TPLO General Recovery Information

JasiriThe PDF handout on the side of this page provides important information about what your dog is allowed to do during a normal recovery and helps you prepare for after the surgery. Please download a copy for your reference during your dog’s recovery.

Postoperative physical therapy and adequate exercise restriction is a very important component of the final outcome of your pet’s TPLO. 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 very low chance of complications and a return to almost full function (depending on the amount of pre-existing arthritis) with the TPLO procedure. 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.  In general, no other medications (including aspirin or aspirin like drugs) should be given.
Post Operative Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy 
Postoperative rehabilitation and physical therapy is 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, and if any 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.
Some animals show swelling/bruising at the hock and around the hock, which is caused by the surgery at the knee. Such swelling/bruising is normal and can be treated with ice-packing during the first 5 days or later on with hot-packing.

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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