Dog Knee Surgery Recovery From an Insider’s Perspective

by Cindy Dunston Quirk

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 animal 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 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 him 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 his 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.

Watch for part 2 of our journey next month!

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.

Comments

58 thoughts on “Dog Knee Surgery Recovery From an Insider’s Perspective

  • Carol Griffin

    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!
    (Posted on 8/28/2012)

  • Dr. Joseph Manda

    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...
    (Posted on 9/8/2012)

  • Jewell Perry

    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?
    (Posted on 6/12/2013)

  • Trish

    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.
    (Posted on 7/23/2013)

  • Linda

    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?
    (Posted on 8/5/2013)

  • Annelise

    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.
    (Posted on 8/8/2013)

  • Tiffany Shaw

    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.
    (Posted on 8/14/2013)

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    (Posted on 8/19/2013)

  • Jacquelyn Ljungqvist

    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.
    (Posted on 8/25/2013)

  • David Holland

    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?
    (Posted on 9/7/2013)

  • lisa cousins

    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...!
    (Posted on 9/7/2013)

  • Ame

    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
    (Posted on 9/18/2013)

  • Sara O

    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.
    (Posted on 9/21/2013)

  • Shelly

    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
    (Posted on 10/10/2013)

  • Beverly

    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!
    (Posted on 10/13/2013)

  • Beverly

    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!
    (Posted on 10/13/2013)

  • Lisa

    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!
    (Posted on 10/13/2013)

  • Erin

    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.
    (Posted on 10/18/2013)

  • Brooke

    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!!!!! :(
    (Posted on 10/18/2013)

  • Miryam

    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
    (Posted on 10/29/2013)

  • Susan

    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.
    (Posted on 10/30/2013)

  • Colleen

    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.
    (Posted on 11/3/2013)

  • donna

    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
    (Posted on 11/14/2013)

  • Nancy

    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.
    (Posted on 11/16/2013)

  • Nancy Romanot

    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.
    (Posted on 11/18/2013)

  • jill

    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.
    (Posted on 11/27/2013)

  • lesley

    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.
    (Posted on 12/20/2013)

  • NW

    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!!
    (Posted on 12/31/2013)

  • Gemma Lynch

    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!! .
    (Posted on 1/14/2014)

  • Diane Galow

    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???
    (Posted on 1/15/2014)

  • Marti christie

    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!
    (Posted on 1/18/2014)

  • Amanda Jirousek

    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.
    (Posted on 1/21/2014)

  • Cathy

    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!
    (Posted on 2/14/2014)

  • Diane

    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.
    (Posted on 2/17/2014)

  • aimee

    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.
    (Posted on 2/22/2014)

  • Jessica

    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 4x3 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
    (Posted on 2/23/2014)

  • aimee

    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?
    (Posted on 2/23/2014)

  • aimee

    Hi Jessica Thank you for your comment did your vet give your dog a fentanyl patch for pain.
    (Posted on 2/23/2014)

  • Jessica

    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.
    (Posted on 2/23/2014)

  • heather

    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.
    (Posted on 2/26/2014)

  • Patti

    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.
    (Posted on 2/26/2014)

  • Estela Leal

    What is the average cost to repair a torn ACL?
    (Posted on 2/26/2014)

  • Carri

    I'm really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Great work!
    (Posted on 3/4/2014)

  • Lorna

    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. :)
    (Posted on 3/9/2014)

  • Michelle

    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!
    (Posted on 3/9/2014)

  • Celeste

    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
    (Posted on 3/10/2014)

  • Alex

    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
    (Posted on 3/13/2014)

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  • Jo

    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.
    (Posted on 3/14/2014)

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  • mary morrison

    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.
    (Posted on 3/15/2014)

  • Gaynor Henry

    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?
    (Posted on 3/16/2014)

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  • Kealoha

    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!
    (Posted on 4/8/2014)

  • Valerie

    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!!!
    (Posted on 4/11/2014)

  • Karen

    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.
    (Posted on 4/13/2014)

  • Nikki Thompson

    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.
    (Posted on 4/13/2014)

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