Post Op Treatment for Cruciate Leg Surgery?

July 21, 2010 9:56 am

image Ever since Hunter had (both) surgeries on his knees to have his cruciate ligament repaired I've realized that my boy won't be the same. After long walks he still is struggling a bit and they just don't work the way they used to. I don't really understand why that is as the doctor told me that he should be just fine, but then I have to realize that it's really only been 5 months since his surgery so I'm going to keep walking him and making sure that he gets it out and exercised as much as he should.

It made me think however about what I should be doing otherwise to perhaps aid in the recovery? Is exercise enough? Should I be feeding him more? Less? How about a joint supplement of some sort? Cod Liver Oil?

I took to Google to find out, the first article I found was written by a surgical veterinarian:

I believe that the post operative period is as important as the surgery. Beginning
immediately after surgery we ice the leg as much as possible to reduce pain and swelling.
Starting the next day we want to encourage weight bearing on the leg. Also we train the
owner to do range of motion exercises and massage (as well as icing) to reduce pain,
swelling and atrophy due to lack of use. I also use weekly injections of a drug called
cartrophen which increases joint fluid production which helps to reduce pain and heal the
joint. Starting in the second week after surgery we use an electrical stimulation machine
at least 3 times per week to reduce pain, prevent atrophy and hasten recovery. As each
week passes we increase exercise to strengthen the joint and muscles. Usually with in 1-2
weeks they are bearing more weight than before surgery and by 3 months post-op they are
bearing full weight and can be back to full exercise.

Well I can honestly say that THIS didn’t happen during Hunters surgeries, but a lot of that makes a lot of sense – simple, gradual rehabilitation.

Instead of re-inventing the wheel – I found a great article over at ‘’ which had all kinds of great information on each surgery type and the post-op care:

After 4 to 6 months your dog will be able to return to normal activities without any restriction. The leader line placed in the knee will break at 2 to 12 months post-op, and your dog’s scar tissue will support the knee on its own. Restriction of movement is absolutely key for the successful healing in patients undergoing extra-capsular imbrication repair surgery. Rest will help to encourage fibrous tissue formation and also prevent the premature breakage of the monofilament suture stabilizing the joint during the healing process.

It also mentions:

All dogs with CCL injuries will go on to develop some level of arthritis. It is a good idea to have your dog’s knees x-rayed during your yearly veterinary visits to examine the presence of arthritis and determine what type of treatment plan would be best for your pet to make them the most comfortable.

I’d also like to share with you the site as it’s a good spot to get your online pet medications at a lower cost than what you’d pay for at the vet.

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