WEEK 1 – Beginning the night after surgery – emphasis is on anti-inflammatory control.

  • Passive range of motion (PROM) and ice packs to the region of the injury three times a day.
  • Gentle massage of the limb once a day.
  • Short leash walks at a very slow gait on a flat surface three times a day for bathroom privileges only. Walks must be slow enough to allow weight-bearing; if the dog is walked too fast, they tend to hold up the affected limb. Praise the dog when he/she touches the limb to the ground, not when it is held up.
  • No stairs, slippery floors, no running, no jumping, no rough play, no long walks or rough play.
  • Ensure pet gets all medication.

WEEK 2 – Emphasis is on early limb use.

  • Reassessment of patient by veterinarian.
  • ± Massage and Ice packs and PROM once to twice daily.
  • Continue slow leash walks on flat surfaces for 10 minutes, two or three times daily.
  • Begin sit-to-stand or down-to-stand exercises for 10 minutes two or three times daily.
  • No stairs, slippery floors, no running, no jumping, no rough play, no long walks or rough play.
  • Ensure pet gets all medication.

WEEK 3 – Emphasis is on improved limb use.

  • Continue sit-to-stand or down-to-stand exercises, two to three times daily for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Continue slow leash walks, but increase to 20 – 40 minutes two or three times daily.
  • Decline and incline walking (walking down a gentle slope then back up) once daily. This exercise encourages strengthening of the rear leg muscles on the decline and foreleg muscles on the incline.
  • Stairs – 3 stairs up and 3 down twice a day – very slowly, to force use of the affected limb.
  • ± Ice packs and gentle massage of limb. Apply ice packs if it is painful at end of each exercise session.

WEEKS 4 & 5 – Emphasis is on muscle strengthening.

  • Continued muscle strengthening and development with sit-to-stand or down-to-stand exercises and short episodes of trotting 10 minutes twice daily.
  • Leash walks for 20 – 40 minutes twice daily.
  • Decline walking 10 – 15 minutes twice daily.
  • Incline walking 10 – 15 minutes twice daily.
  • Stairs – 6 up and 6 down twice daily, if possible.
  • ± Ice packs and gentle massage of leg, if it is painful at end of each exercise session.

WEEKS 6 – 12 – Emphasis is on muscle-specific therapeutic exercises.

  • Continued muscle strengthening and development with sit-to-stand or down-to-stand exercises and short episodes of trotting. Lengthen period of trotting to 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Leash walks for 40 – 60 minutes twice daily.
  • Figure eight walking for 10 minutes during leash walks.
  • Decline/Incline walking 20 minutes twice daily.
  • Stairs – 8 up and 8 down twice daily.
  • Swimming once daily for 10 – 30 minutes.
  • ± Ice packs and gentle massage of leg, if it is painful at end of exercise session.

WEEK 12 – FINAL REASSESSMENT.