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Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs

By: Dr. Nicholas Trout

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A soft-padded bandage can be helpful after surgery to reduce swelling. This should be kept clean and dry by placing a plastic bag over the foot when your dog goes outside to go to the bathroom. Check the toes at the bottom of the bandage daily for evidence of swelling, excessive sweating or pain.

Confining a puppy for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery can be extremely difficult and frustrating for both you and your pet. However, it is essential to maximize the success of the surgical procedure. The abnormal cartilage that has been removed has to heal and this becomes more difficult if the elbow is working too hard. Very occasionally, sedatives may be recommended by your veterinarian to get through this phase of the recovery.

Ideal confinement includes: restriction to a single room or small portion of the home; no going up or down stairs; no jumping on or off furniture; leash-walking only to go to the bathroom and then going straight back inside.

Staple or suture removal would take place at 10 to 14 days after surgery. Where the incision(s) are exposed, they can be examined on a daily basis for swelling, discharge or redness.

After the period of rest, exercise should be slowly and gradually increased over the next 4 to 6 weeks, starting with short leash walks, then getting gradually longer with greater freedom around the house to include the use of stairs.

Where the ulna has been cut, follow-up X-rays will probably be necessary at 6 weeks after surgery in order to assess bone healing.


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