After the TPLO surgery, post-operative care includes activity restriction, incision care, physical therapy, medications, and follow-up X-rays.
8-12 weeks is the most common recovery time needed for the bone that is cut during TPLO surgery. As the bone is healing, the recovering dog should be restricted from activity that may cause complications with the healing process. Too much activity too soon can cause a loss of rotation, implant failure, meniscal injury, and pain. Lisner Animal Hospital recommends that the patient's owner utilize confinement methods to aid in recovery. Crates, gates, small areas, and kennels are all great tools for this part of recovery. Additionally, walks should be restricted to calm, leashed walks only. No jumping, playing, climbing, or other strenuous activity should take place at this time. As the patient recovers, activity will be slowly and methodically reimplemented by the surgeon.
Incisions take less time to heal than bone. With incision recovery, we are usually looking at 2-3 weeks. During these first few weeks post-op, it's important to monitor the incision closely. Look for unusual swelling, oozing, or any incision openings. To decrease swelling of the area, cool or warm compress can be applied to the incision site.
A cone may be helpful during this time. Lisner Animal Hospital recommends a cone to dissuade and prevent any chewing, licking, or nosing around the incision as that can cause infection and/or dehiscence. This can be a severe and serious complication.
Your surgeon should guide you in any necessary post-op physical therapy. Consult with your veterinary surgeon for patient-specific physical therapy needs.
Pain medication is prescribed to all TPLO surgery patients. However, the need for pain medication varies from patient to patient. Your dog may only need a few doses until the pain subsides. On the other hand, some patients require pain medication throughout the entire recovery phase.
Antibiotics may also be prescribed at this time. Discuss medication and antibiotic needs with your surgeon.
TPLO patients are recommended to have an 8-10 week post-op appointment. At this appointment, X-rays will be taken to evaluate bone healing. After the X-ray results, your surgeon will make recommendations for activity resumption and/or limitations.