Following surgery, many dogs remain hospitalized overnight in order to be monitored for full anesthetic recovery and to receive appropriate analgesic medication.
The use of a soft padded bandage to cover the leg after the procedure varies with the surgery and the surgeon. The bandage offers some comfort and reduces some of the postoperative swelling but, in fact, offers minimal support. If a bandage is used it should be kept clean and dry by placing a plastic bag over the foot every time the dog goes outside. The toes should be felt at the bottom of the bandage and assessed for swelling, sweating or pain, at least once a day.
If there is no bandage present, the incision can be assessed for swelling redness or discharge. In the case of a TPLO surgery, there is also a small incision lower down the leg, toward the ankle. Some swelling around the ankle may occur. This is not uncommon and usually responds well and quickly to the use of hot compresses.
Stiches or staples should be removed in 10-14 days.
Strict rest is essential for the first six weeks following surgery which means, ideally, no going up or down stairs, no jumping on or off furniture, avoiding slippery surfaces and walks, and going out on a leash for bathroom purposes only. With the TPLO surgery in particular, many dogs can recover extremely quickly. Owners should beware of this "false sense of security" afforded by dogs doing very well very early following surgery, and continue the rest for the full six week period.
Anti-inflammatory medication can be helpful for the first week following surgery, such as deracoxib
After six weeks of rest, a slow, gradual increase in exercise should begin, with slow leash walks getting longer and longer in small increments such that over a further six weeks your dog is going on thirty minute walks, with short periods off the leash with far greater freedom around the house, including the use of stairs. By sixteen weeks after surgery, there should be no restriction on exercise.