Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery is a common procedure for dogs that have experienced a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tear. In TPLO surgery, the tibial plateau is flattened, which stabilizes the knee and prevents the dog’s femur from sliding along the slope of the tibia. Although an extensive and costly procedure, TPLO surgery is important for reducing pain, preventing irreversible damage, and helping your dog have a normal quality of life following a CCL injury. Your dog’s post-surgery prognosis is highly dependent on his or her recovery. Here, 7 tips for successful TPLO surgery recovery will be discussed.
After your dog’s surgery, it is imperative to follow all instructions provided. While some of the instructions will be more difficult to implement than others (i.e., keeping your dog on full crate rest), limiting your pet’s activity is necessary to ensure the bones and tissues heal properly. Other instructions to pay close attention to include your pet’s medication schedule as well as when to start physical therapy exercises.
If your dog’s surgery is planned far enough in advance, use the time to prepare your pet for what he or she will endure during TPLO surgery recovery. If your dog is notcrate-trained, doing so in the weeks leading up to surgery will be beneficial. Make sure your dog is used to being handled, especially being picked up or having his or her legs touched. Teaching your dog commands such as “place” are also useful when reminding your pet to settle down. Supplies you may need to purchase ahead of time include a crate, a KONG or other mentally stimulating toys, a harness to help your pet walk (if you have a large dog), and comfortable bedding.
If possible, work from home in the days/weeks following your dog’s surgery. It will be important that your dog ignores the sutures and remains immobile per your veterinarian’s instructions. While your pet may be prescribed sedatives, having you nearby will also be helpful for stress reduction. If you are unable to stay home with your dog, consider hiring a pet sitter instead, especially in the first week of TPLO surgery recovery.
Your dog will be bored while on crate rest. While physical exertion is off-limits, mental stimulation is a must. Food-filled Kongs and interactive toys are great tools for keeping your dog’s mind off his or her pain and immobility. Examples of brain games you can play with your dog during TPLO surgery recovery can be found here.
Your dog’s food intake should be adjusted to account for a decrease inactivity. While it is important for your pet to still have a high protein diet during recovery, the same caloric intake as when your pet is active could lead to weight gain, which increases strain on healing joints. You should also take into consideration the extra calories you are feeding your dog throughout the day via treats. If necessary, ask your veterinarian to recommend the proper caloric intake for your pet during TPLO surgery recovery to prevent your dog from gaining too much weight.
During TPLO surgery recovery, having other animals roaming around the house or initiating play can add to your dog’s stress and increase chances of injury. In the early stages of recovery when rest is most crucial, consider boarding other animals, especially if they play rough or will be unlikely to leave your dog alone.
Following a major surgery, chronic and acute inflammation will both occur. Acute inflammation will happen at the surgical site while the immune system helps to repair damaged tissue, and chronic inflammation can arise due to stress, changes in routine, antibiotics, and long recovery times (a major surgery will result in more inflammation, for instance, than a simple sprain). Providing immune system support for your dog during this time will help your pet clear the inflammation from its body more quickly.
Ways to provide immune system support include stress minimization, a high protein diet, and animal blood proteins. As one of nature’s strongest anti-inflammatory agents, animal blood proteins, such as those found in WINPRO Mobility, are the perfect complement to TPLO surgery recovery because they naturally relieve inflammation quickly and pose no danger when combined with veterinarian-prescribed medications. Whereas nutritional supplements generally do not take effect for 6 – 8 weeks (typically the length of time of TPLO surgery recovery), animal blood proteins go to work immediately and can be beneficial for your pet during the entire recovery process. With their ability to go straight to the source of inflammation, animal blood proteins are unique in that they can target any of your dog’s recovery symptoms, such as joint inflammation from surgery, stomach-related inflammation from medications, or anxiety-inducing inflammation from increased cortisol.
Ultimately, TPLO surgery recovery can be a major undertaking for a pet parent. The most important aspects of recovery include following your veterinarian’s instructions, keeping your pet on crate or room rest, minimizing stress, and providing immune system support. While every dog’s surgery recovery is unique, controlling as many controllables as possible will set up your dog for success.
WINPRO MOBILITY contains a blend of clinically proven animal blood proteins and other key ingredients to support normal canine joint function and help dogs maintain mobility especially during times of increased activity and stress. WINPRO MOBILITY helps maintain normal joint function, lateral motion, and flexibility in dogs.