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Anti-inflammatories, as the name implies, help to reduce inflammation at the surgical site and also act as a pain reliever. Pain-reliever: Unfortunately, there are very few FDA non-controlled pain-relieving medications available in the veterinary market that have been proven effective.
Tramadol, a medication commonly used for pain in humans, has not been found in the literature to be effective in dogs, even at high doses. Pets are often kept off food and sometimes off water for 12 hours prior to surgery.
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. 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. Some dogs may have mild diarrhea following anesthesia simply due to stress associated with the procedure.
If your pet has diarrhea or vomiting it’s important to contact your veterinarian. 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. It is completely normal for swelling to develop around the ankle approximately 3-5 days following surgery on the leg the TPL was performed on.
As a general rule, stairs are frowned upon early in the recovery period. In addition, a sling (or a towel) can be used under the belly while navigating stairs to ensure your pet doesn’t slip and fall.
The most likely cause for a popping noise coming from the knee is the femur sliding past or over the meniscus. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to remove the torn portion of the meniscus, while other times medical management may be able to be pursued.
If there is no pain or lameness associated with the popping noise, then there is typically no treatment required. If your pet is left free in the home and runs through the house to play or when someone comes to the door, or if your pet is jumping up and down off of furniture, this is considered high-impact activity that could increase the risk of serious complications postoperatively.
If you are watching TV, or working at a computer, your pet can be with you, but again it is imperative that they are not allowed to run freely in the home. It is strongly recommended that off-leash activity is not allowed until radiographs show complete bone healing.
There are multiple potential causes for lameness following TPL ranging from simple soft-tissue inflammation associated with over-activity, to implant failure with a resultant tibial fracture. That said, it’s important to do the best job you can to follow the rehabilitation protocol given to you by your veterinary surgeon.
They will rule out everything from a simple soft-tissue sprain or strain, infection, meniscal injury, and fractures of the patella, fibula or tibia. Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise for pets whether they just need to burn off some energy or as part of a rehabilitation program following an injury.
However, the TPL is one orthopedic procedure in which swimming is not typically part of the recovery protocol. If your pet is a swimmer, discuss this with your veterinary surgeon or rehabilitation specialist.
Studies have shown that it can take 6-12 months following surgery for patients to exhibit limb function indistinguishable from a control population. During the first eight weeks, we are completely relying on the implants (plate and screws) to stabilize the surgery site.
It takes a minimum of eight weeks for bones to heal and good scar tissue to form. This process can take longer in geriatric pets or those with other systemic health conditions.
Your pet should be confined to a kennel or small room until radiographs show good bone healing. Any running (inside or outside), jumping on or off furniture, or playing could lead to severe complications.
Recheck Appointments If a bandage or wound dressing was placed, a recheck may need to be scheduled to have this removed Your pet should be evaluated 10-14 days postoperatively to evaluate healing of the incision; if skin sutures were placed they will need to be removed at this time. If lameness occurs or your pet fails to improve, X-rays may need to be taken to verify proper implant position and evidence of healing.
At approximately eight weeks following surgery X-rays will need to be taken by your veterinarian to verify complete bone healing before returning to normal activity. If you have elected to proceed with a TPL on your pet, we strongly recommend that you follow the recovery protocol provided to you by your veterinary surgeon.
Using a sling or folded bath towel under your dog’s belly can be used for support when walking on slick surfaces such as tile or wood floors, and even on other surfaces if they are unsteady on the surgical limb. The sling can also be used to help slow your pet’s pace down if they are pulling hard on the leash.
Passive Range of Motion (PROM) Lay pet on their side with surgical limb up. Drugstore packs, crushed ice in a Ziploc bag, or frozen peas or corn can be used.
Drugstore packs or socks filled with uncooked rice heated in a microwave work well. If your pet fails to begin using his leg during the first two weeks, please contact your veterinarian.
Incorporate the following exercises into leash walks as directed by your veterinarian, to build strength and body awareness: Walk in large figure 8 pattern Stepping slowly up onto and down off of a curb in an S pattern Gentle inclines (a mild slope on a street or a driveway) There are multiple reasons why a patient may not want to bear weight on a limb following surgery.
Or even just take a funny step, leading to a lameness of varying severity. In approximately 3% of all TPL cases, an infection may occur associated with the plate and screws.
Patients may show signs of lameness or pain, swelling/redness at the surgery site, and discharge. In situations where a pet is allowed excessive high impact activity, the bone plate or screws can bend or break.
If this occurs, the surgical site may be unstable which in many instances may require further surgery. In other rare instances, patients may simply be uncomfortable with the presence of the plate.
In these cases, removal of the plate after the bone has healed will typically resolve the lameness. In those cases, the torn portion of the meniscus will be removed at the time of surgery.
However, approximately 5% of dogs with an intact meniscus at the time of surgery will develop a meniscal tear at some point in the future. In some cases, these patients may need a second surgery to remove the torn portion of the meniscus.
Frequently, treatment of the underlying cause will greatly increase a patient’s comfort level. The following information gives an overview of the treatment of and prevention of further arthritis development.
If at any point, you have questions about the potential therapies listed below, please contact your veterinarian. These activities may include stretching and range of motion exercises, controlled walking, and swimming.
More advanced techniques such as those used by physical rehabilitation specialists (balance boards, underwater treadmills, etc.) The efficacy of physical rehabilitation in dogs with osteoarthritis has been proven in multiple scientific studies.
In addition to the contribution physical activity can have on weight management, it can also help maintain range of motion, muscle mass, and comfort. If high-impact activities such as fetch or playing with other pets are expected, a ‘warm-up’ period of walking may decrease the risk of injury.
This means there can be a wide range of quality between products with some not containing a significant amount of an ingredient they claim to have. An easy way to calculate the dosage of Omega-3’s is to take your pet’s body weight in pounds and multiply that by 20.
So if your pet is 20lb, then 20 × 20 = 400, so you want to ensure you are giving 400 mg of the EPA component of the fish oil. Polysulfide Glycosaminoglycans (Gags): This drug, labeled in the US as Adequate, was originally designed to treat acute joint cartilage injuries, and it is approved for use in dogs for arthritis.
If a patient has a significant beneficial response, a plan is implemented to taper the injection to the longest effective interval. Side effects may include vomiting, diarrhea, blood in the stool, not eating or drinking, lethargy, inactivity, or nausea.
Amantadine: This medication controls pain by acting as an N-methyl-d-aspartate (MDA) receptor antagonist. Unfortunately, of the multiple studies performed evaluating its efficacy in dogs, only one found any analgesic effects.