After Care Instructions: TPLO and Fracture Repair

Incision(s) Care:

Please monitor the incision for any excessive redness, swelling, discharge, or separation for the surgical site.

DO NOT, for any reason, allow your pet to lick, chew or groom the surgical site. An e-collar should be purchased and kept on your pet at all times to keep from damaging the surgical site.

  • Unless otherwise directed, use ice compression for 5-10 minutes (as tolerated) 3-4 times a day for the first 24-36 hours.
  • After which, use warm compression 5-10 minutes (as tolerated) 3-4 times a day for the next 24-48 hours until the swelling subsides.
  • You should always use a towel or barrier against the skin to prevent thermal damage and always check the temperature on your skin first.

It is not uncommon to see bruising and swelling dissipate around the ankle or wrist (lower joints) after surgery. Please see instructions for warm compression and Passive Range of Motion (PROM).

NO BATHS throughout the recovery period or until approved by a veterinarian. We do not want your pet climbing in and out of the bath or slipping and falling while still in recovery.

Exercise Instructions:

Please restrict your pet’s activity for the ENTIRE 8-week recovery unless otherwise directed.

Your pet must NOT be allowed to run, jump, or play roughly during this time. He/she may be taken outdoors on a short leash with a sling 2-3 times a day to urinate and defecate but should be immediately brought back indoors. When not under your direct supervision, your pet should be confined to a crate or small room.

If applicable, a sling may be purchased for your pet. This is to help with hind end control, slow movement during recovery, and prevent him/her from slipping on wet ground or slick surfaces. It should be used for the first 2-4 weeks after orthopedic surgery until better mobility is achieved.

After 2 weeks (or after suture removal), gradually increase your pet’s leash walks by 5 minutes each week. DO NOT increase his/her walking to more than 30 minutes by week 8.

If at any time your pet becomes increasingly lame or painful, please call a veterinarian for additional recommendations.

Passive Range of Motion (PROM):

This may be performed on your pet standing or laying down. Please start at the toes and work up the leg performing bending and extending exercises at each joint. 10-15 repetitions can be performed per joint as tolerated by your pet. Please go slowly and minimize stress.

Please refer to this demonstration by Purdue University:


Your pet will be sent home with oral medications. Please discuss administration with your veterinarian at the time of discharge from the hospital. These medications are likely to include a pain medicine and/or anti-inflammatory medicine. Antibiotics may also be prescribed on an as-needed basis.

Recheck Visits:

Your pet will need a recheck appointment in 10-14 days for skin suture/staple removal and/or incision check. Pets with orthopedic implants and expected bone healing should have additional radiographs performed in 8 weeks from the initial surgery. Please schedule these appointments with your veterinarian. DVSC can be contacted for review of radiographs and for any questions in the recovery period.

If there is adequate healing at this 8-week point and you have veterinary approval, slowly and gradually increase your pet’s activity over the next 2-3 weeks. Your pet may also benefit from water treadmill therapy and leash walks on inclines/declines. This increase in activity should be SUPERVISED and on a leash until full function is achieved. Occasionally your dog may be lame after increased activity. Please allow 24 hours of rest and then continue on your schedule.

If at any time you notice your pet becoming lethargic, uninterested in food, or unable to hold down food, please contact your veterinary office or local emergency room. If at any time your pet becomes increasingly lame or painful within this recovery period, please call your primary veterinarian or the DVSC as this can be a sign of implant failure or infection.


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