When your pup undergoes any surgery, it is important for pet parents to know how to care for their dog after a procedure. Recovery can be a long process and this is even more true for orthopedic surgery. Here, our Avon vets give you advice on how to care for your dog after surgery.
Veterinary orthopedic surgery is an umbrella term that refers to any surgery that addresses issues affecting your pet's ligaments, tendons, joints, bones any any other tissues associated with their skeletal system.
The healing process can be stressful for you and your pet, so here are some tips for helping your dog's recovery from their orthopedic surgery be as quick and healthy as possible.
Follow Your Veterinarian's Instructions
After undergoing orthopedic surgery, a veterinary surgeon or veterinarian will be able to provide you with clear instructions to handle your pet's post-operative care when they are able to safely return home. Make sure you are paying careful attention to your vet's instructions, taking notes if you need.
However, don't be afraid to ask for clarification or, if you realize you have forgotten some aspect of your pet's post-operative care, to call your vet to remind you. Your vet wants the best for your pet, just like you do, and they will be happy to help.
Managing the After-Effects of Anesthesia
Orthopedic surgeries are completed under general anesthesia, which may cause your dog to feel pretty queasy or to lose their appetite as they recover from its immediate effects. Make sure you are feeding your dog a light meal such as rice and chicken to help with their digestion.
They should have recovered from the effects of the general anesthesia within 24 hours.
Keeping Your Dog Comfortable And Restricting Movement
After your dog's orthopedic surgery, it's likely that your animal orthopedic surgeon will advise you to restrict your dog's movement for a period of time. Your pup will likely not be very energetic or want to move very much initially, but confining your dog and preventing them from running, jumping, or other strenuous activities is key to them making a full recovery as time goes on.
The best way for you to accomplish this is by confining your dog to either a playpen or to their own room (depending on their size) without anything to jump up on to or injure themselves with. For some orthopedic surgeries, your vet may recommend that your dog undergo a strict confinement or "crate rest" for some or all of your dog's recovery period.
Make sure you make whatever space you dog is confined to as comfortable for them as possible, with their favorite toys, blankets and cushions and lots of space to spread out and relax.
Managing Your Dog's Pain After Orthopedic Surgery
Your dog's orthopedic veterinarian or veterinary nurse will take the time to explain to you what medications they are prescribing your pup to manage their post-surgery pain. This includes the required dose, the way you should administer it and how often to do so.
Make sure you stick to your vet's instructions as much as possible to ensure efficacy and reduce the chance of side effects.
The most commonly prescribed pain management treatments prescribed are antibiotics to reduce the chances of infection and pain medications. If your dog is anxious or high-strung, your vet may also prescribe an anti-anxiety medication or mild sedative to help your dog remain calm throughout the process.
Typical Recovery Times Following Orthopedic Surgery
The length of time required for your dog to recover from surgery will also depend on a number of different factors, including the kind of surgery, your dog's general health, age and rehabilitation needs while they recover.
As a general rule, most soft tissue surgeries like spaying, neutering, or abdominal surgeries will be mostly healed by the 2-3 week mark and may be fully healed by a month-and-a-half after the operation.
Orthopedic surgeries, however, can take much longer to heal. Your dog will likely be mostly healed between 2 and 3 months after the procedure and it can take up to 6 months for them to fully recover.