Post Surgery Rehabilitation for Dogs: Cruciate Ligament Surgery
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Post Surgery Rehabilitation for Dogs: Cruciate Ligament Surgery

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This video will show you how to perform post surgery rehabilitation exercises for a dog that has undergone Cruciate Ligament Surgery. This exercise should be started 24 hours after surgery. It WILL hurt!! Your dog’s knee will be painful. Do NOT get bit!! This video shows you a simple, straightforward range of motion exercise.

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Hi I’m Dr. Marc Smith, with Natchez Trace Veterinary Services from Nashville, Tennessee. We have a dog here that has had Cruciate Ligament Surgery. And I often get the question, “What do I need to do, Marc? After the surgery? So that my dog is not in pain, so that I can give him/her the best chances to heal.”

Today I am with Chrissy and she is going to show us some of the rehab exercises that we institute 24 hours after the surgery.

So, Chrissy show us where the stifle is. Put your right hand of the stifle, and put your left hand on the hock. What Chrissy is going to do is she is going to take you through some range of motion exercises. And for our viewers out there, tell them how do we do this when our dog just had surgery and it hurts.

You make sure that you give the pain medication 30 minutes before you intend to do your rehab exercise, and apply an ice pack 10 to 15 minutes immediately after, to the surgical site. And lots of times, the hand that is on the stifle, the leg is gonna be painful, it’s gonna be hot, it’s gonna be swollen, it’s gonna have some crepitus, or some cracking in it. Those are all normal findings, but it’s very important to do these exercises, starting 24 hours after surgery.

How many times a day do we do them? 3 times a day for 10 to 15 repetitions. That’s a minimum, I would probably tell you to do them as many times as you can, just do the exercises.

What these exercises do is they breakdown the adhesions that start to form, as this tissue begins to heal. It allows your dog to use their limb, ultimately in the full range of motion.

And so, how long do we do these, as far as days after surgery? When do we consider switching to a different type of rotation exercise. At suture removal, when you return for a follow-up with your veterinarian.

So, Chrissy has explained to us today the flection extension exercise that we implement directly after surgery, and we keep it up through suture removal, which is 10 to 14 days after surgery and then we will go on to different exercises. I hope this answers some of your questions on how to handle dogs post-operatively from a cruciate ligament surgery.