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)

Jasmine the Labrador – Shepherd Mix Recovers Well Without Surgery for Torn Knee Ligament (CCR, ACL)

“Deborah is a skilled, thoughtful, thorough and kind practitioner. Her service is a bargain, but also a fantastic investment in your pet’s health. We owe our 13-year-old Lab/Shep’s health to Deborah’s care.

Our dog has always been a happy athlete, so when she hurt her knee 3 years ago, we were saddened at the end of her active life, as we didn’t think she was a good candidate for surgery.

We found Deborah on an Internet search, and we are so glad we did. Deborah showed us that in many cases, rehab is a better choice than surgery (and if you do surgery, rehab is the best way to ensure a full recovery).

Deborah came to our home, allowing our dog to be evaluated and to learn her new therapy routine in the reassuring comfort of familiar surroundings. Deborah helped us identify places within walking distance that were well suited for daily exercises. Deborah’s recommendations were holistic–how can we make our home safer for a recovering dog? what nutritional supplements or dietary changes will help? how can we convince our pet to submit to icing and exercises?

We have recommended Deborah’s services to many friends and will continue to do so.”
Andrea W. Round Rock, TX

“Congrats Deborah Carroll, and goodie for pet owners everywhere! Deborah just published an eBook teaching owners how to rehabilitate dog knee injuries. Deborah supervised Jasmine’s rehab and gets full credit for our furry athlete’s recovery a few years ago.”
Client, Round Rock, TX

(I met Jasmine in 2010 and her caretaker-mom wrote a 2nd review, above, after I published the intro plan for recovery on Amazon in November, 2013)

Oki the Rottweiler Does Great on This Rehab Plan After Tearing His Knee Ligament and Meniscus!

Oki Holds His Own and Plays Well After Recovery from Torn Knee Ligament

“My hound/shepherd mix (Oki) was diagnosed with a torn ACL. After a consult with a surgical vet, I wanted to see what other options were available for Oki. Post-surgical recovery carried a high risk of “catastrophic failure” of my dog’s back leg and seemed like an extremely painful and difficult trial to put my dog through. My vet recommended Deborah as an alternative.

After consulting with Deborah, we decided to try an alternative approach to surgery. She was realistic and said that he might still have to get surgery because of his size (90+lbs) but it was worth trying to heal the ACL through rehabilitation exercises, chiropractic care and restricted movement (no running, jumping).

(Note from Rehabdeb…I met Oki and Michelle in May, 2009. Since then I’ve seen hundreds of large dogs recovery extremely well without surgery for torn knee ligament, and I would never have the surgery again on one of my own dogs…no need)…

Deborah set up a detailed care plan for me (beginning here) and was always available when I had questions. We set up periodic appointments to monitor Oki’s progress and make adjustments to his rehab exercises.

It took about 6 months, but Oki’s ACL healed well and he never needed surgery or pain meds. He also thoroughly enjoyed his chiropractic adjustments. He was able to go back to almost all normal activities and avoided the pain and trauma of surgery.

Since then, Deborah has become my go to person whenever one of my dogs is injured. She offers practical and realistic advice, has great rapport with the dogs and I trust her opinion completely. Most importantly, Deborah is always thinking of the dog’s comfort and quality of life – allowing me to make informed decisions that maximize the benefit for my dogs.”

Michelle S. Forest Hills, NY

Gracey Goldendoodle Recovers From Knee and Hip Problems Without Surgery-

Kristy Kisling

Gracey Goldendoodle -specific cavaletti work

Realtor, Keller Williams

March 30, 2017, LinkedIn

I met Deborah in 2012 when she started working on my Gracey, who was experiencing knee and hip issues.

Deborah is very clear about pain management and rehab with your pet. She gives very clear instruction and has a kind demeanor with both the pets and pet owners.

Doing the homework is very important, and Deborah is very patient when pet owners, like me, are not so disciplined!

When Deborah visited, we always concentrated on Gracey’s needs. One day Gracey’s sister, Fiona (the goof ball) got ill and Deborah was able to direct me to the appropriate pet specialists. Fiona passed away rather suddenly of a heart condition at the young age of 8 years and my heart was in splinters. Deborah was there to pick me up for that too! She’s a true blessing!

I HIGHLY recommend Deborah to help you rehab your pet…she’s the best!