Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: California's Central Coast
Molly had tplo due to partial tear of ligament. She never had a yelp or moment of pain where we could say, "oh she's injured". She would start to limp after rising from rest or sleep, like her leg fell asleep. This went on for about 6 weeks, she'd have periods of no limping, then it would start up again. Looking back, she was either injured getting too exuberant on our trainer's agility equipment or playing with some other dogs on wet grass and slipping a couple times.
I did a lot of searching online whether to try and rest her vs. surgery. Basically what I read was for larger breeds, if you want a dog that can walk across the living room OK, then skip surgery, but if you are very active like us, go with the surgery. Our vet tech has a 10 yr old Lab/GSD mix that Molly sometimes plays with in the park. He had TPLO when he was 5yrs old. His dog looks great! He runs a lot, no limp, I thought he was only 5 yrs old, not 10.
After the surgery, we kept Molly in a 4x4 e-pen in our living room for 8 weeks. We slept on the sofa next to her. For the 3rd month we kept her in the living room. She is well trained and we could carefully walk her out to our back patio and we'd say, "bed" and she'd stay on her bed outside. We wanted her to get fresh air and sunshine. To keep her calm, we covered our doorbell and put a "quiet" sign on the front door so solicitors or UPS would not agitate her. The first day home from surgery, I took photos of the surgical site so I could compare it in case it got red, inflamed or swollen. She had no issues with that, just some excess fluid that lasted for 2 days.
Our surgeon did not order physical therapy. We were strict about keeping Molly off stairs and following the surgeon's exercise schedule. We had a couple setbacks, one was fractured tibia that healed on its own (5% chance of this happening), the other was limping again in month 3 post-op, but after another period of exercise restriction she recovered fine. She had a good amount of muscle atrophy and for a while found it hard to balance getting the recommended exercise and being scared about overdoing things. She gained a little weight and had to diet for 2 months.
Our vet tech saw Molly at the park last week and said she looks great. So hang in there and have lots of patience. The surgery will be harder on you than your dog.