Finding out that your dog must undergo a Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, or TPLO surgery, can be a scary thought for dog owners. Even though the surgery has a high success rate and helps most pets return to full mobility, the recovery process can be painful for your dog. But when you know what to expect after a dog’s TPLO surgery, you can help your dog get back on their paws faster.
As with any surgery, you can expect your dog to be groggy and in pain immediately following their TPLO. In the days following, it’s important to restrict your dog’s movements as much as possible. This is especially true when it comes to climbing and jumping.
Try to keep your dog isolated to a small section of the house away from other animals or small children. Restrict access to stairs or furniture that your dog may be inclined to jump onto. At this point, you should only take your dog out for brief intervals for bathroom purposes.
As your dog slowly regains its energy and appetite, you may be tempted to allow them more free reign but resist the urge to allow them to return to full activity. It’s important to reintroduce activity slowly, such as starting them out on shorter leashed walks and gradually working their way toward longer ones.
As with human injuries, you can use hot and cold therapy to help reduce swelling and discomfort as needed. One way to do this is to fill a sock with uncooked rice and put it in the freezer for cold therapy. You can put the same homemade pack in the microwave for a heating pad, but avoid getting it too hot.
By this point, your vet will likely schedule a follow-up appointment to check your dog’s radiographs. This will help determine whether the bones and scar tissue are developing as expected. From here, the vet will be able to decide whether they can remove your dog’s stitches.
Your vet will be able to tell you when it’s OK for your dog to start returning to non-leased activities such as taking trips to the dog park again. As with leashed walks, you will also want to reintroduce these activities gradually.
Warning Signs That Something May Be Wrong
In most cases, what to expect after a canine TPLO surgery is a smooth recovery; however, no surgery is without risk. While a dog slipping up and jumping onto the couch once or twice shouldn’t completely undo its surgery, these are warning signs you should be aware of that something is wrong:
If you notice any of these signs, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian as soon as possible. The doctors and technicians at our Palmdale vet hospital are here to help your dog recover.