Lateral Suture Recovery Guidelines

lateral suturePostoperative physical therapy and adequate exercise restriction is a very important component of the final outcome of your pet’s cruciate surgery (lateral suture). Following the guidelines below will maximize the outcome and limb function as well as avoid complications. If all the recommendations are followed, we expect a lower risk of complications and better outcome. We at AMVS are hoping that by planning ahead it will be easier for you to prepare for your dog’s recovery period.

Most dogs will receive medications for pain and to prevent infection. Antibiotics are usually given for 7-14 days after surgery. Pain medications usually are given for approximately 2 weeks, but this may vary depending on your dog’s individual needs. Most commonly NSAIDs and Tramadol (a synthetic opioid) are used as postoperative pain medications – please click here for further important information. In general, no other medications (including aspirin or aspirin like drugs) should be given.

Postoperative rehabilitation and physical therapy are very important for a positive outcome. During the first 1-2 weeks, ice packing the incision two to three times a day for 10-20 minutes is ideal. An ideal icing agent is a 2lb. bag of frozen peas. They conform to the leg and are the correct temperature (as well as reusable). A towel in between the leg and the ice pack is recommended so that the incision does not get moist. This treatment can be discontinued 3-5 days after surgery.

Until the staples are removed (in general 10-14 days after surgery) the incision site should be monitored for increased redness, swelling, or drainage. If any of these symptoms are observed, contact us. Do not allow your dog to scratch or lick at the incision site. Scratching or licking at the incision can lead to a serious infection or incisional separation. Therefore, an e-collar should be worn at all times during the first two weeks until the skin staples are removed. Physiotherapy ideally should begin 2-5 days after surgery. Please contact our physical therapy department, Canine Rehabilitation and Conditioning Group, at (303) 762-7946 or for further information.

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