Instructions for patients after arthroscopic elbow surgery
Your pet has had an arthroscopic elbow examination and surgery. It is important that he is strictly rested for the following 12 weeks. This means lead, toilet walks (into the garden and back) only being kept quiet in the house at all other times.
Sutures: There are stitches that should be removed by your vets in 10 days
Painkillers: NSAIDs are typical for at least 4 weeks
Future appointments:
• With your vets in 3 days for a wound check and 10 days for stitch removal
• Back here in 6 weeks for a check up. We do not charge for this appointment.
Please make sure that Pickle is not allowed to lick at the wound, a Buster Collar has been provided.
We strongly believe in a multimodal approach to joint disease management and we would advise that joint supplements are started in the post operative period, please talk to your vet about this.
• 0 to 6weeks, lead toilet walks only
• 6 to 12 weeks, start to increase the time on the lead to maximum 10 minutes three to four times daily
Physiotherapy is an important part of the recovery process and this should include:
1. Icing the area, use a bag of frozen peas applied to the area through two layers of a tea towel for up to 20 minutes three times a day.
2. Passive and massage of the leg.
3. Gentle lead controlled walking, this should be done slowly to encourage your dog to use its leg.
If you are in any way concerned with your dog’s progress contact your vet straight away
Rehab protocol for dogs after minimally invasive procedures (arthroscopies) and ACP therapy
Phase 1 (up to 6 weeks)
During phase one tissues are repairing and inflamed joints are settling, strict rest is required. This means lead toilet exercise only (5 minutes three times a day) and restriction to the house at other times. Your dog should be avoiding stairs and furniture at all times but unless otherwise directed you do not need to cage confining your dog.
Medications are typically required to provide pain relief and the area should be iced regularly for the first 7 to 10 days. When icing use a tea towel to wrap around a bag of frozen peas and apply this to the area by hand for 10 to 15 minutes. If it is too cold on your hand it is too cold on the dog.
For ACP cases Phase one lasts until two weeks after the last ACP injection.
Phase 2 (6 to 12 weeks, after re-examination appointment)
During phase 2 the tissues have largely healed but there will be some underlying weakness in the area. It is important that we do not over stress the tissues during this time as re injury is a risk.
Careful and controlled lead exercise should be started and this should be done slowly and gradually so that the increase in load is managed by the tissues. Your dog should remain confined to the house with no access to stairs or furniture.
Lead exercise should be slowly built up according to the following plan:
• Two walks a day which begin at 7 to 10 min each and are increased by 2 minutes every other day. You only increase the length of these if the dog comes back as well as it walks out and shows no increased lameness/stiffness later that day.
• Continue this regime until they build up to two 30min walks minimum. For older dogs who were only doing a small amount of exercise pre surgery, they may only get to 20 min and for younger fitter dogs who were having lots of exercise pre surgery I may want to get up to two 45 min walks.
• One of the walks each day should gradually increase up to the maximum time they were doing pre- surgery and hold the other walks whilst introducing circles, varying terrains, inclines and faster speeds.
Medications should continue during phase two as exercise is built up but can then be weaned off gradually over another 4 weeks. If your dog is doing well at the end of phase two free exercise can be introduced slowly over another 4 weeks and we do not need to see you back.