Veazie Veterinary Clinic
1522 State Street, Veazie, ME
(207) 941-8840

Stage 1 of Rehabilitation

Non-weight bearing to toe touching.

Our goal at this point is to minimize swelling and pain and to keep the joint mobile.

1. Pain Control: You will be sent home with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Use it as directed and let us know if you feel it is not working. NSAIDs are used to make sure your dog is comfortable and to reduce the amount of swelling at the surgical site. NSAIDs are used long term to reduce inflammation. We also send the patient home on Tramadol, which is for immediate pain; the dog is usually on this for less than a week. The two medications can be used together.

2. Flexion/Extension Exercises: These are done to keep the joint mobile by preventing fibrous adhesions from forming. These exercises are also called Range of Motion or ROM.

  • Lay your dog on its side with the affected leg up.
  • Gently flex the leg until you feel resistance.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  • Rest in a neutral position for 2-5 seconds.
  • Gently extend the leg until you feel resistance.
  • Hold again for 10 seconds.
  • Try to do 3-5 reps, 3-4 times daily. More is OK.

Do not do this if your dog becomes aggressive or seems to be bothered by the activity. Make sure that the motion is always on the same plane; do not twist the knee up or down.


3. Cold Pack: This is done to reduce the surgical swelling. It will also make your dog more comfortable. You should cold pack the entire knee, not just over the incision, at least three times daily (although more often is okay).

The duration of the cold packing is weight dependent. A 50 lb dog should be cold packed for 10 minutes, smaller dogs weighing 30 lbs and under should be cold packed for 8 minutes and larger dogs over 60 lbs should be closer to 15 minutes.

Place a thin towel or pillowcase on the skin and then apply the cold pack. If the knee area has significant inflammation it may be helpful to cold pack before as well as after the ROM exercises.

Stage 2 of Rehabilitation