Rehab for Pet Surgery – 3 Steps

 

Spaniel dog with plastic Elizabethan collar on her

Jicky the Spaniel in the E-Collar after FHO

A quick bit of info for you after your pet has had surgery.

I do work on lots of cats and a variety of other animals. If you want to know more about cat specifics now, please search for cat in the search box. I’m still working on developing the cat information pages.

For more specific info on a particular condition, please refer to the menus at the top of the page. If you do not see what you are looking for, please use the search box on any  page.

If the injury is a torn knee ligament, then please click here to read more info about that condition. After that, please go to the instructions on this page!

“My pet just had surgery…
…and now that I’ve gotten them home, I realize I’m not really sure what to do!!”

First and foremost:  pay attention to the discharge instructions your veterinarian has given you if your pet just had surgery or you have received instruction about an injury.  Please pay special attention to the part about no running, jumping, or playing. You and your pet will be doing good work for recovery if you exactly follow my booklet instructions.

If your veterinarian did not say so, please note there should not be any flying over couches, no galloping on stairs, no jumping into or out of cars and trucks,  no jumping onto couches or your bed, no jumping off of couches or beds, no twisting very fast in tight circles, no sliding on ice or slippery floors, and no freedom in and out of doggie doors.  No owner jumping out from behind things to scare the dog into running crazy funny around the house like you sometimes like to do.

No running really means no running…

…to the door when the doorbell rings, no running away from Halloween costumes, no running from one end of the house to the kitchen every time the fridge or a plastic bag is opened, no running to you when you yell to ask the dog if it wants to go outside, no kitty running from anything right after surgery, and no running inside after the ball, which is very similar to no running outside after the ball. No, no swimming until at least eight weeks after surgery and then only if no lameness is present at a slow walk.

DO work on the protocol below and the info contained in the instruction booklet.

1) Here are guidelines to follow for the first four weeks after surgery:

I currently have published one book to help your pet through four progressive weeks of recovery after any surgery.

Guidelines for Home Rehabilitation of Your Dog: After Surgery for Torn Knee Ligament: The First Four Weeks, Basic Edition

This book is specifically addressing surgery after a torn knee ligament. Until I am able to publish the books I am working on that deal with soft tissue surgeries, hip issues, other knee issues, elbows, spinal issues and more, this book will be very helpful to you for the first four weeks of recovery if your dog has had one of these other surgeries.

This book has the information, restrictions and advice I would give after almost any surgery. If you follow the restrictions and the practical applications in the booklet, your pet should do well and recover progressively if there are no additional issues.  These restrictions will match a lot of what your vet surgeon gave you to follow after surgery.

My recommendations are based on decades of information we have in human sports medicine recovery. These methods matches up very well how your pet thinks and moves and behaves. This program matches up scientifically with how the body recovers.

These instructions incorporate steps  for functional recovery, so there is a LOT more structured and guided info in the book. The links to the book I made for this page will take you to Amazon. You may order the book from any bookstore using the ISBN.

I also have info elsewhere on this site about cats and surgery. Cats aren’t small dogs. Unless your cat will walk on a leash, which some do very well, I recommend looking at this page for now.

So, the following book will help you calmly and methodically approach recovery from your pet’s surgery. The book will guide you to establish a functional base of activity.  You have to build a good base to help recovery and to of avoid additional injury. This is only the base. I have more strengthening programs and other drills for you to do to return your pet to a rambunctious lifestyle.

A good recovery plan helps guard against future or further injury, especially in the opposite limb! I am very happy to report that people and dogs that follow both this and the non-surgical program for 12 weeks do not end up with the other knee ligament tearing. It’s all a matter of balancing the work. I design programs based on decades of experience with exercise physiology recovery principles.  My programs also help encourage people being connected to their pets!


Amazon

Books are also available on Barnes and Noble and you should be able to order them from any bookseller, especially if you use the ISBN.

Instructions for first four weeks for dogs after FHO (hip surgery where the ball of the femur is cut off):

Instructions for first four weeks after surgery for luxating patellas (flopping kneecaps):

Find a few more homework info pages by following the links in the menu at the top of the page.  Also use the search feature.

2) In addition to thoroughly reading any of that info (some of which now includes exercises available in book form), please watch > this video < twice, and begin to do this massage daily for a month:

Please watch the video to see my recommendations on method of use for massager unit AND so you will hopefully have success introducing the massager.

There are written instructions under the video on the linked page.
Here is what the massager looks like, and if you click on the picture, you may buy it on Amazon if you choose:

3) If your pet is still limping 5-7 days or more after surgery, please read this > pain post < all the way through!

There is more on the topic of pain within the books-

Check out other resources under the “Rehab Resources & Tools” link in the menu under the website title at the top or by clicking here

If you would like advanced or personalized exercises, then please contact me for a consult. There is a contact form at the bottom of this page <<Click on link . Use this form if you would like to schedule a paid phone or in-person consult with me for rehabilitation for your pet.

Blessings-
Rehabdeb

(Original Post March 17, 2015. Updated July 29, 2019)

Conservative Treatment Books: Instead of or Before Surgery (Pre-hab):

This book is the program to follow to begin recovery for most orthopedic or muscular injuries! This includes hip problems, ankle problems, and others.

Has your pet been injured, and it’s not “life or death”? A torn knee ligament, hip dysplasia, and luxating kneecaps are examples of “not life or death”.

Then take a moment to look over this site, follow the instructions on the “injured” page, and take a deep breath!

This book is the program to follow to begin recovery for most orthopedic or muscular injuries!

Conservative treatment after torn knee ligament, instead of or prior to surgery:

booklet with instructions for you to follow with your dog after injury, instead of surgery or prior to surgery

(click on the THIS LINK, and you should be directed to Amazon in your country, unless you live in these countries –  Australia, Brasil, India, Mexico, Nederland = you should click on the name of your country to be taken to the book).

(available on Kindle and in paperback, and you may order the paperback through any bookseller)

Some Reviews…

A Few Amazon reviews I took time to copy/paste here for you (additional testimonials are above, in the Feedback section):

“I’ve known Deborah Carroll for several years and she has worked with us rehabbing our 90lb Hound/Lab mix. I have always found her to be chock full of great scientific information in rehabbing your pet and the booklet simplifies all that into simple to understand protocol and reasons to follow the protocol to help your dog. Short read but well worth it. I love it!”
D.B., Amazon Review

“The book easily outlines a plan to rehabilitate your dog from a knee injury. I now feel like there is hope for his long term recovery. Thanks Deb!”
Amazon Review

“Using the methods described in this book, we were able to completely rehabilitate our Labrador retriever from a torn ACL without having surgery. Very thankful that this book was so easily accessible!”
H.P., Amazon Review

“I chose not to have my 9 year old Lab put through the stress of surgery on his torn CCL – knowing that he is already showing signs of the other leg being injured. After much research, I found Deborah’s website and read a lot of the blog posts where I learned of her book. I have been using the therapy in the book now for about a month and it is working well in conjunction with some holistic remedies and massage, Since the process of healing is really the same for both non-surgery and surgery dogs, this book will help either way! Easy to follow, but you do have to stick with it to see results.”
Amazon Review

“I have worked in a variety of animal care fields – as a veterinary technician, pet sitter, and behavior consultant – since 1997, and have several mutual clients with the author. As such, I have seen first-hand what she can do for both her clients and patients. Her knowledge, skill, and bedside manner are impeccable, to the point that she has become the only person that I refer people to for small animal rehabilitation in the Austin area. I am so glad that she has written this book, so that people who live outside the Austin area can benefit from her expertise. I highly recommend it!”
Emily S., Amazon Review, From Beaks to Barks

“This was an easy to read and understand guidebook. There were lots of practical tips offered. Her program is something I can follow on a day to day basis. The author has obviously had lots of experience with dog rehabilitation and wants the best for our dogs.”
Lori L., Amazon Review

“I love Deborah Carroll and her approaches to rehab/conditioning- we see her next week.”
Courtney K, Austin, TX Courtney’s Agility Page

Quality of Life of Obese Dogs Improves –

Quality of Life of Obese Dogs Improves When They Lose Weight –

This is recent research conducted in the UK, where they estimate 1/3 of the dog population is obese. Study conducted by Waltham/Royal Canin.

Feb. 21, 2012 –

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have found that obese dogs that lose weight have an improved quality of life compared to those that don’t.

A study of 50 overweight dogs, comprising a mix of breeds and genders was undertaken by scientists at the University in collaboration with the University of Glasgow, Royal Canin and the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition.

How?

Owners completed a questionnaire to decide the health-related quality of life of their dog prior to weight loss. A follow-up questionnaire was completed by the owners of 30 dogs that successfully completed the weight loss programme, enabling changes in quality of life to be assessed.

A range of life quality factors were scored, including vitality, emotional disturbance, and pain. Quality of life of dogs which succeeded with their weight loss programme was also compared with those dogs that failed to lose weight successfully.

Results –

The results showed that quality of life improved in the dogs that had successfully lost weight. In particular, their vitality scores increased and the score for emotional disturbance and pain decreased. Moreover, the more body fat that the dog lost, the greater the improvement in vitality.

The research also found that dogs that failed to complete their weight loss programme had worse quality of life at the outset than those successfully losing weight, most notably worse vitality and greater emotional disturbance.

Dr Alex German, Director of the Royal Canin Weight Management Clinic at the University, said: “Obesity is a risk for many dogs, affecting not only their health but also their quality of life. This research indicates that weight loss can play an important role in keeping your dog both healthy and happy.”

Strategies for Combating Obesity –

Dr Penelope Morris, from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, added: “Strategies for combating obesity and keeping dogs fit and healthy include portion control, increased exercise, and diets specifically formulated for overweight pets.”

Established in 2004, the Royal Canin Weight Management Clinic at the University’s Small Animal Hospital, UK is the world’s first animal weight management referral clinic. It was set up to help tackle and prevent weight problems in animals such as dogs and cats.

Veterinary surgeons from any general practice in the UK can refer overweight animals to the clinic. The patients receive a thorough medical examination. Then they receive a specific dietary plan and exercise regimen to follow over several weeks.

Taken from ScienceDaily.com

Thoughts to Ponder –

The results showed that quality of life improved in the dogs that had successfully lost weight. In particular vitality scores increased and the score for emotional disturbance and pain decreased. Moreover, the more body fat that the dog lost, the greater the improvement in vitality.

And, interestingly, the study notes this: “The research also found that dogs that failed to complete their weight loss programme had worse quality of life at the outset than those successfully losing weight, most notably worse vitality and greater emotional disturbance.” …sort of as if the dogs failed the program and not that the owners were partners in this endeavor.

The dogs didn’t fail to complete the program, in reality. The study finding here denotes the close connection and potential issues within the human/animal psychology bond.

Pet Moods –

Lizzie the Golden is a lean and fit elderly dog in this photo. Calvin is working on becoming a dirigible, and he would eat until he passed out if someone let him!

If the lower-vitality dogs came into the study with possible lower quality of life, then I recommend evaluation of the home life of the human, too. Our pets reflect our moods. You may also look for mood changes in a pet to alert you to possible mood changes in their people!

The failed dogs notably had “worse quality of life at the outset” than the ones who ended up succeeding. Most compromised were their vitality and emotional status. We definitely pass our moods, demeanor, and worry onto our animals. Breathe peacefully with your pets 🙂

Contact me if you need a progressive and defined program to follow in order to lose fat and build supportive muscle. Or if you think you are dragging your pet into a dark mood abyss due to lifestyle changes and difficulties.

 

(Published February, 2012. Updated April 19, 2018)