Most orthopedic and neurologic procedures require that your pet remain under careful control and observation for several weeks. Typically dogs and cats are safest in a crate or small room with no furniture when they are not directly supervised. They can be taken out for supervised indoor activity, brief walks outside for bathroom purposes, and physical therapy exercises. This confinement and control is very important, even if the patient is walking well and pain-free! In some cases, dogs that are too active following a surgery can have serious complications and may require additional procedures.
While many pets are bearing weight well within just a few days of surgery, it is important to remember that the healing process of bone takes place over several weeks to months. Careful restriction of activity is critically important to prevent re-fracture or other complications. Sometimes this is the hardest part for an owner to accomplish, especially in a young, excitable puppy or kitten!
Simple, gentle stretching and massage exercises are frequently prescribed for owners to perform at home. These are meant to preserve joint flexibility and muscle mass. They also help improve circulation, reduce swelling and reduce pain after surgical procedures. In some cases, patients also benefit from more advanced and structured physical therapy. Many options for this are available in the Madison area, including swim therapy, underwater treadmill therapy, massage, balance and coordination work, electrical muscle stimulation, and therapeutic ultrasound.