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Dog acl rehab questions (4 replies)

2 years ago
Duckman0889 2 years ago

My lab is on week 5 of her rehab after having acl surgery. The instructions were to walk her 2-3 times a day starting with 5 minutes and adding 5 minutes every week. We are now at 20 minutes 2-3 times a day. 

My question is 1. why does she only use 3 legs and hops around in the house but will use all 4 when she's on a leash outside. 2. Also, I'm wondering about how long before she uses all 4 at all times and quits limping. 3. The last question I have is if you have gone through this did your vet have you do any other form of rehab with your dog other than just walking. 

I'm not in a hurry or rush to push rehab to fast. Just curious. 

Any feedback would be lovely. 

Melissa Smith
2 years ago
Melissa Smith 2 years ago

Hi Duckman! Unfortunately I have never had the experience of having my dog go through this type of surgery, so anything I come up with is guesses at best. I wonder if being outside distracts her from any pain and that's why she uses all four legs?

Your best bet is to just give your vet a quick call (some even respond via email) and ask him or her about the timeline, and when you should be worried if you don't see improvement. I hope we have some more responders, because I am curious too about this type of recovery!

2 years ago
Smorris5039 2 years ago

We took our dog to water therapy. It helped build back her thigh muscle on the affected leg. Took about 12 - 16 weeks till she was back to her old self

Melissa Smith
2 years ago
Melissa Smith 2 years ago

Smorris, thanks for your reply! Is water therapy for dogs pretty much the same as it is for people? Is it something you do on your own, or are there certain places to go that do canine water therapy?

Dr. Pippa Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS
2 years ago

Water therapy (also known as hydrotherapy) is excellent for building muscle after an op like this. 

You do need to go to a specialist canine hydrotherapy center, fitted out with hoists and life jackets. 

As for limping in the house but being fine on the lead - Many dogs "learn" to limp, especially if she associates being sore at home after the surgery. She may worry about touching the leg down, but then when she's out and about with lots of distractions forget that she's worried and walk normally - hence the importance of a good rehab regime.

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