The Recovery Process – One Week After Surgery – Ligament Injury in Dogs

If you haven’t seen my original two posts, be sure to checkout my first article, read Treating a Torn/Ruptured Cranial Crucial Ligament (CCL) in Dogs (ACL), and my second article The Recovery Process – Keeping an Active Dog Inactive.

It has been a week now and our dog is finally getting used to being confined to her small cage. Our Veterinary doctor couldn’t stress enough how important it was to keep the dog without activity, so we’re doing our best to keep her caged up all day and all night without any activity. It’s hard, but with the help of some sedative pills, it has become manageable. As you may know, pit bulls have very persistent and stubborn personalities, so keeping a dog who has been extremely active all her life penned up in a cage all day is somewhat difficult.

Today, we went in for her one week checkup where they remove her bandages from the leg she had surgery on, and they removed the pain patch that was applied to her opposite leg. They checked the staples (sutures) and after deciding that everything was fine, they let us go – no charge too! With our dog becoming more and more restless with each day that passes, we found it necessary to ask for more sedatives for her, which the veterinary clinic gladly provided. So far, she has been very mellow since having her bandages removed, I just hope it stays that way. She hasn’t paid much attention to her 6-inch wound on her hind leg that has been stapled shut, and I’m really hoping that it stays that way, because I really don’t want to have to put her in the “lamp-shade”.

After the first couple days, it has gotten easier, but the hardest part is just leaving your dog locked up – with no activity (other than bathroom breaks a couple times per day). I hope those of you who read this find this information helpful, and I’ll try to post pictures if anyone is interested.

17 thoughts on “The Recovery Process – One Week After Surgery – Ligament Injury in Dogs”

  1. I too have a pitbull that I am picking up from the vet today after work, I find it interesting that you had to cage your dog as that is not the advice I was given, my dog can stay downstairs but does not have be caged, I think that would be to much trauma after such major surgery. My pit will be 8 this year, I was told to have him lose some weight & definately take it easy for the next few weeks & no stairs.

  2. That is weird… I know that there are different surgical options. One being a metal brace/bracket actually being screwed into both bones to support and stabilize the joint (I believe that procedure is called TPLO) We did not have that procedure, but from what I understand, recovery time is typically quicker.

    Out of curiosity, do you know what procedure your dog had? And if you don’t mind me asking… how much did it cost? I’ve heard of multiple people having this same problem with costs ranging from $3,000 up to $6,000. Ours was luckily on the lower end of the spectrum.

    Thanks, and good luck with your dogs recovery!

  3. We have an English Springer Spaniel who had this surgery, and was also told to just keep him quiet with no steps. Did your dogs have any bad reactions to the pain meds? Riley was put on Rimadyl and has had some bloody stools. I’m stopping the meds until I talk to the vet tomorrow.

  4. We have an 22 month old Black Labrador, she just had her surgery yesterday. She is also a VERY active dog, luckily we crate trained her when she was very little, and although she hasn’t been in a crate in about 8 months, she seems to be taking it okay. She actually injured it about a year ago. She seemed to get better a couple of week after she did it, but then every couple of months she would have a flare up and wouldn’t put her leg down. We finally took her in, and found out about the torn ligaments. Because we let it go for so long she now has arthritis. We are hoping for a full recovery, but I would caution anyone that suspects that your dog has torn their knee to take him/her in as soon as possible. The older the injury, the more cumbersome and expensive the surgery is.

  5. Emily –

    Good luck with the recovery. In the end, it’s the best thing that can be good for your dog. We’re so happy that we elected to do the surgery because our dog is doing great now!

  6. Our rottweiler had surgery on Aug. 30th, he is home now and I know what you mean…. This is torture for us and our dog. How is your dog doing now. We have confined ours to the laundry room and take him out to potty. Holy Cow just to think 3 more months of this YIKES

  7. Carole –

    Our dog is doing great now! Having the surgery was the best thing we could have done for our dog, and I’m sure it will be the same for your dog. It is tough keeping them confined for 3 months, but our dog has completely recovered and is good as new (though we do monitor and try to limit her activity). She’s 7 now, and a 1 1/2 years after the surgery she still thinks she’s a puppy.

    Best of luck to you and your dog. Check out for some more information.

  8. Thank you so much for your two articles. I have a 12 year old Cocker Spaniel (Cody) that had surgery today. I am a little nervous and anxious about dealing with the recovery period. He has never been isolated in a cage, and has always had full run of the house. Nice to know sedatives might be an option if the cage becomes too much for him. Thanks again for sharing your story.

  9. Our dog had ACL surgery on May 6, as well as having two tumors removed. She is an american bulldog: nine and a half years old, 100 lbs. Since she is pretty much a couch potato anyway, keeping her still has been pretty easy. She did not lick (so no lampshade) and did well with the pain medication. It was really funny to see a dog high on medication. She would sit and stare into space. She wants to play every now and then, and it is harder to stop my family from responding than to keep her quiet. I am hoping for the best on her recovery. She is my heart!!

  10. is bruising a normal thing after the surgery? our lab is being kept restricted, walking very lightly on leg when taken out for potty. surgery was Thursday and its now satuday and we notied. some bleeding/bruising under skin along the incision. she is resting comfortable, so pain, as she is medicated. any input is appreciated

  11. I will be taking my Shepard in for surgery tomorrow! He has a torn lig. back right knee! I’m very nervous about recovery! He is a very active dog and high strung! I may have to do the sedatives! How long will recovery be? Will he be able to walk on his own? After a few wks is it alot better or just alittle? I have a few steps to get hin to the yard how will that go? Does anyone have a god that had to do steps and if so how did your dog do? Thank-you!

  12. Our 7 year old, 55 pound lab mix is having surgery day after tomorrow. I AM FREAKING OUT about it. I had ACL surgery myself so I know what she’s in for. She’s very active and a bit on the crazy side, plus she has a very high tolerance for pain. Keeping her from running and jumping for 6 weeks is going to be quite a challenge for us! Thanks to everyone for all your suggestions. It’s very reassuring to hear that all your dogs are now doing well after surgery. Wish us luck!!!

  13. Our Doberman has had both knees done as of last week. The first surgery was done April 2011; the second October 2011. We were a mess with the first surgery but it turned out so very well. The pain patch kept him from eating or drinking the first two days. When it came off he started getting better. The lack of activity was going to be a big problem, since he is used to two daily walks, one hour (and 5KMS each), sometimes to a leash free farm. We started out just leased walks to potty, then down the driveway. It took three weeks before the vet released him to walk more than 2 minutes at a time. Each day we added a few minutes until we were back to normal. Also, we started playing games with him instead of just frisbee & catch: which hand? three cups with one treat; hide and seek the treat; stuff like that. I’ll write more later.

  14. Our 55lb pitbull cross had ACL surgery 3 days ago. The first night was hell on wheels. One thing that we were not told was that during the op they give the dog fluids intravenously. Normally our dog has a pee twice or three times a day. On the first night we had to take the dog out for a pee 6 times in as many hours throughout the night. She got extremely distressed by our not understanding that she needed to go out again and peed all over me and the kitchen floor as I was carrying her out on one occasion. The vets also told us that she may be a bit whiny which was an understatement as she had long bouts of pitiful mewling which we really found distressing. Thank goodness that stopped after the first night. The second night was not as bad as the first but we still had to take her for a pee three times. We now have to take her back to the vets today to get her big padded bandage sorted as it has slipped down her leg to the point that there is about one inch of her incision and stitches not covered. So far she has left the bandage alone and not needed to wear the dreaded lampshade but with we had to add extra coverage last night so she would not lick the wound. This is going to be a long six months.

  15. My 8 yr old black lab just had her 2nd surgey on her hind knee. This one is on her left leg. I am very concerned about how bad she walks/limps terribly. I’m not sure what to expect from her recovery. She seemed better at the Vet’s office when we took her and had her staples out. We were told to cut her Rymadyl to 1 every other day which is less than what she was getting. She just seemed stronger at the Vet and was able to bare more weight on her leg. I want the best for her so we are going to try physical therapy at the Vet’s office. The pt tech explained that she does laser to help the site heal and stim (pulsing electrodes), which she will sell me one for $ 30.00 so that I can do it at home. She is also going to teach me how to do range of motion excersizes. They will put “Remi” on a treadmill in water. She hates water so I don’t know how that will work out. Wish us luck. Thanks, Sue

  16. i have a 9 month old staffordshire terrier, who have surgery june 26, 2012 he is recoveing now but he has develope fluied on the ankle now i will see the vet on monday about this. it is now saturday and i am using ice pack on his leg. he is also sadative alot. has this happen with anyone else?

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