Immediate post operative care
For at least eight weeks following surgery, a strict confinement regime is required, with three important principles.
- DO NOT allow your dog free exercise in the house. Your dog can walk around inside on carpeted surfaces, under your direct supervision and on a lead. It can wander around the room at a slow walk as long as it is not constant. Running, jumping, bounding, playing etc, are NOT ALLOWED. Playing with other animals is also not allowed. If there are other pets in your household, you will need to keep them separated.
- Your dog must be on a lead at all times when outside for “toileting”. If necessary use a “belly band” (long towel placed under the tummy, just behind the front legs). Your dog is not allowed to go for an actual walk or be off lead when outside.
- When not under your direct supervision, your dog must be confined to an indoor kennel or equivalent – e.g. small room.
- Most dogs will develop a fluid swelling around the hock during the first few days following surgery. This is quite normal and nothing to worry about.
- Your dog will probably be quiet for the first few days, have difficulty moving around and may not eat or drink as much as usual. Then it should gradually brighten up and attempt to use the operated leg within the first 10 days.
- For the first two weeks following surgery, you will need to monitor your dog’s wound. The wound should not irritate your dog. If it starts to weep or becomes red, swollen or sore then please contact either us, or your own veterinary surgeon for advice. These may be early signs of an infection. An “Elizabethan” collar is always required to prevent your dog from licking or chewing at the wound.
- During confinement, your dog’s food intake needs to be reduced to help prevent weight gain. Most dogs will maintain their current weight if their food intake is cut by 20-50%. Water consumption should remain normal.
- You will need to return to either us, or your own veterinary surgeon 10-14 days after your dog’s surgery, for removal of the skin sutures.
- You will need to return to us in eight weeks for post-operative radiography. This is essential to monitor healing of the bone before starting the physiotherapy programme. If bone healing is satisfactory, then your dog can begin a regulated activity regime. A final appointment at four to six months post operatively may be needed for additional radiographs and final instructions, before your dog can return to normal activity.
- One of the most difficult aspects of confinement is that animals will frequently feel better long before they are healed. At this point, your dog will start being more careless with the operated limb and more likely to become overactive and injure itself. Until the bone has healed, you must adhere strictly to the confinement guidelines and not allow your dog to do more.
- If at any time during your dog’s recovery and healing, it does anything that causes it to cry out or give a sharp yelp, please contact us. Following surgery, your dog should always maintain its current level of function, or improve. If at any time during your dog’s recovery and healing it has a set back or decreases in function, please contact us.
- It is imperative that you inform us at once if your dog does something that is potentially harmful to the surgery. If something has occurred which jeopardises the outcome of surgery, it is usually easier to correct if it is dealt with straight away, which leads to a better outcome for your dog.
- If your dog is too active during its confinement, it may injure itself or slow down the healing, which increases the amount of time your dog must be confined.
- Please telephone us on 01442 822151 during our opening hours if you are at all worried about your dog’s progress.
Remember - DO NOT allow free exercise in the house.
DO NOT allow free exercise until the end of the physiotherapy programme.