- Pets and Animals
Recovering from TPLO Surgery
My dog Biscuit has recently underwent surgery to repair his torn ACL Joint.
With this event fresh in my mind, I am creating this lens to help others who are probably scouring the net for information like I did. I want to focus on recovery and not so much on the surgery itself.
Getting financially prepared.
One of the first things people inquire about is the cost of surgery. From my research, I have seen prices ranging from $1,400 to $8,000 +. We paid $1,600 for the surgery itself. This does not including the $300 initial vet visit when we were diagnosed, the consultation with the surgeon, and the two follow up visits. So we are looking at about $2,300 all together. I can't prove it, but I am pretty sure my wife was willing to sell one of my kidneys to pay for it!
Things to consider.
To prepare for biscuits recovery we started by eliminating anything that might cause him to make a sudden movement or jump. Unhooking the doorbell was number one priority for us. We also alerted family and friends because he tends to get a little wild when they visit us. If you have slick floors, I would recommend placing nonskid floor mats. Your dog will need to be confined for a long time and for this we used a Petmate petporter aka. our coffee table. If your dog is prone to licking, you may also need an ecollar. He will have open season on his incision, so make sure you get a collar that is long enough.
There is no way! - Eight weeks of confinement , My dog will drive me crazy.
When we found out from our surgeon that biscuit will need to be crated for eight weeks with the occasional potty break, my first thought was are you nuts! Biscuit is a high strung , high energy, frisbee playing fool. He will stand in his crate and bark night and day until we let him out. As it turns out I was wrong. Dogs adapt very well to their new situation and Biscuit has been a champ. However, we do let him lay down on his dog bed while we are beside him. He is always on a short leash and is never lose. Some dogs with calm personalities may be ok without a leash, but for us better safe than sorry.
New Poll Module
Can biscuit be trained?
What to expect.
My wife took about ten days off of work to take care of biscuit after his surgery. This is probably not practical for most, but if you can be there the first couple of days I would recommend it. Biscuit was given Tramadol, which is a pain reliever. We had some Rimadyl, for pain and inflammation, that the vet said we could give him after his Tramadol ran out. This seemed to help and we were very careful to give him the correct dosage at the proper times. Our regular vet also recommended Dasuquin, which is a joint health supplement. This should aid in the healing process. The day we brought biscuit home, his leg was quite swollen and bruised. The incision did not bleed very much, however he did have a lot of bleeding on his lower leg. A large sack of fluid formed which concerned us. This is the spot were the surgeon place a jig, which was necessary to keep the leg stable during surgery. We used peroxide and a clean towel to blot the wound. After a couple of days the fluid had either leaked out or was absorbed into his body.
The end is near!
Your dog will heal at his own pace. The first two weeks are the most critical, but there is no running or jumping allowed for the full 16 weeks. Use a belly band(a towel or sheet) for potty breaks and on slick floors. We used one for the first two weeks and it helped a lot. Staples come out after ten days, but make sure your vet removes them all. We had to go back again. Don't try to remove them yourself. They use a special tool and it usually is a free procedure. Your dog may not have much of an appetite after his surgery, also he may not have a regular bowel movement for a couple of days. This is caused by the pain medication and tranquilizers. A great tip is to feed your dog squash to help get things moving along. Don't be alarmed if your dog is not putting weight on his leg. He will start using it when he is ready. The hard part is when he thinks he is all better and you have to convince him otherwise. After your eight week checkup, your surgeon will give you a rehab program to follow. It will start with short 5 minute walks and build from there. By that time you will be well on your way to having your little buddy fully healthy.
Biscuits favorite things.
These are really great products. If you have yet to give your dog chewnola you should give it a try. Flippy flopper is by far the best frisbee and we have tried them all.
Great News! 100% Full Recovery
We are happy to report that our puppy has made a complete recovery. The x ray was perfect and our surgeon gave us the go ahead to resume full activities. One mistake I made was to jump right in and play some frisbee. We only did about 10 throws, however Biscuit only knows one speed which is full sprint. He started to tripod later that night and has been limping for a couple of days. Lesson learned, ease into whatever activity your dog enjoys. There was another problem that we had encountered towards the end of recovery. Biscuit started to lick around his incision, creating a sore. We debated on wether to take him to our vet, but fortunately my wife discovered a piece of suture sticking out of the wound. She was able to remove about a one inch piece. This was the culprit and there was no more licking. The whole experience was not as bad as we had imagined. Biscuit was a trooper and we are so happy to have him healthy.
Bad News! 50% of dogs who have had tplo surgery will need other leg done.
We are on the wrong side of the fence!
Poor old Biscuit has drawn the short straw again and I am running out of vital organs to pay for his surgery. As I write this, we are about six days into his recovery and so far it has been a breeze. Now I have read various things on the internet about how some people's dogs have been able to walk on their bad leg days after surgery. After witnessing Biscuit's first surgery, I would tell you that they were full of it. However, I am now a true believer. Biscuit was putting pressure on his leg as we walked out of the surgeons office. Now I am not saying that the first day he was putting his full weight on his bad leg, but he was obviously using it. The second day is when he began to fully use his leg. When he gets out of his crate he will hold it up for a couple of seconds and then he just starts walking on it. Now why can Biscuit walk on his leg days after surgery,when during his first surgery it took him a couple of weeks to start toe touching? Well I have a simple theory. Prior to his first surgery, Biscuits ligament was fully torn. It had lost a considerable amount of muscle mass since he wasn't able to walk on it, thus making his recovery that much harder. This time my wife had noticed that he was starting to favor his other leg so we scheduled a visit with the surgeon right away. This also saved us over $300 dollars since we avoided a visit to our normal vet. Now our surgeon gave us the option to wait to have Biscuits surgery since his leg was only partially torn. We decided not to wait and the doctor had mentioned that his recovery might be easier with more muscle mass. Well, it has been and anyone out there with a dog who has a partial torn ligament, you should be picking up the phone now.
Biscuit is finally fully recovered
We have had a considerably easier time of it with Biscuits second surgery. I guess we new what was coming and I think he did also. We were not as cautious this time . After the eight week check up we stopped using the leash around the house and only crated Biscuit at night. A few weeks after that he was sleeping in the bed with us . However, we didn't open the doggie door until he was fully recovered. Keeping him off the couch was always a problem and we finally gave up. His x rays showed proper healing and our surgeon was thrilled with his progress. The only problem we encountered was with licking the incision. Basically the suture had not dissolved and it was working its way out. Just like the last time, when my wife removed a small piece the licking went away. This must be a common problem so keep it in mind. Biscuit has not shown any sign of pain or stiffness during or after an activity. I even broke out the flippy flopper and he was fine afterwords. We walked every day after the eight week check up and he never had any problems. There was a lot of differences in the two recoveries that Biscuit went through. That is why you probably find conflicting points of view when you are researching tplo recovery. I believe that if you use the advise of your surgeon and any other information you have gathered. You will find what works for you and your dog and hopefully find a successful outcome.
Biscuit gets a new flippy flopper
This was shot eight months after biscuit's second surgery.
Money donated to the ASPCA
As of March 1 2012 We have donated $42.64
The ASPCA is such a great cause. If you frequently purchase items on amazon, consider first going to Biscuit's lens. Just click on something that is for sale and it will take you to Amazon where you can find what you are looking for. We will receive a portion of the sale and I am donating any money that is made to the ASPCA. Together we can help a lot of animals that may not be as lucky as our own.
Didn't find what you were looking for? This is the place to as questions, give advice, and interact with dog owners that are dealing with some of the same issues that you are.