Surgery for ACL soon- need advice on aftercare

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.


Sweetest Girl in- Texas
Barked: Sat Jul 4, '09 7:18am PST 
First thing Monday (Jul6) morning, undergoing either a TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement) or a TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) depending on what the surgeon find once he gets in there.
Unfortunately due to financial strains it's being done at a "Wellness Clinic", where she'll be released in the early afternoon the same day as they don't have facilities for overnight care. Good surgeon though.
I've got some questions for anyone whose been down this road:
a) how do I get her to learn to "potty" right outside the door. I don't have time to retrain her to do so. Will this just come naturally since she'll be in too much pain to walk far? (I'll be buying or making a sling to go under her belly so I can help support her. Unfortunately the best slings are mailorder and I dont have time to order one)
b) what, if any, extra supplements would be appropriate? I usually supplement with Omega-3's, but due to their blood thinning effect they won't be appropriate for at least awhile after surgery. I assume CosaminDS/MSM? anything else?
c) anything else I'm going to run into that I'm not going to expect?
-I'm scared to death (me, the human). I'm disabled, can't lift much weight, can't drive (so dont have a car). I'm a competant biologist with human field medic experience- but that knowledge/experience just lets me know how much knowledge/experience there is that I don't know/have. I'm so attached to Choppy that when I was in the hospital for 1.5months when I got sick/injured, I cried everyday for them to let me take a quick field-trip home to see her, or for them to let me go down to the parking lot, so my (ex)wife could drive her up real quick. They didnt let me do either cry . If it wasn't for Choppy and Lou I never would have survived my divorce or learning to deal with my handicaps. My life revolves around my dogs. They sleep in bed, under the covers, with me. I'm on disability, and I sold everything I had worth of value for this surgery. I just have so much emotionally invested in these guys. I had a dog pass away 4-5 years ago, I still cant speak his name without choking up. I can't even think about him yet...
Sorry for unloading. I don't have much of a support system. Anyway, any advice anyone has, please don't be stingy. I'm flying blind and scared shrug Thanks, DC (Choppy's Dad)

Code name:- Farmcollie
Barked: Sat Jul 4, '09 9:12am PST 
Best TPLO website that I know of, including suggestions for aftercare:


You have very lucky dogs.
Best of luck with surgery and recovery.

Edited by author Sat Jul 4, '09 9:14am PST


I'm sticking my- tongue out at- you!
Barked: Sat Jul 4, '09 9:36am PST 
Hershey tore both ACLs last summer, 6 weeks apart. Your pup will have to staples removed 10 days after surgery, and you will want to keep the site clean (I'm sure you know that part).

What I had the biggest issue with was that Hershey wanted to do too much too fast. She wanted to walk and walk and walk before going potty. As hard as it was, I had to take her out for 5 minutes (at first), if she went, she went. If she didn't, we came back inside. It didn't lake long for her to learn that if she needed to go, she better do it.

Having toys that your pup can play with without much movement will help. A Kong, for example.

You do need to be aware that when a dog tares one ACL, it is likely that they will then tare the second because of the strain put on it by the first. It can take up to a year for a full recovery. Hershey's first surgery was July 17, and the second was September 7. The first one is healed, but the second isn't quite. It's close, but not quite.

We started given Glucosamine, Chondrotin, and MSM daily. We use Wellessee. It's liquid, human formula and sold at Wal Mart. It is cheaper than the dog formulas.


Boxer Gentleman
Barked: Sat Jul 4, '09 10:26am PST 
These guys have already given you some great info, so all I can add is a hug and give you another link. This one is based on non-surgery stuff for it, but gives you some info on the other stuff you need to know. wink http://home.earthlink.net/~tiggerpoz/index.html
Tanuk CGC

Sherpa Tanuk of- Everest
Barked: Sat Jul 4, '09 11:11am PST 
My childhood dog had surgery for luxating patellas, not the same thing, but aftercare is similar. For him we just slung an old towel under him and used that to hoist him around, we didn't buy a fancy sling. Also, if you're holding their backend up, it makes you partially in charge of where they go (to potty and otherwise). If that's not enough however, I know they sell "pee sticks" that you can put in your yard and it's supposed to attract them to pee wherever you put it. I believe Petsmart, etc carry them, but I've mostly seen them online. Also, the dog will need to be on a lot of bedrest, so if you don't crate, make sure to gate off a safe comfy area with a chew toy or two and a nice cushy bed. Good luck and let us know how you do!
Dr. Watson

Not a wiener- dawg!
Barked: Sun Jul 5, '09 6:13am PST 
I fear I may looking at this in the future for my ACD mix girl, too.frown

hug from my family to you all!

You might also want to get an X-pen in addition to the crate (or make your own equivalent).

I know some dogs who like this product in your situation: Glyco Flex II

Of course, you can probably find something equivalent and cheaper. I do like the fact that Glycoflex has 3 different levels. #2 is recommended for post-op orthopedic care.
♥Soph- ie Claire- CGC

I love to be- loved.
Barked: Sun Jul 5, '09 7:49am PST 
Good advise from the others Choppy. Sophie had ACL repair on St Pat's Day. I use Gylco-Flex II for her supplement. I just used a beach towel for her sling the first week. She was on pain pills for the first two weeks and that did keep her somewhat groggy. We are almost 4 months out and she is just now having run of the house and a little loose leash time outside. Another good group for ACL repair is Yahoo. Orthodogs.com. We have been told by alot of dogs that it takes 6-12 months for full recovery.

All legs and no- tail
Barked: Sun Jul 5, '09 1:01pm PST 
I know it's a bit of a late post now, but you might want to try contacting Rio Catalina who opted to wear a special brace for her TPLO injury. She always has good information on the subject.

Good luck no matter what you choose!
rio catalina

where is- everyone?
Barked: Mon Jul 6, '09 11:33pm PST 
rio here...yes...it's just another option. i'm still wearing my brace and so far it's working great. the cost for mom was around $600 so much cheaper than surgery and you may have to do another surgery on the other knee. really depends on how bad the injury is. we weren't given any options other than surgery and worry that sometimes vets make people feel badly if they want to chose something other than surgery. it was that way with our vet...she's totally come around though now. best of luck to you...feel free to write me or check out my page for photo's of me with my brace on.