    She’s crate trained, but has been confined in there 75% of the time these past few days and is miserable and crying constantly. I’m not sure she’ll be able to fit in her crate with a cone on, but we shall see. It’s a pretty big crate, like twice her size.

  76. deborsh says:

    I’m glad I found this site but shocked to see so many pups with so msny bone and muscular problems!

    My sons lab/boxer/??mix rescue (6mos) broke his growth plate two weeks ago and had to have surgery so threy could pin it back together. It’s been a roigh couple of weeks since he was not crate trained at all and considered it like a vietnam prison camp!

    We finally made a spot next to the couch and living room wall where he is leashed about 10′. It is next to my hubbies recliner and since ee are retired someone is always with him.

    Wwe found the best way to keep him calm is toys. We don’t pile them all up but change them out so he can’t get bored. Stuffed animals, dolls, knukle bones, big rawhide knots, rubber toys.

    We got a tranquilizer from the vet but it doesn’t last the ten hours between doses so we also give him Bach Rescue Remedy and my Tramadol if all else fails. (Vet gave the ok on this)

    When he needs to go potty we just let him out on our large covered back porch and hubby usually sits out there with him till he is finished doing potty. We also have a pallet of blankets out there for him so he can get some fresh air then.

    4 more weeks to go and it won’t come to soon for this hyper pup!

    Here’s a tip to keep their bowels moving. Probiotics, oatmeal mixed in with his canned and dried food with plenty of water.

    PS: I also used some homeopathic remedies and minerals to help in the healing process and the vet could not believe how quickly he is healing!

  77. Kristen says:

    I was too scared to have my doggy go through surgery so I got her a brace instead. After a couple of days she was already walking around the yard chasing after the squirrels again :) I was leaping for joy!! I got her an A-Trac brace from Wound Wear so if you don’t think surgery is the best choice for you dog I would recommend this approach. :)

  78. jane says:

    My 58lb mix had TTA 3 weeks ago, and I hope she is recovering well. It cost almost $4000. !
    She didn’t poop for 4 or 5 days, although I fussed around with pumpkin and olive oil. She was off her food too. So I cooked chicken for her. She hated the collar, so I took it off, and she hardly touched her stitches (which I took out myself). I tried a toe-less sock, but it kept falling down.
    We confined her to the living room, and turned a sofa to block the archway. She jumped right over it twice. Doesn’t seem to have hurt anything. So we moved the sofa and she has free range of the ground fllor (not a big house). She loves being outside so I have been letting her lie out there, tied up, with me keeping a sharp ear out for any activity. It seems to calm her, make her feel a bit normal, and gives her a change of scenery. She is always leashed outside.
    We blocked the stairs, but carry her up to our bedroom with us at night. She sleeps soundly there. I feel it is the best rest.
    We started to go for teeny tiny walks. She wants to go for miles. We have slowly increased from back yard, to front yard, to the top of the road and the length of he block. Lots of stops to sniff and look. Now she is pooping much better. I made a calendar so I wouldn’t let her do too much. It says “She will feel better than she is!” “Limited Exercise – Always on a Leash!”
    No instructions from the vet, so I have been trawling the web.
    She has separation anxiety (never before) but that may be wearing off now.
    For distraction I have given her marrow bones, new toys, lots of attention, edible treats. but not all at once. I am trying to think of new tricks to teach her that don’t involve much movement. 10 minutes of training should engage her, and tire her out.
    I came to this site because she limps a little. Now I am sure that is perfectly normal and dogs recover at their own pace. I want to find hydrotherapy (swimming not treadmill) and will start the glucosamine supplements again.
    I’ll do anything I can to keep her happy.

  79. Kelly says:

    My dog tore his acl last April. He had TTA surgery on 5/21/14. He is a BIG golden, over 100 lbs! Recovery was challenging-we kept him in a tiny room and used a sling to get him down the steps to get outside. We followed the doctor’s instructions to the letter and kept him confined to a leash for the entire summer. Towards the end of July he was allowed to swim and walk in soft sand. It is now October and he is completely healed, putting weight on the leg, happy and running just like he did before the injury! I highly recommend it. Such a relief that he is back to normal!!

  80. Lori Ratchelous says:

    My 5 yo shepherd is going in for ACL surgery next week. We have a good after care plan but my immediate concern is how to keep him “occupied.” What types of bones are recommended to “entertain” him.

  81. Kenny says:

    Its has been 6mos since my Taylor (53lbs) jack russell/boxer mix had knee, ACL surgery. I have to say, it was worth it. She is running and playing better than before. We are able to go for long walks w/o any pain or limping. The dog steps at sofa were a great help, during the healing process. I love her and I’m glad it all worked out. I hope everyone & their furry friends are well.

  82. Colleen says:

    I have a 3year old chocolate lab named Suki. She is in great health but has to have the same surgery that all of your dogs have had On her back leg. We have a cottage and in the summer time she does what labs do best which is swimming and running and swimming some more.. She jumped down a hill a little to hard and tore her ligament but we didn’t know because she limped on it then was back to normal a day later. Two weeks ago she was playing with her best friend which is a hyper jack Russel and couldn’t walk on it sinceag and has to have the surgery tomorrow! My husband and I didn’t even have to think about it because she is 3 and strong and never even cried about the pain not once. So myself as a dog mamma am very nervous about this and cried a lot today but after reading everyone’s comments help me so much. I am going to be strong tomorrow for my girl Suki and during her full rehab be her mamma.. It’s winter here in Montreal but the weird thing is she will only go to the bathroom on our deck if there is snow and well there’s snow:) we don’t have any stairs and live in a loft so she won’t have to be confined to a cage. She sleeps with us but since we bought her the biggest dog bed from costco she prefers that! I’m just rambling on I know but for all of you dog parents who have been through this thank you so much for the advice and think of Suki tomorrow, send her positive vibes..Her name means love in Japanese so without a doubt Suki is sending love right back to you!

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