When a dog undergoes surgery, it is essential for pet owners to understand the proper post-operative care. The recovery period can be extensive, especially in the case of orthopedic surgery. In this article, our vets in Ketchum offer guidance on caring for your dog following a surgical procedure.
Veterinary orthopedic surgery encompasses procedures aimed at resolving problems related to your pet's ligaments, tendons, joints, bones, and other tissues in their skeletal system.
The recuperation can be challenging for both you and your pet. Here are suggestions to support your dog's post-surgery recovery for optimal speed and health.
Follow Your Veterinarian's Instructions
Following orthopedic surgery, a veterinary surgeon or veterinarian will furnish you with precise guidelines for managing your pet's post-operative care upon their safe return home.
It is important to diligently heed your vet's instructions, and feel free to seek clarification or contact your vet if you forget any details regarding your pet's post-operative care. Your vet shares your commitment to your pet's well-being and will gladly offer assistance.
Managing the After-Effects of Anesthesia
Orthopedic surgeries are performed under general anesthesia, which might lead to your dog experiencing nausea or a reduced appetite during their initial recovery. Ensure you provide your dog with a gentle diet, like rice and chicken, to aid in digestion.
Typically, they should have fully recovered from the anesthesia's effects 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.
To achieve this, confine your dog to a playpen or an appropriate room (depending on their size), ensuring there are no objects they can jump on or potentially harm themselves with. In certain cases of orthopedic surgeries, your veterinarian might suggest strict confinement, often referred to as "crate rest," for a portion or the entirety of your dog's recovery period.
Make sure you make whatever space your dog is confined to as comfortable for them as possible, with their favorite toys, blankets, 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 duration of your dog's post-surgery recovery hinges on several variables, including the type of surgery, the overall health of your dog, their age, and the required rehabilitation during the recovery period.
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.