Rupture of the cruciate ligament– post-op homecare

our pet has just undergone a surgical procedure targeting to artificially replace the function of the cruciate ligaments that ruptured.

These ligaments consist of 2 fibrous blands forming an ‘X’ in the knee which serve to stabilize the two parts of the joint.

It’s possible that they may tear partially or gradually due to trauma or degeneration. Because of the abnormal movement of the thigh bone with the leg bone, short-term/long term arthritis will develop if the situation is not corrected thus continuing a cycle of inflammation and pain.

Following surgery, we suggest you follow these recommendations to promote healing and avoid any post-surgical complication;
1. In 10 days, you must return to have the bandage removed by your veterinarian please make an appointment.
2. You must return in 3 weeks to have the surgical staples removed by your veterinarian. These visits are free of charge; however, you do need to make an appointment.
3. Your pet must wear the collar that we have provided, to prevent your pet from licking/biting the wound/bandage/sutures.
4. The wound must remain clean and dry at all times, therefore avoid bathing and/or swimming. Keep an eye out for any signs of swelling, redness or discharge from the wound.
5. To avoid infection at the wound’s site, which could be very serious, the veterinarian has prescribed an injection of convenia, which will protect your pet for a 2 week period.
6. Your veterinarian probably prescribed rimadyl to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation in the knee.
7. To help slow down the degeneration process of the joints, your veterinarian proprably prescribed a medication such as Novo-Flex.

Generally convalescence takes about 3 to 4 months. During the first 2 months, your pet must remain in a cage to avoid movement and will be allowed very short walks on a leash to do their business. Gradually you will be allowed to increase the duration of the walks. Although this period may seem excessively long, it is important that you respect it since the knee will not have finished healing long after your dog becomes comfortable.

During this period, you can perform physiotherapy 1 to 3 times a day to help prevent the knee from stiffening.

To do so, you simply need to perform a series of flexions and extensions. To reduce swelling, apply cold compresses of ice cubes or a bag of frozen peas on the knee for about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not apply the ice directly on the skin.

At the end of 3 months, you can start quietly trotting, but make sure you remain in control. At 4 months the trots can become more intensive and you can even start doing small sprints. At 5 months, exercise can return to normal.

It is extremely important that you control your pet’s weight. Excess weight on the joints can prevent the knee from healing properly. If your pet is overweight, we can provide a diet that will be adapted to his/her needs.

You should make an appointment for a re-evaluation in 30 days with your pet so that we may insure that the knee has healed properly. X-rays may be necessary during the re-evaluation.