TPLO Recovery Frequently Asked Questions
What medications will my pet be sent home with?
The exact medications sent home will be surgeon dependent, however, below is a typical post-operative medication protocol.
- Anti-inflammatory: Most pets will be sent home with a 2 week course of an anti-inflammatory pain medication. Anti-inflammatories, as the name implies, help to reduce inflammation at the surgical site and also act as a pain reliever. There are multiple anti-inflammatories on the market, just as there are for humans, so the exact medication may vary.
- Pain-reliever: Other pain relievers such as gabapentin or even a fentanyl patch may be used for post-operative pain.
- Trazodone: This medication may be prescribed to help keep your pet calm and quiet during the recovery process. This allows for better compliance with the necessary exercise restrictions.
- Antibiotic: Sometimes antibiotics may be used post-operatively in an effort to minimize surgical site infection.
My pet hasn’t urinated or had a bowel movement yet. Is this normal?
Pets are often kept off food and sometimes off water for 12 hours prior to surgery. They are then given medications that can alter the motility of the gut. It is common for pets to urinate and/or defecate while under anesthesia or for the hospital staff to express the bladder so that patients don’t wake up with a full bladder. They then go home and may not have an appetite or want to drink for a day after having anesthesia. Finally, pets may have difficulty posturing to urinate or defecate following surgery on a leg. For all these reasons, it can often take multiple days following surgery for pets to go to the restroom.
My dog isn’t wanting to eat yet. Is that normal?
It’s not uncommon for dogs to not want to eat following anesthesia. Don’t be surprised if it takes a few days for your pet’s appetite to get back to normal. Sometimes your veterinarian may recommend feeding a bland diet consisting of rice, low-fat cottage cheese, plain yogurt, or boiled chicken (without the skin) for a few days following surgery and then gradually transitioning back to your pet’s normal diet.
My dog has diarrhea and is vomiting. Is that normal?
My dogs’ attitude just isn’t back to normal yet. When can I expect him to himself?
All dogs respond differently to anesthesia and it can take some pets longer than others to get back to their normal self. If your pets attitude isn’t back to normal within a few days of surgery, it is important to have them evaluated by a veterinarian.
My pet has swelling around the ankle. Is this normal?
Can my pet climb stairs in the home and to get outside?
Why do I hear a popping noise coming from the knee when my dog is walking?
Does my dog really need to be confined to a kennel, or does he just need to be confined to the house after surgery?
Do I really have to wait 8 weeks to allow my dog off-leash?
Following TPLO, the bone plate and screws are responsible for holding the two segments of the tibia together until the bone has healed. This healing process takes about 8-12 weeks. In the meantime, the plate must endure all the stresses of weight bearing. Too much activity too soon could lead to implant failure and thus high-impact activity is not advised. It is strongly recommended that off-leash activity is not allowed until radiographs show complete bone healing.
My dog got away from me and ran around and now is limping. What happened?
Can my dog swim after surgery?
It’s been 8 weeks since surgery. My dog is definitely improved but not back to normal yet. Now what do I do?
Every pet recovers from surgery at a different pace. While some pets appear to have made a
full recovery within weeks of surgery, others may take months to reach full potential. Studies have shown that it can take 6-12 months following surgery for patients to exhibit limb function indistinguishable from a control population. If your pet hasn’t reached a level of function that you would expect, speak with your surgeon to see if they have any recommendations to help get your pet back to peak function.
How do I properly massage my dog after TPLO surgery?
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"We just wanted to take a minute to thank all of you for all your hard work with Winnie. Dr. Bergh went above and beyond to help fix Winnie up when she tore everything imaginable in her right hind leg! She says thank you as she can run and play like nothing ever happened! We are truly grateful."
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“The outcome of the TPLO surgery performed by Dr. Bergh on our German Shepard was almost magical. Our dog now runs, jumps, and plays like a puppy again!”
“We are so grateful that our young dog was in Dr. Bergh's care. Her knowledge related to diagnosing our dog's leg and joint issues and the subsequent TPLO surgeries was impressive and comforting. Dr. Bergh loves her patients and is great at communicating every step of the way. She also provided several options for addressing our dog’s needs and made it really easy for us to explore pros and cons. Couldn't be more pleased with this vet surgeon superstar!”