Full weight bearing, a normal dog.
This should be from 6 weeks on.
1. NSAIDs: seldom used at this point.
2. Warm pack and massage: only if needed.
3. Flex/Extend exercises: only if needed.
4. Strengthening exercises: Continue gradually adding in more until the knee is functionally normal.
- Ball chasing and other “twisting/cutting” activities can be added now. Remember to start with just a few minutes of activity and watch for setbacks.
- Swimming is one of the best muscle strengthening activities for joint injuries. Longer swims that include retrieving objects are helpful.
- Pulling exercises – consider using a harness on your dog and hooking it to a sled for some pulling exercises. Gradually add weight to the sled for a more rigorous workout. This is especially helpful if your dog is not developing as much muscle as desired. Make sure you run your dog with its head up to encourage rear leg push.
- Running can begin now, starting with shorter distances on soft non-pavement surfaces and working up to road running if desired.
- Lateral hill walking – walk across a hill with the surgery leg on the down side of the hill and zig-zag your way up the hill. While walking on the hill add in the inclines and declines.
Each dog will progress at a different rate through the stages of rehabilitation.
- Watch for setbacks. This may mean you are pushing too hard.
- If any exercises result in discomfort, stop for 24 hours, cold pack the knee and restart the activity at a lower level.
- Let us know if you are having difficulties with any of the exercises or if you feel your dog is in pain.
Remember, surgery is only the first step in returning your dog to full function. Your commitment to the rehabilitation process will have life long affect on the comfort, flexibility and strength that your dog will have in the surgery leg.