When your dog is scheduled for orthopedic surgery, it’s crucial to prepare for their recovery period in advance. Understanding how to properly care for your furry friend post-procedure is vital because the recuperation process following orthopedic surgery can be extensive and challenging for dogs. In this context, Tnah’s veterinarians offer valuable advice on providing optimal care for your dog after orthopedic surgery.
Understanding Orthopedic Surgery for dogs
Before we delve into post-surgery care, let’s briefly understand what orthopedic surgery entails. Orthopedic surgery is a specialized veterinary medicine branch focusing on the musculoskeletal system. It can involve procedures like:
Cruciate Ligament Repair: Repairing a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
Hip Replacement Surgery: Replacing a damaged hip joint.
Fracture Repair: Fixing broken bones.
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) Surgery: Addressing joint cartilage abnormalities.
Arthroscopy: Minimally invasive procedures for joint issues.
Now, let’s move on to the most critical part: caring for your dog after the surgery.
Tips to Caring for Your Pet after Orthopedic Surgery
Unfortunately, we can’t always protect our dogs from getting hurt, and sometimes, they might need surgery to fix their bones or joints. After the surgery, they need a lot of care and time to get better, and they have to do exercises to help them recover. If your dog has had or needs this kind of surgery, here’s a simple guide to help you care for them afterward.
Following Your Vet’s Instructions
After your dog’s orthopedic surgery, your veterinarian will provide you with clear instructions on how to care for your pet once they come home. Pay close attention to these instructions and take notes if necessary. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or call your vet if you forget any details. Like yours, your vet’s goal is your pet’s well-being, and they will be glad to assist you.
Managing the Anesthesia After Effects
After orthopedic surgery, dogs may feel queasy or lose their appetite due to the anesthesia’s aftereffects. To help with digestion, feed your dog a light meal like rice and chicken. Usually, they should recover from the anesthesia’s effects within 24 hours.
Keep Your Dog Comfortable And Restrict Their Movement
Your vet will recommend restricting your dog’s movement for a specified period after the surgery. Even though your dog may not feel very active initially, preventing them from running, jumping, or engaging in strenuous activities during their recovery is crucial. You can achieve this by confining your dog to a playpen (for smaller dogs) or a room (for medium to larger dogs) without objects they can jump on or potentially hurt themselves with. In some cases, strict confinement or “crate rest” may be advised.
Make the confined area as comfortable as possible with your dog’s favourite toys, blankets, cushions, and ample space for relaxation.
Create A Safe Space
When taking your dog outside for bathroom breaks, use a leash. Inside your home, create a quiet, warm, and secure resting place for them. Provide padded bedding that is easy to clean, and place it where your dog feels comfortable and can easily access you, such as your bedroom or living room. Monitor the room’s temperature to ensure it remains comfortable, as cold temperatures can cause joint stiffness and discomfort.
Cover Slippery Floors
To prevent slips and falls, cover slippery floors with rubber backing rugs, especially during your dog’s recovery. Avoid letting them walk on these surfaces unsupervised.
Monitor Their Stitches
Keep a close eye on your dog’s stitches, ensuring they do not lick or groom the surgical area until the vet removes them, typically within 10 to 12 days. Any signs of inflammation, pain, or infection in the treatment area should be reported to your vet promptly.
Reduce Their Food
While your pet is less active during recovery, managing their food intake is important to maintain a healthy weight. Avoid reducing their food too drastically, as they need energy to fight off potential infections. You can get a nutrition plan from the veterinarian.
How to Manage Your Dog’s Pain After Orthopedic Surgery?
Your orthopedic veterinarian or veterinary nurse will provide you with details about the medications prescribed for your dog to help manage their pain after surgery. They will explain the correct dosage, how to give the medication, and how often it should be administered.
It’s essential to closely follow your vet’s instructions to ensure the medication works effectively and to minimize the risk of any side effects.
Common pain management treatments vets prescribe include antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection and pain-relieving medications. If your dog tends to be anxious or nervous, your vet may also suggest an anti-anxiety medication or a mild sedative to help keep your dog calm during their recovery.
Recovery Time for Dogs After Orthopedic Surgery
The time your dog takes to recover from orthopedic surgery varies depending on several factors. These include the type of surgery, your dog’s age, overall health, and the need for rehabilitation during recovery.
Most soft tissue surgeries like spaying, neutering, or abdominal surgeries will significantly improve within 2 to 3 weeks, with full recovery possible within one and a half months post-surgery.
On the other hand, orthopedic surgeries often require a longer healing period. Your dog may show substantial progress between 2 and 3 months after the procedure, but complete recovery could take six months.
Caring for your dog after orthopedic surgery is a challenging but rewarding journey. By following these guidelines and working closely with your veterinarian, you can ensure your furry friend fully and comfortably recover. Remember, your love, care, and attention are the most significant factors in helping your dog get back on their paws. Here’s to your four-legged companion’s healthy, happy, and pain-free future.