Canine Orthopedic Surgery: How to Ensure a Smooth Recovery

Canine Orthopedic Surgery How to Ensure a Smooth Recovery

There can be several reasons why a dog may need to undergo orthopedic surgery. In some cases, the veterinarian may recommend this surgery to relieve pain from a degenerative joint condition. Other times, a broken bone or trauma may necessitate orthopedic surgery for better mobility and function.

Orthopedic surgeries are indeed quite invasive, but they’re performed under general anesthesia. Moreover, healthy dogs seldom face any major complications postoperative. According to Shoreland Animal Hospital, the veterinarian will conduct a post op blood work and overall health analysis to determine the surgery’s prognosis.

Is your pooch also about to undergo an orthopedic surgery soon? Given how common this type of surgery is among dogs (especially those well-advanced in age), the success rates are ideal. With proper care, your dog will enjoy a speedy recovery. In this article, we will discuss five ways to support their healing.

Closely Follow the Vet’s Instructions

Your first line of defense against any post-surgery complications is your pooch’s veterinarian. After the operation is over, they will provide you with clear instructions for post-operative care. You must pay careful attention to all that the vet has to say.

Take down notes if needed and ask questions to clarify any doubts you may have. In most cases, the pet parent is given written instructions that can be easily referred to during the dog’s recovery. Throughout the process, keep in mind that your pet’s vet wants the best for them.

So, if anything pops into your mind later on or you suddenly remember something you have forgotten to ask earlier, simply call the doctor. They’d be more than happy to cater to your pet’s needs. In any case, do not take a step you’re unsure about.

Manage the After-Effects of Anesthesia

Orthopedic surgeries on pets are usually performed under the influence of general anesthesia. Once the surgery is done, your pooch may experience some nausea or lose their appetite for a while. It is important to avoid feeding a heavy meal for at least 24 hours after the operation.

By a heavy meal, we are talking about the usual diet your pet consumes. It is best to feed them a light meal (including some rice or chicken). This will help ease your dog’s digestive system. Once they have recovered, your pooch will naturally have an increased appetite.

Administer Medication to Manage Pain

One of the immediate after-effects of orthopedic surgery will be pain and discomfort around the operated area. Your pet may show signs of restlessness or constantly lick the surgical site. 

The veterinarian may recommend a medication like Carprovet. Carprovet for dogs helps in osteoarthritis-induced pain management, and this includes post-operative discomfort. Consult the vet’s prescription for instructions on dosage and frequency. 

The medication may be found in different strengths (25mg, 75mg, or 100mg) for varying pain management needs. According to PetRx, the medicines are usually available in chewable tablet form, often chicken or beef-flavored, so that it’s easy for the dog to consume.

Whenever you give your pet a dosage, make a note for future reference. Giving them their pain medication on time and as per the vet’s instructions will aid recovery and reduce the chances of side effects.

Restrict Their Movement and Keep Them Comfortable

VCA Animal Hospitals states that your pet’s movements may need to be restricted for at least a week after the orthopedic surgery. This will allow the surgical site to heal faster. Initially, it may not be a problem since your pooch will lack the energy to move about.

However, as your pet begins to feel better, it may start moving around and desire to resume activities like playing, jumping, climbing, etc. This is where the importance of confinement and restrictive movement comes in.

Try to prevent it from participating in strenuous activities that put excessive strain on the operated area. If your dog is small, a playpen should help confine them. In the case of a larger breed, just confine them to a medium-sized room without any object to injure themselves.

Scatter around some pet toys and let them entertain themselves. However, you must keep an eye on them at all times. 

Care for Your Pet’s Incision Site

You may observe that your dog is continuously biting, chewing, or scratching the surgical site. The constant tugging at the bandages will slow down the recovery process. In a worst-case scenario, it may make the stitches bleed.

You can purchase a cone-shaped collar (available in soft or hard versions) to keep your pet from reaching the surgical site. It may take some adjusting time, but if your pet is unable to stand a cone-shaped collar, post-surgery pet shirts can help.

In the case of traditional stitches, they will be removed at least 10 to 15 days after the surgery. Most veterinarian surgeons prefer to use internal stitches that simply dissolve as the wounds heal. Regardless of the stitch type, your pet mustn’t lick or scratch the incision site.

Finally, the bandages must also be kept dry at all times. There will be times when they get frustrated with the reduced activity and lack of stimulation. So, stay prepared with different ways to amuse them.

An example could be dog-friendly chew toys. Keep two or three such playthings around, but offer them one at a time. Keep switching between toys to prevent boredom from creeping in. You can also provide some limited treats.

The exact time taken to recover from an orthopedic surgery will depend on factors like your pet’s age, the reason why surgery was needed, rehabilitation needs, etc. Most dogs recover within two to three months, but it may take as long as six months in some cases.