Dog MPL Surgery & Recovery Guide

A Free 50 Page Guide that walks you through the entire process
  • We BELIEVE that in order for your dog to get the best care you need to know how you can help them heal.
  • Recommended by Top Veterinary Surgeons
  • Used by tens-of-thousands of pet owners just like you since 2007. Read their comments here.
  • Authored by trusted veterinarian Dr. James St.Clair
Buy 60 Tabs Bottle ($39) Buy MPL Book

You and Your Dog

Dear Pet Owner,

If you are stressed and upset about your dogs injury and worried about how you are going to help them get back to normal..then you have come to the right place. At TopDog we BELIEVE that when it comes to your dogs health, safety and wellbeing YOU need to take matters into your own hand and become better educated. We BELIEVE in YOU and YOUR DOGS ability to heal. We do this by providing easy to understand, step-by-step information that you can trust and works. Download Your Guide

My name is Dr. James St.Clair, and I am the Founder and Director of Veterinary Medicine here at TopDog Health. In 2004, we opened our first veterinary rehabilitation facility focused on helping dogs recovery after surgery. I quickly realized that their were two MAJOR problems for pet owners.

Problem #1 There was a huge lack of quality/trusted information available to pet owners online

Problem #2 There were major variations in the amount and consistency of information that veterinarians were providing to their to clients after surgery and my team and I NEEDED to help them

Since then TopDog has helped tens-of-thousands of pet owners have access to this vital information and best of all we are going to help both you and your dog today. We BELIEVE in YOU. It is a fact that your dog can achieve a FULL recovery but you need the RIGHT PLAN and the RIGHT INFORMATION.

Pet Owners unanimously say that TopDog over-delivers in everything we do, from the wealth of free information we provide, to the incredible quality of our products, to our honest and caring customer service and support.

The proof is in the results. Click here to read what other pet owners have to say about TopDogs information.

Don’t wait another minute. Please allow us to help your dog. Simply download your free home rehab guide and start educating yourself on how you can help your dog recovery today.

All the best,

Dr. J

The Benefits of the Guide:

  1. You will have the confidence and security knowing that you can actually help your dog heal.
  2. You will have the confidence knowing that the information you have, can be trusted because it was authored by a veterinarian who has already helped thousands of other dogs and pet owners just like you. Read some of their comments here
  3. You will learn exactly what you need to do to prepare your home and make it safe for your dog.
  4. You will learn a number of simple things you can do to help relieve your dogs pain or discomfort.
  5. You will learn how to keep your dog safe and prevent future injuries.
  6. You will find all the Information has been crafted in a very easy to understand format and language.
  7. You will have specific Step-by-Step instructions that are simple to follow
  8. Not only are there color photos showing you how to perform the therapies and exercises, but you will also have access to instructional videos that visually show you how to do it.
  9. You will have access to Dr. James and the TopDog Staff to answer any questions you may have
  10. You can access our TopDog Facebook page were there are thousands of pet owners how have already been through the whole process and also those who are currently in the same situation as you.

Whats Inside:

Below is the Table of Contents that you will find in the Guide.
  • Introduction to Canine Rehabilitation
  • II. Preparing for the Homecoming
    • Step-by-Step instructions on what you need to do from day one to prepare your home for the best recovery.
  • III. The Week-by-Week protocol of MPL
    • The Master Plane providing detailed weekly instructions and guidelines on exactly what you need to do day-by-day, weekby- week
  • IV. Therapy Modalities
    • Cold TherapyLearn why and how icing is the best anti-inflammatory and helps control pain in the early days after surgery.!
    • Moist HeatLearn about the benefits of moist heat therapy, why it is important and how exactly to do it.
    • MassageOne of the most under-valued therapies. You don’t have to be a skilled massage therapist to transfer the power of touch.
    • Passive Range of Motion (PROM)Though simple in theory most people don’t truly understand it benefits and exactly how to perform this essential therapy.
    • StretchingImmensely beneficial yet potentially detrimental, you will learn the basics of safe stretching.
  • V. Strengthening Exercises
    • Slow Controlled Leash WalksSimple in concept and one of THE MOST IMPORTANT exercises you can do, yet 90% of dogs owners don’t get it. We detail exactly what it means.
    • Sit-to-StandThe second most important muscle strengtening exerciases you can do to build hind leg muscle. Proper form is key and we tell you how.
    • Slow Controlled Hill WalksA simple introduction of hills at the right time can make a immense difference in muscle develop. Yet to soon could be a very bad thing. Inside we explain.
    • Stair ClimbingAlmost all of us have them in our house, but incorporating them to soon could be a disaster. Learn when and how to use stairs to your advantage for a successful recovery.
    • SwimmingOne of my favorite exercises but you have to be careful getting in and out.
  • VI. Balance and Proprioceptive Exercises
    • Weight ShiftingA simple exercise that you should be doing from day one.
    • Figure Eights
    • Outdoor Obstacles
  • VII. Additional Rehabilitation Modalities
  • VIII. Home Therapy Program Worksheet
  • IX. Doctor’s Instructions Table

Why This Information is Free?

At least once a week for years someone will always say…I would happily pay for this information or Your information is a lifesaver why don’t you charge for this. My answer is always this…That’s not who we are. (*Of course we do charge for the hardcopies which are available online).

We follow our deep rooted Core Beliefs and Vision for TopDog as a company.
  • We BELIEVE that in order for a dog to get the best care, their owner needs to want to learn how they can help them heal.
  • We BELIEVE that even though the internet is amazing for disseminating information often there is bad or dangerous information and therefore it is our RESPONSIBILITY to be one beacon of tangible trusted information.
  • We BELIEVE that if we can add value and improve the quality of life of even one dog or one dog lover then it was worth it. (Karma is very much alive)
  • We BELIEVE that if we over deliver and WOW our customers they will be more open to trying our other products

This is why our information is Free.

Veterinary Professionals

Download A Free Copy for Review

The Standard In Post-Surgery Client Education

Educating your clients about the importance of post-surgery therapy and rehabilitation is critical. In addition, it is imperative that this information comes directly from your hospital, their trusted source for information. TopDog’s Home Rehabilitation Guides provide a simple solution to this problem.


  • Adds Value to the Clients Experience with Your Hospital
  • Authored by a veterinarian
  • Safe and Conservative Guidelines
  • Provides a time saving solution for discharge
  • Reduces incidental follow up calls dramatically

Contact Us

Interested in incorporating TopDog’s Home Rehabilitation Guides into your practice simply call us 888-504-2220.

Download Your MPL Guide:
A 50 page guide to your dogs recovery


Have a Question or Comment about MPL?

To ask a question or leave a comment for TopDog veterinarian, Dr. James StClair, simply enter your name, email below. (Your email will never be shared or publised)


32 thoughts on “Download Your Trusted Free Guide to MPL (Medial Patellar Luxation) Surgery and Recovery
  1. ana says:

    My dog had MPL surgery 5 months ago on one of her back legs. In december she starting limping with her other leg for two weeks and I could feel how her bone popped out but then she stopped limping. I took her to the vet and they told me that she should get surgery in that leg too. I just worried if that would be a good decision to have surgery on her other leg even if she hasn’t limp in a month. Can you tell me your opinion?

    • Dr. James St.Clair says:

      Ana obviously since I can’t see or evaluate your dog I can’t make specific treatment recommendations. That being said I can tell you my philosophy in generalized terms. It is important to understand that limps or decreased use can be extremely subtle. It may appear that she is using the leg but if you watch really close this may not be the case. If she is using the leg close to 100% and she is doing well and she has not limped in over 1 month..then why would she need surgery?

  2. Robin Tropper says:

    I am enthusiastically watching all your videos and getting your vitamin supplements. My cocker-spaniel/shih-tzu/poodle mix just got excellent surgery for medial luxating patella with crest repositionning but not groove enhancement. Your videos mention running, but our town-house is all about the stairs and she LOVES to run up/down them. Where (links) are your favourite instructions on reintroducing and restraining staircase activity?

    Thaks a million for the great free and expert stuff: your generosity goes far in restoring my faith in North-American brotherhood!

    • Dr. James St.Clair says:

      Robin stairs can be tricky and with an MPL surgery really should not be incorporated until at least 8 weeks or even 10 weeks. The best way to start reintroducing them is with him on a short leash and you controlling his speed. What you don’t want to do is just let him have at it and do any major explosive hyperextension of that knee. We are all family on this planet…at least from my perspective…just sharing some love.

  3. Tammy Erwin says:

    Dr. James,

    I downloaded the MPL (Medial Patellar Luxation) Guide when JJ had his surgery back in October. When either of us tried to get him to do any type of exercise, he would not even bother. I think this is the 10th week, based on your emails that I received weekly. JJ seems to be doing well without do all of the exercises. Even when he was a puppy the sit, and lay commands never really registered. He seems to be moving well, he gets frisky and wants to play, we haven’t let him do any type of jumping other than about 3 feet from the floor, but he lands on front feet first and then the back. He has lost about 2-3 pounds since the surgery.

    After staying in on specify part for a little bit of time makes him waddle abit but he still can walk, run, (not fast since our house is very small) Is there anything that I should be doing? I know I should have just made him do the exercises, but I didn’t know how his pain level was in so I was not going to force any exercise on him and make it even more painful. I know how that feels, I am in pain 24-7. It’s not pleasant.

    The Vet said not really worried about for a walking, just keep him moving and we did. So, I really and truly helps him to start over again and he his rambunctious self.

    I didn’t have to go back for any follow after the day he left the facility, unless I felt it necessary. Unfortunately after a $2500 vet bill, that’s enough to not schedule an appt until he yearly shots in April.

    Thanks for reading my babble. I just don’t want him to suffer for something that didn’t get specially done.


    Merry Christmas

    Tammy Erwin

    • Dr. James St.Clair says:

      Tammy dont stress about it. If doing the exercises would have been MORE stressful for him then it could have had the negative effect. These are just the basic guideline for the foundation of post-orthopedic surgery. That being said..I am guessing that JJ is a small dog…and the best and biggest thing you did for him was restrict him and allow him to heal. You are totally fine and I am glad he is doing well. All the best, Dr.J

  4. beverly says:

    My dog just had patellar luxation on both legs. Do you have a different plan for them? He is a small dog weighing 15 lbs. How soon should I try to start walking him? Thank you for

    • Dr. James St.Clair says:

      Beverly the principles are going to be the same. Focus on icing, PROM and pain management for the first 3-5 days. As for the walking it would be just for elimination purposes at first and then as he improves and gets more comfortable you would extend that walking time. Take you time be conservative and all well be fine. The first few weeks are the worst and then it gets better from there. Good Luck!

  5. Tammy Erwin says:

    Hello, I have downloaded your booklet for MPL for dogs. Yesterday was the 2 week mark of the surgery. He had the surgery on both legs, had stitches removed yesterday. It seems that after we brought him back home from the stitches removed he seems to be walking worse now than before. He is a Yorkie, he will be 3yo 12/23, and weighs 23 pounds. When he walks he waddles(this started after the surgery). I have tried doing the exercises with him when it comes to range of motion and massage. He will not do many until he gets frustrated and starts to bite. Is there a supplement(s) or something that would help him so that when he doesn’t want to do the exercises it will still help. He is very stubborn. I want him to get back to how he was walking before all of this started, but would like to keep my fingers and hands.

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions that you may have to help my situation.


    Tammy Erwin

    • Dr. James St.Clair says:

      Tammy if he is sore after his suture removal, maybe due to stress and overactivity being at the hospital. Make sure to ask your veterinarian for some anti-inflammatories and pain med for a few day, I usually do 3-5 days. If they are not improved in this time then it is best to have him checked out and make sure everything is still good with the surgery repair. The waddling that your describe sounds classic for these MPL dogs who are trying to avoid bending/flexing their knees. If the surgery was a success and everything is in place then this should improve over time. You are only at 2 weeks so you need to be very patient, for these MPL’s you really need to be conservative and give them a good 8-12 weeks. As for the therapy…if he is not liking the passive range of motion then I would avoid doing this. It is better to not stress him out and if he is using the leg while walking then you are ok not to do the PROM. As for supplements you absolutely consider starting him on topdog’s supplement GlycanAid HA. This supplement is amazing and is built with only the best ingredients. Made here in the USA and using only USA ingredients. You can find it here

      All the best, Dr.J

      • Tammy Erwin says:

        Dr. J,

        Today is the 5th day post stitches removal. He seems to be very well actually. He tried to get rambunctious yesterday and we had to stop him. The exercises are going well, he will let me massage both legs, and then bend and straight down with them, that’s all. Which if this helps him to get better I am happy with that. I can tell such a HUGE difference from the day we picked him up after his surgery. He had surgery and I couldn’t pick him up until Wednesday. He wasn’t really happy when he came home. Until he had the pain patch removed, and the sticky tape they put over the stitches, he was very unpleasant. Once all of that was gone, it was like he transformed into a new dog. I have tramadol and also Metacam pain medicines for him. I normally give him the Metacam after dinner in the evening, and the other just when I think he is in pain. Last night I did not give him the metacam until about midnight. So, he is getting along a lot better than before. I think what freaked me out the most, was that I wasn’t prepared for all of the hair shaving that they did, and how he looked when they brought him out to me. I felt so sorry for the poor guy, I had tears in my eyes.

        I honestly do not think that Vets explain enough about the procedure and what we should be prepared for once the surgery is complete. I think for the amount I paid for both legs to be done, there should be a pot of gold at the end of this 12 week procedure.

        I did order the joint pills that you sell, and also got the other stuff that you put on his food.

        I am so glad that I was able to access your guide and print it out so that we would know what to do and when to do it. So, next week is going to be week 3, and it feels like we are about to week 7 or 8. He has come a long way in a very short time. I am glad that he is doing well.

        Thank you for all of your information. It is so helpful.

        Have a great weekend.


        • Dr. James St.Clair says:

          Tammy that is awesome that he is doing so well at this point. Just please try to stay on the conservative side as he starts to feel better and what to do more and more. You will hear me constantly say….FULL RECOVERY takes 6 months. At 12 weeks you are safer but we really need to allow this additional time for everything to balance out with the goal of avoiding any kind of compensation injuries to the other limbs. You have a great weekend as well.

        • Tammy Erwin says:

          Apparently he is feeling pretty frisky. We have caught him thinking and wanting to jump on the couch, or a recliner. Of course we haven’t let him and caught him before he did jump. I got the GlycanAid HA on Friday and he has had 2 so far and he chomps them up like they are candy. I also got the stuff to put on the dog food, but haven’t tried it yet.

          I do want to thank you for all of the information that you have on your website that is free. I also love that if I have a question I can submit it here and you will respond within a 24 hour period, (at least mine have)It’s so awesome for pet owner’s. Tomorrow we will be starting on week 3, and I have one question about it.

          How important is it to put the moist heat on the legs? My dog has a very little if any tolerance when it comes to the exercises. I have to do one leg, and then wait awhile to do the other. He does not have the patience for doing one and then the other.

          Thanks in advance.


        • Dr. James St.Clair says:

          Tammy the therapies are only laid out to be the IDEAL situation. If your dog is not tolerant then you are better off not doing them especially if your dog does not like them. If you dog is using the leg well or at least toe touching then your focus really can be on just mastering the slow controlled walks and other strengthening exercises over time.

          BTW you are very welcome and we work really hard to be there for people and help them help their pets. It is our passion.

          All the best, Dr.J

  6. Lari London says:

    My wonderful 8lb Morkie is having surgery on his left hind leg tomorrow. Specialist said he was a grade 3. I know he will most likely need surgery on his right hind leg in the near future. My question is, should they both be done at the same time. I would hate for him to have to go through this twice.He’s only a little over a year old. Thought it was strange that vet didn’t take any X-rays the day of my visit, is that normal. I am so sick over this I am at a loss. Thanking you in advance for your reply.

    • Lari London says:

      I’m sorry, I forgot to tell you it’s his knee cap (MLP) surgery. I am so nervous about this whole surgery experience I’m losing my mind :(

      • Dr. James St.Clair says:

        Lari you will be fine I assure you. Just make sure you go to and download the MPL home rehab booklet that we have available. This will provide you with a wealth of information on how to move forward once he gets home.

    • Dr. James St.Clair says:

      Lari, though an xray is of course a good thing to do this kind of problem is really diagnosed based on physical exam and clinical history ie. how much your dog is limping. Yes, there are those surgeons who will do both at the same time but I have to say that in this case I would agree with your surgeon in doing one at a time. It would be really hard for you dog to deal with both at the same time. I think you are in good hands. The one thing I would strongly encourage you to do is consider getting your dog started on topdog’s joint supplement GlycanAid HA ASAP. The reason I say this is that one part of this procedure is to groove out the patellar groove which involves removal of some of the cartilage. By providing the essential joint cartilage ingredients in a supplement can only help is getting this knee back to normal quickly and it would also help the other leg. Good luck and just take it one day at a time.

      • Lari says:

        Thank YOU so much for answering my email. I feel much better regarding my baby’s surgery. I dropped him off this morning and will pick him up tomorrow. I already bought topdogs GlycanAid HA (yesterday)! I’ve been giving him a store bought supplement for his joints but since finding your site I’ve switched! I hope to God all goes well and he will be better than knew once all this is over :) THANK you again for your beautiful reply- Lari

        • Dr. James St.Clair says:

          Lari you are very welcome. I am way behind on emails but I hope that all went well with surgery and now the first few days of recovery. We are here if you need us.

      • Lari says:

        Well, my little guy had MLP surgery 3 days ago on his left hind leg. Recovery is absolutely a nightmare. I love how vets expect you to give numerous meds easily. This is ONE of the most difficult things for me to do. I’m lucky if half of the dose goes down his throat. My BIGGEST concern is his recovery. Whenever I read up on MLP surgery not one person is a full-time employee and they are very fortunate to have the luxury of watching their baby 24/7 for 6 weeks. I’m not so lucky. I started my so-called 9 day vacation and all of this went down with my Teddy probably 2 days into it. I’m scared to death that he’s going to hurt himself when I have to go back 3 days. He’s never been crated (has the run of the house while I’m working). He’s got SEVERE anxiety separation even til this day. Seems like crating him for 9 hrs is a VERY LONG time. I’ve already taken 1 unpaid day so I can stay with him. I’m so scared of him not recovering 100% because I won’t be watching him like a hawk. He will only be 6 days post surgery when I have to go back to work. Other concern is his cast/bandage can’t get wet. He pees on a wee wee pad and usually walks in his puddle, since I’ve not taken my eyes off him, I immediately lift him up so he won’t step in it. I’m at a loss of what to do at this point. :( PLEASE give me any advise that might ease my mind…Sincerely, Lari

        • Dr. James St.Clair says:

          Lari, I completely understand your concerns and fear. First off if he is in a full leg bandage even if he steps in his urine on a pee pad that is not enough that it is going to cause any problems. As for him being home alone this really is a tough one…the reality is that in the first few weeks he is going to still be reserved due to the surgery so most likely he will not be trying to jump up on the couch or a bed…that said it really is around 4-8 weeks when it gets more difficult because they are FEELING better and THINK they can do more but the reality is that they are not ready. I wonder if it would be possible for you to close the bedroom door so you can eliminate the bed out of the equation and then also put objects on the couches or chairs that he likes to jump up on as to discourage him. The other option would be to restrict him to a room where he will be safe but also has more space then just a crate. I wish I could make this pain go away for you but hopefully this provides some alternatives to think about.

        • Tammy Erwin says:


          My dog just went through the same surgery 2 weeks ago yesterday. The first 3 days was torture. He was the most evil dog I have ever seen. But I guess if I had been through what he was, I would be angry as well. After we took him to have his pain patch removed, and they also removed the tape that went over the stitches he became different almost immediately. Don’t get me wrong, he had his moments but I think the tape was no longer pulling on his legs and hair, and he was just more comfortable than before. His stitches was removed yesterday and now he is in a lot of pain again. Not exactly sure why, but we have meds to give him to help him relax. We are suppose to be doing exercises now, and I barely can get near his legs without him wanting to take a bite. I am sure once the tenderness is gone, and he can walk a bit better he will be more likely to let me do some of the exercises. I just wanted to know that you are not alone. I just went through the same thing you are going through. He had both of his legs done, so it was double the fun. LOL. I hope you puppy gets better soon. Hang in there, it gets better. :o)

        • Dr. James St.Clair says:

          Tammy just a comment for you. Talk to your veterinarian about pain management. The right pain meds can go a long long way. Classically we would use an NSAID (non-steriodal anti-inflammatory and tramadol).

        • Tammy Erwin says:


          I forgot to tell ya, that we had an issue with giving our dog pain pills and antibiotic pills. I went and bought some shaved ham and wrapped ham around the pill and fed it to him. He scarfed it down. I don’t give him a lot, but enough to keep my fingers and for him to get what he doesn’t want but is getting anyway. LOL Try that if you can’t get him to take his meds.

  7. Dawn says:

    We are in week 5 of a MPL surgery on our 60lb lab mix. Is it ok to take down his pen he has been confined in and let him have the whole living room? We never leave him unsupervised. In other words, how long do they have to be either constantly leashed or confined to the small area?


    • Dr. James St.Clair says:

      Dawn I think that is fine but of course I always tell people to check with their surgeon to make sure they are on the same page. At 5 weeks you still need to be really careful but primary healing is underway and I think that allowing a “little” more room is ok at this point. As you know..just no running or jumping yet.

  8. Lynn Baughman says:

    My Chihauhau has grade 4 patellar luxation (per her veterinarian). She is unable to put weight on her leg. Up until a trip to the groomer, she was able to use that leg. I want to take her to an orthopedic surgeon in the Houston, Texas area. I just want her to have the best surgeon. My Vet recommended either North Houston Veterinary Specialist or Dr. Stuart Johnson. Would you recommend either of these surgeons or someone else?

    • Dr. James St.Clair says:

      Lynn I think you are on the right path. Unfortunately I do not have personal relationships with either facility but I am sure if they boarded you are going to get great care.

  9. Dr. James St.Clair says:

    Sandra I am not going to post your question to my website because you put your phone number there. I think it is really important that your primary veterinarian grades the patella lunation from 1-4. I have tons of dogs who have bilateral patellar luxation who never need surgery. The dogs manage and do fine. Once you know the degree or grade of lunation you can have a better idea if surgery is needed. On we have a surgeons directory for the USA where you can find the closest board certified orthopedic surgeon. Good luck.

  10. Sarah Anemone says:

    My dog is in week three of recovery after MPL surgery. He is a large breed dog weighing 72 pounds (lab mix). My question is regarding PROM exercises. Is it normal to feel some minor popping at times when performing this exercise? We are doing it as demonstrated and it does not always happen.

    Thank you for this wonderful resource!

    • Dr. James St.Clair says:

      That is really a duel edge sword. My intial response it that NO your should not feel any popping. That said it really all depends on the surgical technique they used to correct the MPL. At this point it really all comes down to how your dog is progressing after this surgery. Is he getting better or sill favoring that leg significantly. If he is still favoring that leg then I would contact the surgeon and have an evaluation. Good luck.

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