Dog Knee Surgery Recovery

There are different forms of dog knee surgery, but post-surgery recovery for all typically look the same. A dog's best chance for a successful recovery falls heavily on his owner following through with aftercare services.

Post Surgery: The First Two Weeks

After having knee surgery, a dog will naturally be in a lot of pain and will be given anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medications. Most dogs take pain medications for about a week after the procedure. A dog may also be fitted with a cervical collar that resembles a funnel so he doesn't lick or chew on his stitches and prematurely pull them out or cause an infection. Stitches are usually removed after a couple of weeks.

To ensure a dog isn’t able to run around, move a lot and cause injury to his recovering knee, a doctor may suggest that a pet owner place the dog in a kennel or small space. A dog should be allowed to walk to relieve himself. However, he may need his owner's help with standing or going up or down stairs, which may require the use of a sling. The sling will also help a dog be more stable while walking so he doesn't fall down.

For the first few weeks, a dog owner will have to routinely place ice packs on the mended knee a few times a day for up to 15 minutes. This will help reduce swelling. Gentle physical therapy exercises should also be performed on a daily basis for up to 20 minutes a day to help the dog regain his range of motion. After a couple of weeks, the dog will be mobile enough to do aqua-therapy, where he'll exercise on a treadmill in a special pool.

Post Surgery: Months 1 and 2

About one month after knee surgery, he'll be allowed to move a little more. However, he still won’t be allowed to run or jump. About 6 weeks after the procedure, a veterinarian will attain x-ray images to see how the dog has progressed in his recovery. At this point, the veterinarian will make a decision about how much activity the dog will be allowed.

Post Surgery: Months 3 and 4

During the third month of recovery, the dog will begin to feel a lot better and will move with more agility. The vet will take some new x-rays of the dog's knee, as it should be close to 100 % healed by this point. If the dog's knee surgery recovery has been successful, he should be able to move around freely and allowed to go on short walks that increase in length over time, so he can build up his strength. By the end of the fourth month after surgery, the knee should be 100% recovered and he can resume his normal activities.

Dog knee surgery will take a lot of around the clock care at first. Committed follow through with a dog's aftercare and recovery plans will pay off when he's able to bounce to his owner to greet her at the door without any pain.