9 Lessons Learned From Dog ACL Surgery and Recovery

acl-surgery

Hobbes had dog ACL surgery

Updated June 19, 2017

What did I learn about Hobbes’ dog ACL surgery and recovery? Reflecting, I learned so much. At times it didn’t seem like it. I hope these lessons help you if you ever need them.

  • Order “equipment” before surgery. After dog ACL surgery Hobbes needed support while standing and walking. The GingerLead® was perfect. I am so grateful for the client recommendation. It is a padded sling with adjustable handles. It attaches to the dog’s collar or harness so it stays in place. Immediately after dog ACL surgery, we walked Hobbes to the car and used it for at least 6 weeks post surgery. We wish we adjusted it and practiced with Hobbes walking in it before surgery.
  • It is okay to cry! I’ve left Hobbes at the vet for dental cleaning and cyst removals. This time was different – he wouldn’t recover in an evening. As I was leaving the vets’ office after dropping him off for dog ACL surgery, the staff asked if I was okay. I said “Yes.” As I got to the car, the tears started to flow. It was different. Then a sob came. I knew Hobbes was in great hands. Still the tears came. I would see him again at 4 pm.
  • Prepare a recovery space. Hobbes needed to be in a quiet, confined area Hobbes' recovery room after dog ACL surgerywith nothing to jump on. Since he loves his bed in the den off the living room, we added a gate to the entrance. We covered the hardwood floor with a rubber-backed rug. I decided to sleep with him until his stitches were removed. My bed consisted of 2 sofa cushions. Then moved his food dish next to his water dish. We were ready for surgery.
  • Don’t panic! As John and I drove Hobbes home, we stopped at a favorite bathroom spot. He didn’t poop. We were concerned. The next day the vet tech reminded me Hobbes had fasted the night before surgery and may not go for a few days. Dah!
  • Be creative. Hobbes didn’t wear a cone for first 2 days because he had aHobbes leg covering/protection after dog ACL surgery. bandage on his leg. The first night with the “party hat,” we didn’t sleep well. The next day John said, “Since he is used to the Body Wrap, can you warp his leg?” The Body Wrap would bring attention to the leg – not the solution. I found a long sleeve tee shirt and cut off the shoulder and sleeve in 1 piece. Then I cut 2 straps from the hem and sewed them on. When with us, he wore the sleeve on his leg. The straps were attached to his harness. He left the stitches alone.
  • More information (added June 19, 2017) on Hobbes leg covering. The photo has Dog ACL surgery leg protector a close up of the sleeve. The straps are the hem of the long sleeve tee shirt sewn on by hand. In the above photo, Hobbes is resting in his harness. The strap on his hip goes over to the top of the harness. The strap on the inside of his leg goes under his belly and to the harness. Just try it tied in different positions.
  • Stuff happens. A week after dog ACL surgery, I had left Hobbes alone to go to a meeting. He was in his den with the gate up and “party hat” on. All was well, I thought. I got home to find Hobbes standing in the middle of the living room with his tail wagging! I freaked. Did he hurt his leg? Do I need to get it x-rayed? I put him back in the den. Then I went upstairs to change. The bath mat was in the hall. He went upstairs to get a drink from a favorite water dish. Damn! He went up and down the stairs. I was in panic mode. While talking to John for the second time in 5 minutes, I remembered he had a physical therapy appointment in an hour. He was fine and the vet tech giggled at how “smart Hobbes is.” Yes I finally exhaled! I hadn’t secured the gate up correctly!

  • Insurance. When we adopted Hobbes, I didn’t look at pet insurance. Now I am researching it. The challenge is many companies won’t insure the other leg for ACL tears. Yes, 40-60% of dogs will tear the other leg’s ACL. I found one company that will cover the other leg 1 year after he completes his therapy sessions. Thanks to Dr. Nancy Kay, DVM, author of “Speaking for Spot” for these great references – North American Pet Health Insurance Association and Pet Insurance Review (compares cats and dog plans). Ask questions.
  • Hindsight. People ask “How did Hobbes tear his ACL?” We don’t know. Looking back, I realize last winter during walks, he wasn’t sitting at corners. He was slower to sit. He wasn’t running fast as much. He was trotting more. Then suddenly he was carrying his leg up. The vet said it could be a tear. We went to Twin City Animal Rehab and Sports Medicine and tried to avoid surgery. Then Hobbes twisted his knee. He needed surgery. A few days after surgery, Hobbes was back getting laser treatments and soon using the “spa.”

Now Hobbes is back 110% after his dog ACL surgery and his leg muscles are in the best shape.

If you have any concerns as you navigate healing with your pet, schedule a free 15-minute phone/Skype consultation with Elaine.

Comments

  1. Amanda says

    Hi Elaine,

    Thank you for this post! It’s so helpful. I wish we would have made the sleeve for Klaus. So creative (good tip!), and it would have saved us from days of an even more depressed dog because of the cone.

    I’d add one tip…ask for advice!!! I was so grateful to talk to you a few days before Klaus’ knee surgery. You gave great advice and it felt so nice to know someone else was going through this, too. And since you were a few weeks ahead, could tell me there was a light at the end of the tunnel!!! :)

    I also cried, too. My husband and I went out for breakfast after dropping Klaus off and it was a bit anxious as we thought about what Klaus was going through. Feel the Feels, it’s a really good tip.

    We were SO grateful for the GingerLead. Lifting a 75lbs dog with a towel would never have worked. We also created a space in our living room AND bedroom to limit movement. We called the space in the livingroom “the nest.” It was nice for Klaus to have two places to go between. The bedroom has always been his sleeping spot so he felt more comfortable sleeping night and afternoons there.

    We also did lots of brain games. Our friend Jane at A Good Dog Now helped us come up with games (mostly tricks) to work on while Klaus was laying down. He also only ate from a kong and another brain game while he was on rest. Helpful for an active dog who thought he was ready to go out to play well before the Vet gave an OK.

    Oh, and “Stuff Happens” is SO TRUE! Recently Klaus was left in “the nest” while I was doing laundry. My husband came home and I heard the scurry of nails on the wood floor. Klaus JUMPED on/over the ottoman to greet his Daddy at the door. Whoops! This happened a few times before we got hip to his tricks and modified the nest to keep him in.

    Rehab/Therapy!! We love TC Rehab. They have been doing a great job with Klaus. We chose them partially on your recommendation but partially because they have evening hours-which we need with our work schedules. I am so grateful for their monitoring of Klaus’ recovery. I feel like he’s going to be 110%, like Hobbes, too!

  2. Elaine says

    Yes Amanda it is easier to go through leg/knee surgery when you have a team of supporters. I am so excited the tips were helpful. Tell Klaus he will be running and playing soon.

  3. says

    This is some great information, and I appreciate your advice to get any necessary recovery equipment for your dog before the surgery. My dog is going to be having this same surgery, so I’m grateful for this informative post! I’ll definitely be sure to get any necessary equipment for him before I take him in. Thanks again for sharing!

  4. says

    I’m going to be taking my dog, Bunter, in for a surgery in a matter of weeks, so I’m happy I was able to find your post! I really liked your tips to help me, and Bunter, deal with the surgery. One thing you mentioned that I really liked was to create a recovery space for my dog where he can go once the operation is complete. I think that if I do this, Bunter will feel much more comfortable while he heals, and won’t experience so much stress. When he goes in for surgery, I’ll take that time to make up a little recovery area just for him. Thank you for the great tip!

  5. Elaine says

    I am sure Bunter will enjoy his recovery place. I started a routine with Hobbes that each morning I would sit with him and do my meditation. It calmed both of us. Have a very successful recovery. Remember to take care of yourself too!

  6. Elaine says

    If you can get the GingerLead, I highly recommend it. It saved our backs and make walking Hobbes easier.

  7. says

    Thanks for sharing your experience with your dog getting ACL surgery! My dog is going to be having a similar surgery, and I’m worried about a lot of things, but your article gave me some peace of mind. I’ll definitely do what I can to prepare, but I’ll try not to stress too much or panic.

  8. Elaine says

    Lillian, the GingerLead is worth it. Try to get it before surgery, so you can practice using it. Please let me know how I can help you. Remember to exhale and relax.

  9. Joseph says

    Hi Elaine,

    Thanks for the great article and sharing your experience. My dog tore her ACL about a year ago and so we went through the whole experience ourselves. The sling is a great idea for bigger dogs that need help moving around. Something you (or your readers) may want to check out is using a dog knee brace for after surgery during the recovery process. We got the Ortocanis dog knee brace online and it was truly great. Can’t say what her recovery would have been without it but it’s been over a year and my dog has had her life returned to her. There are lots of different products nowadays on the market that are special for recovering/disabled dogs.. you just have to spend some time and look for them.

  10. Elaine says

    Joseph, I’m so sorry you and your dog had to go through ACL surgery. Hobbes is approaching one year after his surgery and doing great. Thanks for the information on the knee brace. Others may find it helpful. I listened to our wonderful animal rehab vets and got wonderful results.

  11. Carla says

    Thank you so very much for taking the time to share your experience and helpful tips. Today my dog Lily a Golden Retriever was diagnosed with a torn ACL and searching the internet i was fortunate to run across your article above. Besides the physical tips the notation I especially enjoyed was the comment about the mediation. I did not even think about that one. I will be sure to include her post surgery.

  12. Elaine says

    Carla, Please contact me if you need any help. Sometimes rehab will help. Before we decided on surgery, Hobbes received rehab. Unfortunately he twisted his knee and needed the surgery. I do highly recommend the GingerLead! It saved our backs.

  13. says

    My dog has been limping and crying for a few days now, and so I am going to take him to the vet to see if he tore is ACL. I hope he doesn’t have to have surgery, but if he does then I’ll make sure to prepare a recovery space for him. Maybe I will make the space under the stairs his new recovery space and set it up with his bed, feeding bowls, and a few of his favorite stuffed animals.

  14. Elaine says

    Faylinn, Yes please take your dog to the vet to be checked out. Ask your vet about possible rehab also. Be sure your dog’s healing place is in a place where he can see what is going on at home and not feel isolated. Hope he heals quickly.

  15. Liz says

    My baby is going in for surgery tomorrow morning. I know I won’t be able to sleep tonight :*( I’m placing an order on amazon for a soft collar, harness, and nonslip rugs. I’m also researching pet insurance since she is likely to tear her other acl. I have not been able to find an insurance company that will cover that kind of preexisting condition. What company did you end up going with? Thank you!

  16. Elaine says

    Liz, I didn’t get insurance after surgery. If you can, rehab or dog physical therapy is well worth it. I think the only pet insurances that covers the other leg is PetPlan. The clock starts running after the last rehab session. Then the dog needs to go 12 months (I think) before another injury.

    Please contact me if you need any support. Good luck. Hobbes is doing great!

  17. says

    Elaine, thanks for the tips on the ginger lead! I will order one today. Ressie surgery is wednesday and I am already starting to worry !! Yes ACL and it was mis dignosed twice. Can I have a littler better instructions on the Body wrap? Sounds like I need one. Thank You!
    Brenda

  18. Elaine says

    Brenda, The GingerLead was the best tool we used during Hobbes recovery. It helps Reggie and it saves your back. I’ll send you information on the body wrap. Remember to exhale. Take care of yourself too. May Reggie and you have an easy recovery.

  19. Elaine says

    Adele, Please contact me if you have any concerns or need suggestions! Here’s to easy healing!

  20. Marybeth says

    Thank you for sharing your experience , my yellow lab is scheduled to have surgery on January 24. I am very nervous about the recovery. They said she will be coming home later that day. That scares me. I want to be prepared for her to be comfortable. I really like the long sleeve shirt idea. I hope I can recreate it. Fingers crossed for my Cali.

  21. Elaine says

    Marybeth, Hobbes came home the same day. My husband laid with Hobbes in the back of my car. Hobbes was grateful to eat and sleep. Contact me if you need a pep talk. Exhale. And remember it is okay to cry.

  22. Emily says

    Very unexpected surgery for us. We went to the vet on Monday and told us Bear had a torn acl… He was scheduled for surgery on tues. So we have had no planning. Today is day 3 of him being home. Bear is a newfie and loves being outside. He keeps trying to walk on it. I feel like I’m going absolutely crazy at this point because I don’t know what else to do with him.

  23. Elaine says

    Emily, I understand your frustration and concerns. Please purchase a GingerLead as soon as possible. You may be able to call the company and get it sent out immediately. I’ll reach out to you by email and we can discuss other ideas. Take care, Elaine

  24. Kellie says

    My pup Jaine just had this surgery today. How did your pups go to the bathroom? Did you hold their belly in a sling and support their back legs? I feel like this is going to be our biggest issue.

  25. Kellie says

    If you have any additional advice please let me know! She is a rabbitt/squirrel/groundhog chaser too so this is going to be a long 6 weeks.

  26. Elaine says

    Kellie, I highly recommend the GingerLead mentioned in the blog. It is a padded sling that support her when she goes to bathroom and for just walking. Actually she won’t feel like doing too much for the first week. Please contact me with any questions by calling, email (Contact page on website), or free 15 minute consult.

  27. Elaine says

    Don’t worry Kellie. She won’t be moving around too much in the beginning. Yes do keep her calm and in the house as much as possible for a while. It will pass quickly.

  28. Alexandra says

    My bulldog jumped on the bed two weeks after his ACL . He didn’t cry or anything he was chilling like nothing . Could he have torn it again. I called the vet and she said it was fine just no more jumping but how would she know if she hasn’t seen him.

  29. Elaine says

    Alexandra, Did he jump two weeks after his surgery? Does he seem like he is in pain or limping? Remember Hobbes went up and down a flight of stair to get a drink of water a week after his surgery. He was just fine. If you are still concerned I would take him in for your peace of mind. I’m not a vet and can’t tell you. I learned I needed to really be sure any dog gates were secure, and lift Hobbes on and off the bed. Good luck!

  30. Alexandra says

    I’ve kept an eye on him but today the minute I turned around he jumped . I don’t sense pain and he was limping before the jump . He went to get his stitches removed today and the technician said that him limping was normal !

  31. Fiona Elizabeth Taminiau says

    Hi Elaine,
    You said yours was back to 110% post ACL surgery, can I ask how long before you felt that? My 25kg Husky cross had ACL surgery in Sept ’16 and seems to be making good progress. Then in early November when taking her out for a 10 minute walk she yelped and went down on her other leg! Straight to the vet and thankfully not the other ACL but back to rest for another month with suspected pulled muscle. She doesn’t limp on her ‘surgery’ leg but does still sit funny and sometimes there is a little click in the knee. She does not like the physio exercises, never has, just won’t lie still. Not a swimmer either…any ideas on building up the strength/muscle mass again in her back legs?
    Thank you

  32. Elaine says

    Hi Fiona. Hobbes is doing great. He is a 40 pound Wheaten with lots of energy when he wants to play. He was 9 when he had his surgery. We did his exercises as often as we could and it really helped his recovery. We used the under water treadmill at the animal rehab center. You may be hearing the clicking of the implant in his knee. Ask your vet about it.

    I can’t recommend any specific exercises. Like humans, each dog is different. I would check with a rehab vet if you have one in the area or someone who works with agility dogs. We did lots of range of motion and strengthening exercises. Also we walk a lot too. Hobbes sits funny on his hip sometimes too. Your Husky is only on the beginning of healing. Give yourself and your dog some time. Take care, Elaine

  33. Phyllis Pierson says

    Our Quincy had ACL surgery yesterday. We brought him home yesterday afternoon. He has a stiff bandage on his leg which makes walking very clumsy for him. I was wondering about how many days he will still be in pain and needing pain relieving meds after the surgery. Also we live in a small town and have no therapy places that I know of. Will the exercises we do at home give good results? Quincy is a miniature poodle, 8 1/2 yrs. I cried too and am still depressed.

  34. Elizabeth says

    Hello Elaine!

    Thank you for this post, I wish I had found it before my Samoyed had surgery back in October! However I was wondering how long did it take for your dog to get back to 110%? We have done everything possible to make sure my dog recovered properly, however due to the prices we couldn’t afford to also do the therapies, and to be quite honest the vet didn’t say we needed it aside from the exercises she reccomended to do at home. Anyway, the problem is that after 3 1/2 months since the surgery he still limps sometimes and his leg seems stiff, he also has a hard time going up the stairs so he just avoids them now. I’m not sure if it’s because of the cold weather, if it’s supposed to take longer to get completely healed, if he’s just afraid, or if the surgery failed. Should I wait more time while doing his exercises, should I invest on therapy or should I go back to the vet?

    Please advice,
    Thank you!

  35. Elaine says

    Phyllis, Please give Quincy time to heal. Yes he is clumsy with his leg right now. I highly recommend you purchase online The GingerLead I put in the blog. We used it the GingerLead for about 8 weeks helping Hobbes walk. Also it will save your back and make it easier for you. From my experience, do the exercises slowly meaning don’t start immediately. If Quincy shows signs of discomfort, be more gentle and do less. The first week is the hardest — actually the first day is the worst! Remember I’m talking from my experience and I’m not a vet. Please feel free to reach out to me on my Contact Page. Remember to exhale and relax. This will help Quincy.

  36. Elaine says

    Hi Elizabeth, Yes the cold weather does affect your dog’s knee. Depending on the technique used, he may have a plate in his knee. When it was extremely cold, Hobbes was uncomfortable. Remembering I’m not a vet, I recommend having a rehab vet check out your dog. The surgeon is great on the surgery and the rehab vet is your friend during recovery. The rehab vet will give you exercises designed your for dog. I saw major improvements when Hobbes had various types of laser to help him heal. I found every moment Hobbes spent in therapy helped him heal. Each dog is an individual and remember Hobbes started therapy right away with laser treatments, then the underwater treadmill, and exercises at home. Also I know finances are important too. Talk with the rehab vet for options. I don’t remember when Hobbes was a 110% better. I’m still noticing how much better he is over 20 months later. Please feel free to reach out to me by the website Contact page.

  37. Phyllis Pierson says

    Thank you. I may be getting back to you as the weeks go by. I will keep reading your helpful material.

  38. Elizabeth says

    Thank you for much for the quick reply, I will definitely look into it! Anything to see our fur babies happy ❤

    Best regards,
    Elizabeth

  39. Susan says

    I just got home from surgery with my mini Aussie and my heart is breaking for him. How long does the pain last? Thank you for all your great advice. He hates this cone!

  40. Elaine says

    Susan, I’m so sorry your mini Aussie is in pain. In the morning if he is still in pain, I would call your vet. Please remember I’m not a vet and each dog is different. Be sure to give him the pain medication on a schedule. If you are right next to him, you may want to try covering his leg with a light sheet or blanket instead of the cone. Look at the sleeve I cut off a shirt and tied on to Hobbes. Please keep me posted. You can contact my on my website. Remember to exhale and stay calm.

  41. Elaine says

    Maria, please let me know how you both are doing. You can contact me through my website.

  42. Diane says

    Do you have any names of insurance companies that will cover the other knee for ACL injury? My lab Marley just had surgery this weekend and I know that there is a 50% chance her suffering the same on her other knee. Thanks

  43. Elaine says

    Diane, I think the pet insurance that will cover the other knee is PetPlan. They will cover the second knee, if it happens, one year after the last therapy on the first knee. I decided not to get the insurance. Hobbes had therapy on both knees and is doing very well. We really forced on stabilizing this other knee and building up his entire body. It is 1 year 8 months since he had surgery and he is now 10 1/2. Please stay in touch.

  44. Fiona Elizabeth Taminiau says

    Hi Elaine,

    I queried my husky x ACL recovery with you about 6 weeks ago, I thank you for your advice that despite being 5 months in she was really just at the beginning of her recovery. 6 weeks on and I’m seeing a huge change! I’ve removed some of the restrictions I’d put in place at home, whilst still ensuring she had a safe environment while I’m out. She can now get up on the couch and even (albeit briefly) put all her weight on her back legs to greet me when I get home without her legs buckling under her. She’s not back to husky zoomies yet but can gently run in the garden with confidence having steadily rebuilt some of the lost muscle mass. I really believe the key is knowing when to allow more freedom as I suspect she was getting depressed, such a hard balancing act though with such a strong willed dog!! Thanks again for the reassurance, the vets imply all will be good after 3 months but really should prepare owners for the full reality of post ACL surgery recovery.

  45. Elaine says

    Fiona, I’m thrilled your husky is ACL recovery is going well. Yes, it does take a while for them to recover from the major surgery. At 6 months, Hobbes was better than he was before surgery. Then I started to realize he had problems the winter before his surgery. Now he is doing great. Just let your husky heal at her own pace. Thank you for the update!

  46. Susan says

    Hi. My Jack Russell, Rocky, just had his ACL surgery 2 weeks ago. I so wish I had read up on what to do before now. My vet is wonderful, but didn’t give me much to go on (no tips on slings, etc.) nor did he give me any exercises to do at home. Could you recommend some exercises for me to do with Rocky? I’m concerned because he is still holding his leg up and not attempting to use it at all. And it just looks so limp. =( I know we are at the beginning of this journey, but anything I can do to make it a shorter one for him the better. Thank you for sharing your story!

  47. Elaine says

    Hi Susan, He is still early in the recovery. Since I’m not a vet and don’t do rehab work, I don’t feel comfortable about giving information on exercises. I would contact your vet and ask who in the area can help you. Please feel free to email me at elaine@animalbridges.com or contact me through my website contact page. You can also schedule a free 15 minute phone consult at http://bitly.com/AnimBridHelp Please get in contact with me and I can see how I can help you. I do recommend the GingerLead. You will use it for a long time.

  48. Elaine says

    Amy, Thanks for sharing your experience too. I agree I knew the surgery was hard of everyone but I had no idea of what to expect. I’m thrilled your guy is doing so well. I’m happy that Hobbes is doing great 1 3/4 years later. Yes he still goes to Rehab when he needs it. He too never had this other CCL go out. I also agree do rehab if at all possible.

  49. Susan says

    I am so happy I found this site! I’ve been so down in anticipation of my active Bella, 2 year old,60 pound labradoodle’s surgery. She was running 5 days ago, and it happened, the rear leg in the air…trip to the vet..tear of the CCL, event. The xray of her other leg looks great. So a tear in her left ‘knee’. I will be going through this alone, which freaks me out. I have to postpone the surgery a couple of weeks, as I am in the midst of helping my parents move to their senior living condo. I have restricted all of her ‘fun’ activities. No going upstairs to ‘our’ room, no jumping on bed, No more running. In fact she can’t even be in her beloved yard, with being on a leash. I have squirrels, chipmunks, and neighborhood dogs on their walks by our fence. Lots to run up to. The real problem is Bella is used to having run of the house, with a dog door to back yard. She has never gone to the bathroom on a leash.She takes care of business on her own. We are practicing it now…but she isn’t pooping. So now, I am letting her out early early in morn on her own with no people,dogs walking by. But after the operation I won’t be able to do that. She is calm inside. She is scared of baby gates so they work well. After her 5 days of no activities..except for short walks, her leg is better, but it looks unstable. I know she needs and will have the surgery. I am just trying to keep it from getting worse. She lives to run. And play, and I can’t imagine that for 3 months, the whole joy of her life, will be taken away. Do they get over it emotionally? It just seems so long of a time. And then, when can they really run and play with other dogs? when is it safe…sorry for the long pouring of my soul, but i’m sad..and scared. And she hasn’t even had it yet!

  50. Elaine says

    Susan, Bella will recover from the surgery. The good news is she is young and will heal fast. The bad news is she is young and wants to be active. Now exhale. Be sure to watch your breathing. To help her to be calm, exhale. About going outside to the bathroom — she will learn. Start asking her to go poop when on leash and praise when she does. Change your thinking to she can and will do it and she will. As I tell everyone, order the GingerLead today. It saved our backs and it will help you control her outside.

    I haven’t found that dogs have problems emotionally with the surgery. Hobbes is doing well and would have told me if there was a problem. As time gets closer, tell her she is having a surgery to fix her leg and she will need to let it heal. Please don’t get emotional when you tell her — be matter of fact. If you need help, I can help you. Take care and let me know how it goes.

  51. Susan says

    Thank you Elaine. We have our consultation Tuesday for the TPLO. After my hysteria when I wrote it, and after talking to a Holistic vet, I am becoming more mature about the reality that will happen. Breath…..Bella and I will have to get through it. I’ll keep you posted.

  52. Elaine says

    Susan, yes you both will learn a lot about the recovery. Just take care of yourself and get rest. Also, reach out to me if you need more help. Now exhale and breathe! Elaine

  53. Elaine says

    Be sure to use it before surgery. Set it up and practice with it. It will help your dog before surgery too.

  54. Eva says

    Hi Elaine, thanks for sharing such an informative recovery journey of your dog. My dog was diagnosed with ACL and a suregety is recommended. Except for minor limping, he’s been doing pretty well and able to walk and play (although we have limited it). Looking at the surgery complication and recovery I am debating if we should proceed with a surgery for him, or go for alternative treatment first and see how it goes. Should I ask my vet to refer me to a rehab? Or should I contact TC Rehab for a consultation?

  55. Mindy says

    Our 1 year old, 40 pound Australian Cattle Dog mix (rescue), Piper, is having surgery tomorrow. This site has been very helpful. Like others have mentioned, I am so nervous about her recovery, because she is very active and rambunctious. Since her injury about 2 weeks ago, we have limited her AC ivory as much as possible. Would love to know more about the brain games and activities that we can use with Piper while she is recovering.

  56. Elaine says

    Hi Eva, My suggestion is to call Twin Cities Animal Rehab immediately and make an appointment. They will help you figure out if rehab can help before surgery. I know it does help with a faster recover. We did rehab with Hobbes (cold laser) for several months until he actually tore his ACL. Both Dr. Julia and Dr. Amy are fantastic. Please tell them I recommended you see them. Please let me know how you do!

  57. Elaine says

    Hi Mindy, Good luck with the surgery and recovery. My dogs haven’t ever been great with the dog puzzles. I know there are lots of great ones out there. Look for some reviews to help you.

    Depending where you live, I highly recommend going to an rehab vet in your area. Check out American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians website for a rehab vet in your area http://rehabvets.org/directory.lasso Please keep me posted. Now exhale and relax.

  58. Susan says

    Eva, my dog, Bella a 2 year old tall, thin, but 60 pounds, labradoodle, tore her CCL(aka ACL) almost 2 weeks ago. She held her rear leg up, after running, but soon thereafter she used the leg, while limping. I took her to vet, who xrayed, and recommended the TPLO, due to her size and activity level and age. I researched and researched…and looked at all options from conservative management/no surgery, to any other the lesser surgeries. I drove myself crazy, as I didn’t want to do such a painful invasive surgery on my baby. I have curtailed all her fun, for now, but she came running with a ball into the kitchen, and slipped, and up went the leg again. Then, she was using it again. I talked to a Holistic, chiropractic Vet. I was sure she would say, No, don’t do surgery, we’ll heal her with rehab, laser, PT, herbs’. She said I should do the TPLO surgery. WE have a fantasitic surgical center here in Richmond, VA, and those surgeons only do that surgery..as they see the lesser ones, fail. Especially for young, active, larger dog. So, I have finally listened to all, and Bella will have surgery in a few weeks. I have to wait due to family commitments,travel for my elderly parents. Vet said it is fine to wait. I still need to not let her RUN, chase, jump, for now, and then during the 8 week recovery period. The whole thing scares me, but I know, now, it is the only solution for Bella. The vet,surgeon was so optimistic, and successful..his own dog just recently had it. So, I’ll be posting my adventure with it soon. Good luck to you. And I am so thankful for Elain’s website!!

  59. Elaine says

    Susan, I’m so happy you found great resources. I’m thrilled you have a fantastic surgical center in Richmond. Do order the GingerHarness now — We loved the harness. Especially with Bella’s size, it will save your back. Please reach out if you need any help or suggestions. I highly recommend doing rehab before and after surgery. It made the world of difference in Hobbes recovery. He is doing great!

  60. Susan says

    Hi Elaine. I ordered the GingerHarness. Got it in the mail this afternoon. But this morning,as i was helping her out of car, I pulled a back muscle. I’m in bad pain now!
    (She really doesn’t need the help so much..yet…she is just in the tear phase, but i am curtailing all jumping, etc, before the surgery. Don’t want her to rupture the tearing ACL). So now I need to heal soon so i can take care of her after her surgery…ARGH.

  61. Lisa Quandt says

    Boy did I need this article today. We are on day 8 of recovery and all I have done is cry and feel like my life is totally different. We have one spot that just keeps seeping and that has been a pain. I am going to try the sleeve trick. I tried the inflatable cone, but he can still get to it! The thing that scares me is even in his small recovery area he gets up and stands and walks in that small area. He is a 125 pound lab and I don’t know how to prevent it. He also got out of his area and walked to the kitchen because he heard the ice maker! Thank you so much!

  62. Elaine says

    Lisa, please exhale. Remember Hobbes went up and down a full flight of stairs about a week after surgery. As long as he is confined, he will be okay. If it hurts, he probably won’t stand on it. Take care. Soon this will behind you.

  63. Susan says

    Thanks again for this site. I gave it a month, before having the surgery done, due to other obligations with my parents move, and my back going out, and some people saying, maybe wait and see if it ‘heals’. Well, it has’t healed, and Bella the 2 year old 60 pound, tall, think labradoodle will have her surgery Monday. Because I can now tell she is in pain, I amlooking forward to getting the operation over with, and starting on the real recovery. WE already have limited her activities to 0,and surgery proofed the house. I still can get very upset when I think of my baby having that pain inflicted apon her, but today I realized she is in pain right now. unless she sees a chipmunk, and my small yard has 100s of them…I bought a sound making thing, that swears it will deter them, we’ll see,. I have a sleeve ready for her, and a ginger lead. I have already moved to the 1st floor bedroom, and have my mattress on the floor. I have baby gateseverywhere, and for at least the 1st week she will be confined to only one room. I’m ready…I pray it goes well. I’ll post after Tuesday when I get her…..

  64. Elaine says

    Susan, you are ready and doing a great job getting ready. Monday will be a long day. Rest up this weekend. Please reach out to me. I’m here to help you. Elaine

  65. Susan says

    Oh and one other thing I did, I live where the mail is deliveried via a mail slot in my door. Even when I baby gate the area around the front door, it still gets her running. So, I have put down non skid rugs, AND I closed off the mail slot, with a note, and put a temporary mail box on my front step. Anything to keep Bella from moving too quickly and risky hurting herself….and a new dog bed for the den, which is where she will be quarantined..with deterrents on the sofa. She minds barriers. and no access at first to the sun room, where her other dog bed is, for a week or so…too stimulating for her watching the world go by…and the squirrels and chipmunks. Ok..I’m ready……

  66. Elaine says

    Susan, we also have a mail slot. I purchased 1/4 inch foam strip with a sticky backing. It really quiets the flap closing and Hobbes rarely hears it! Your local hardware store will have the tape.

  67. Susan says

    Hi Elaine. The surgeon just called. Bella’s surgery went well. I’ll pick her up tomorrow. BUT the ACL was completely torn. And both meniscus were torn and folded back on themselves, wedged between the bones, giving her some stability. He has never seen both torn. She has no arthritis, so I got her in before more damage was done. She never cried or showed pain in last month…yes, she hobbled and limped, and then the next day she would hardly limp. He said she had to be in A LOT of pain. Very stoic, Bella. So our long recovery starts tomorrow..though I’ve been doing no activities for a month now. She’s dying to RUN…but will be a few months. Stay tuned…
    ,

  68. Elaine says

    Hi Susan, Try to rest up tonight. It is good that they are watching her tonight. Don’t worry — she won’t feel like running for a little while. If possible try to find a rehab vet. I’m very grateful the our rehab vet and all their help. Please reach out is you need to talk to someone. Take care!

  69. Sue says

    I am beside myself. My dog needs ACL surgery and I need to travel for 5 days, 2 weeks after the surgery. I found someone to watch him if I can’t get out of this trip. Does anyone know how long the stitches stay in? How long will there be an open wound? That is a question my caretaker is asking. I have a perfect room for them to stay in together. I am just sick thinking about having to leave him.

  70. Elaine says

    Sue, you’ll be fine. The leg is wrapped in a bandage and the stitches were covered from his toes to his thigh. I think the stitches were removed 10-14 days. Ask your vet to be sure. Please reach out if you need support.

  71. Susan says

    Hi Sue, I’m sure different surgeons do different things. Bella had her TPLO yesterday. I picked her up today. She has no external stitches, and therefore no bandage. The ecollar they gave her seems to be big enough for a giant great Dane, and it freaks her out. She is a lean 60 pound labradoodle. I made her a sleeve for her leg, which isn’t staying on, so ordered one from Amazon, do come in 2 days. So far she’s not licking, but she’s not really her frisky self yet. I won’t leave her alone until I put that sleeve on her. She is using,walking on her leg. Amazing. The whole leg is shaved and incision a bit swollen, but looks good. Good luck.

  72. Elaine says

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Susan. You are correct — Hobbes had a different surgery. Ask the surgeon about how your do will come home. Take care.

  73. Nancy Reimler says

    Thanks for all of the great information! Ciara will need ACL surgery soon. I just ordered a gingerlead which will help before and after surgery. Would you please send me some more information about how you made the sleeve out of a t shirt. I am especially wondering how you secured the “sleeve” to the halter and how you used two straps. Thanks.

  74. Elaine says

    Nancy, you are welcome. I will send you information about the sleeve I made. And then I’ll add it to the blog. Please keep me posted about Clara’s recovery. Take care.

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