If your dog is recovering from a leg or spinal problem, then he or she will need some special care at home. Most of these dogs need to start with a combination of rest and slow walking. Physiotherapy is useful from early on during the rest period, but must of course be carefully supervised so as to adhere to safety and exercise guidelines. 

Exercise is then increased gradually. Your vet or surgeon may have given you an exercise programme to follow. At recheck time, the level of exercise is then adjusted depending on your dog’s progress. 

Here’s a list of some conditions that require careful exercise-restriction during recovery, even if your dog has not had an operation:

  • Cranial cruciate ligament disease
  • Disc disease (extrusion/ protrusion/ “slipped disc”/ IVDD)
  • Lameness due to patellar luxation (slipping kneecap)
  • Tendon injury
  • Fibrocartilaginous embolism/ “FCE”/ “Spinal stroke”
  • Fractures, non-surgical management
  • Muscle strains
  • Medial shoulder instability 

And here is a list of some operations requiring careful exercise-restriction during recovery:

  • Stifle surgery (lateral suture, TPLO, TTA, “cruciate repair” or patellar operation)
  • Fracture repair
  • Spinal surgery (for disc extrusion/ protrusion/ “slipped disc”/ IVDD/ lumbosacral stenosis)
  • Tendon or ligament repair
  • Elbow surgery (e.g. for elbow dysplasia)
  • Excision arthroplasty (e.g. femoral head & neck excision)
  • Joint replacement (e.g. total hip replacement)

NB: The above lists are not exhaustive. 

Getting advice

There is plenty of advice on this website regarding the recovery period. A good place to start is at the introduction page by clicking here. This website also contains guides to crate rest, room rest, and many further links via those pages.

For further information about caring for your dog during recovery, try the Frequently Asked Questions page by clicking here.

If you have still not found the answer to your question, then do get in touch. Questions or comments about recovery are best posted on the Recovery Space Facebook page by clicking here. You are welcome to include photos or a video clip of your dog along with your question. 

If you prefer to avoid Facebook, then you can still share your question by posting it in any comments box on this website (e.g. the one at the foot of this page). 

To book a physiotherapy session with The Rehab Vet (Herts, UK) or for other one-to-one support, please contact me here.

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