In Week 10, we don’t want you to lose focus just yet. We will also discuss the importance of weight management and swimming as an exercise.

Don’t Lose Focus Just Yet!

So it has been 10 weeks of exercises, leash walking, and other restrictions. Can you let your guard down yet? NO! Just because your dog seems back to normal, you still have to keep an eye on them. The last thing you want is for them to re-injure themselves. So stay focused and stay on track!

Weight Management

When I ask owners if their dog is overweight, the majority of the time the answer is “no”. However, in actuality, the dog usually is overweight. I cannot stress enough how important weight management is. Studies have been done which show that overweight dogs lived two years less than dogs who had an ideal body weight. So with that being said, maintaining your dog’s weight is something that you need to do.

Swimming as an Exercise

Swimming can be great exercise for your dog. It can help increase muscle and range of motion. First, make sure you get approval from your veterinarian. Swimming is best done in a controlled environment with supervision. Your dog should be lifted in and out of the water and held in place or allowed to swim with assistance for about 2 – 5 minutes, once or twice a week. Never allow your dog to jump in or out of the water.


Suggested Readings


  1. Jane this is a tough situation to comment on only because I don’t have the ability to feel your dog and evaluate everything so please understand my limitations. First off I think it is strange that she had not been using the leg even 4 weeks post-op. The vast majority of patients recovery very quickly with the TPLO surgery so that makes me scratch my head a bit. The fact that she did begin using the leg after REINTRODUCTION of pain medications obviously proves that her disuse was directly related to pain. That said it is great that she is progressing and improving though it seems overall very slowly. Now 3 months after surgery the bone is well healed and yet she is showing up “lame” ie. not normal after 12 minutes of exercise. This concerns me. My best advice would be, though maybe no popular, to have a revisit with the surgeon who did the surgery and see how they would explain all of this. If you do not get the answers you are looking for then a second opinion with a boarded surgeon would be my next step. As a doctor and rehab professional I am personally, even with my own patients, a fan of second opinions. There is nothing wrong with getting a new set of eyes and experiences to evaluate. Every dog (patient) and every situation is different so sometimes it helps tremendously to get that next opinion, just like you are doing here with me. If you are in new england by all means feel free to track me down. I am very hesitant to just say do more, because in this situation I don’t necessarily think that is the right advice. Hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck getting Brownie back to full activity.

    All the best, Dr. J

  2. Hi Dr. James,
    My 7yo lab-pitt mix Brownie had TPLO for a full CCL tear almost three months ago. The hospital’s rehab team was on vacation and she could not start PT until four weeks post-surgery. At that time, she was still not putting her surgery leg down at all, and had been pre-maturely taken off Tramadol by surgeons. Once she was seen by rehab doc, he put her back on Tramadol and she started using her surgery leg within a few days. Now it’s been two months of rehab, she is still on Tramadol twice a day, takes Glycan HA (for two months now). She has been taking carprofen but it upsets her stomach and I will probably discontinue for good.
    My question is: how much challenge should she be getting? She uses her surgery leg consistently on walks but still favors other at times and I will see her shift weight to good leg when she stands. I am currently taking her on three 12-min slow leash walks a day and have begun to incorporate 2 reps of 10 sit/stands per day. I am pretty fed up with rehab place as they have not increased her workout time on underwater treadmill (10-15 min per session) and she is doing the exact same program now as when she was 4 weeks post op. Basically I think they are a waste of my money, and I want to take over her rehab, but I worry about pushing her too much. She starts adducting her leg and walking a little funny after 12 min. Is she horribly behind in her recovery? She was one of the most athletic dogs I’ve ever seen before surgery, her weight is controlled. Is it possible to build up her muscle mass doing only these short walks without increasing the challenge over time? Is it normal for the rehab team to do the same exercises for two months if she is progressing well (as they assure me she is)?
    Thank you!

  3. Violeta I would totally recommend that you bring him to your veterinarian and have this checked out. Even this far out from surgery there is potential that there could be an infection and better to be proactive then reactive. Hope everything turns out fine. Dr.J

  4. Hi , Ben is now week 10 post tplo he is an 11 yr old border collie and has been doing very well. However I today noticed him licking his leg where the sutures were, they had healed nicely and the hair grown back, and when I looked I noticed a little broken area like a large pimple. I am worried about infection . There is no obvious discharge . Should I take him back to the vet? He hates the car and gets very car sick and upset hence my hesitancy . Is there still a high risk to the joint etc ?

  5. Jean, the reality is that it is a HUGE bummer that she is soon young. You need understand that at 2.5 yrs old she has her whole life ahead of her…therefore you need to be fully invested in a long term complete recovery approach which most of the time will last outwards of 6 months. Also you need to make sure that you include a really good supplement into her daily routine. If you have not already I strongly encourage you to check out GlycanAid HA from TopDog and read the reviews on Amazon.

  6. Thanks for your reply. Both surgeries were on the same leg, the left. It is now the right knee that is bothering her. She is walking okay, it seems the right leg just bothers her after she walks a while. She is only 2 1/2 and has lots of energy, so she doesn’t know she is supposed to still take it easy! Plus she wants to run around with our other dog, which she can’t do yet. Thanks again for the great web site and support.

  7. Jean at 11 weeks post-op the TPLO is all since healed As for the FHO I am not sure which leg that involved (i.e.the same leg as the TPLO or the other hind leg that now has the partial tear). Everything set aside…if she is weight bearing on both hind legs and otherwise doing well…then I would stick with the conservative approach. When it comes to partial tears, I am of course a big fan of early stabilization yet…with so much compensation going on and allowing the other surgeries to “FULL” heal, I think you have some time. Just do you best to restrict that wild girl.

  8. Hi Dr. J, my dog, a 50 lb border collie mix, had TPLO and FHO surgery in January, and it is now 11 weeks post surgery. She has been doing well up until now, taking walks, doing curb exercises, etc. She has also been on the glycanaid for the past 4-5 weeks, and she is still taking Rimadyl twice a day. She had x-rays last week and the vet said she was healing very well. A few days ago she got very excited seeing a squirrel, and even though she was on a leash, she was pulling so much that she injured her other leg. It was checked by the vet and she does have a partial tear in it. I knew she might be prone to this because she originally injured herself last summer and I was treating it conservatively, which she did respond to at the time. I know she is going to need surgery on the other knee, but my question is, how do I know what the best time to do this is? She is walking okay but has trouble when she goes to sit down. I want to make sure the knee that just had surgery is healed enough to support her when she has the other leg done. I would appreciate your opinion on this. Thanks.

  9. Matt thanks for taking the time to write in and I very much appreciate your kind words. In our busy lives I am humbly grateful when someone takes the time to say thank you, it means a lot. As for GlycanAid HA it is available in the UK through our european distributor at just in case you wanted to check it out in the future. Thanks again, glad Charlie is improving and this injury is almost totally behind him.

    All the best, Dr.J

  10. Kristen I would say that it is totally normal in some cases. Often dogs with have the knee “kicked” out a little bit more then the non-surgery leg. This is usually a temporary compensation that resolves with time and adequate rebuilding of muscle and comfort of the joint.

  11. Thank you for helping my Golden Retriever Charlie aged 7 recover from his TPLO which was done in January at Dick White Referrals near where I live in Cambridge, UK. He has had regular physio there as well as following your advice in the booklet, videos and emails which I found very helpful and reassuring especially in the early weeks when he was really struggling to get around. He had a set-back with patellar tendinitis at about 6 weeks but his surgeon prescribed rimadyl and it settled. Now Charlie is much better I keep in mind your advice on avoiding compensation injuries and measuring muscle bulk. I don’t have an account so can’t write your booklet a review but I would give it 5* if I could. Your supplement is not easy to obtain in England but I have put him on a UK product called Yumove which seems to be helping. Many thanks again.

  12. Is it normal for dog to still have a “strange” walk after surgery ccl? She’s 10 weeks after surgery seems to be doing great other then having a weird walk

  13. Thank you for the response, i missed to include that piece of information, he had TTA 11 weeks ago. i will contact my vet office to schedule a visit i feel i will feel more confident knowing how it really looks inside. :)

  14. Ines it all depends on which surgery he had. If he had the external suture stabilization of the knee then an X-ray is really not going to tell you to much. If he had the TTA or TPLO an X-ray will tell you if the bone is healing well or not. The best option is to have a orthopedic exam performed but the surgeon themselves to help tell you whether or not he is healing at a normal pace. I totally understand how difficult it is to control an excited dog but from the sound of it you are doing a great job.

  15. Dr StClair,

    Thank you for all the info you provide it is really helpful. I’m not sure how normal this is but i feel very nervous and over protective of my dog. I do not want him to reinjure himself and he is a very hyper Boxer, I am afraid to even walk him outside. I know if he sees other dogs or people he will start jumping and pulling to go greet them. Unfortunately, his training came to a stop when he got injured and will resume as soon as he is able. He is at 11 weeks, I truly have only take him outside once for a walk and it went well for a while until someone walk by and he went all crazy. Now im afraid to take him out, he doesnt limp at all i have never seen him lifting his leg in order to avoid weight on it. But maybe im not exercising him enough to be able to really tell how well healed he is. Im not even ready to remove his leash inside the house, thinking he will bolt to the door or window at someone knocking or passing by to close. Is the only way to know an Xray?.

  16. Gillian, Of course it is impossible for me to give you specific advice about your dog due to the fact that I can’t evaluate him but what I can tell you is that, the fact that you say he is 80-85% sound is great. I always try to get pet owners to keep in the back of their mind that FULL recovery most of the time takes a full 6 months. From the sound of it he just needs more time and focus exercise and rehabilitation. You need to just continue to slowly challenge him and continue to strengthen that leg. In addition, if you have not already started him on a really good joint supplement that supports optimal joint health then I would add this into the mix. If you are still very concerned with how he is doing at this point I would make and appointment with the surgeon for an orthopedic consultation and see what they have to say about he current condition. Hope you are both well. Dr.J

  17. My dog will be 10 weeks Monday 10th November following TPLO op. Should he be completly sound at this stage. He uses the leg well at a walk and I would say he is 80-85% sound if he breaks into a trot he goes down to 40-50% sound, very hobbly infact. I realise everyone/dog heals at differnt rates and stages, however he seeems to have been at this stage now for the few weeks. I just wanted to make sure we are heading in the right direction? Many thanks for your informative site etc kindest regards Gillian

  18. Kristian, with set-backs such as this I always recommend my clients to give an anti-inflammatory and STRICT rest for a 3-5 day period of time. If the dog is not back to where they were then I would contact your general practitioner and schedule a consult. At 9 weeks post-op you should really be in a good place in terms of healing and callus formation. As always I would just make sure you are utilizing a daily good joint supplement that incorporates natural anti-inflammatories moving forward if you have not already.

  19. Hi,
    My staffy is 9 weeks post TPLO- yesterday we were riding in the car she was standing up in the back and started to moan in extreme pain and lifting her operated leg. There was no trauma to the leg , no sudden stop etc. quite soon after she was fine again and weight bearing . Now happy to walk but lifts it slightly. My surgeon is away for 2 weeks so can’t get it xrayed. Was wondering what you would recommend? Very worried that the surgery has failed in some way?

    Many thanks

  20. Paul the unfortunate answer to your question about barreling up and down stairs is simply a leash…you need to keep a leash on him at all times. Or your need to block the stairs with a baby gate and then put a leash on him before he ascends or descends.

  21. Hi,

    Our dog Paul had TPLO surgery back in January. He is now walking just fine after having a few setbacks. We have been doing puppy squats and figure 8s until just today. Is it safe to stop now? We are way past the 12 weeks from the guide. Our main challenge now is finding ways to practice stairs. Paul has always had a hard time with them and is not climbing them one at a time. He goes barrelling up and down the stairs, front and back legs going at the same time. Do you have any tips to help us go through this?

    Thank you

  22. Barbara, I have a video on about measuring the hind leg muscle. I think you should do this. If the surgery leg is still smaller than the “good leg” then I would continue on with rehab exercises on leash until the muscle are the same size. This under normal circumstances takes a good 6 months. I also have videos on transition work where you take him from a jog to a run but still on leash. From the sound of it you are doing amazingly well and I would just encourage you to continue your good work. The last thing we want is for him to injury the other hind leg, especially with the jumping on the bed. This is a full engagement, hyperextension movement in order to get enough force to launch the body into the air to get on the bed so I would just be careful.

  23. Hello Dr. St. Clair.
    My 5 year old Shorthair is now 6 months post TPLO and 3 months after the added LCL stabilization. I have followed your protocol twice now since he had the second surgery. He is taking Glycanaid HA. He is doing great.
    This week I let him off lead in our backyard where he trots around. No full running yet. (Mostly because I am afraid.) I am amazed at the increase in muscle mass by letting him use his body the way he would normally. I continue hills, curbs, sits. No limping. No meds in weeks.
    My question is when can he run, jump up on bed or fetch, hunt? I am concerned about jumping on bed due to that initial push off and fetching would be even more force. He does still sometimes put more weight on good leg. After all this time and effort into his rehab I don’t want to let him do something harmful. (Orthopedist said 6 weeks ago that he could return to normal activity slowly.) I just this week let him off lead.
    Thank you for your time and rehab protocol. Could not have done it without this support.

  24. Harry there is nothing more frustrating than the finicky dog. My only advice would be to find a few baseline additives that Max likes and rotating adding those into his food. I always “prepare/doctor” up my dogs food just to keep in fun and interesting, plus I enjoy the process. My standards are olive oil, greek yogurt, coconut oil. Sometime I will even add a little peanut butter or left over dinner meats or vegetables from my kids. I feel your pain though.

  25. Hi Dr James, my yellow lab,Max, who is turning 1 year today is doing great,he is on glicanaid HA,exercises 3 times a day,walk and run very well without limping but he doesn’t want to eat the food,he is so picky.He is on Blue Buffalo since he was 3 months(we tried everything: Life Protection Formula,Basic and Wilderness)right now he is on BF Wilderness Healthy Weight,he eats for 3 days and then refused the bowl,we tried everything, sometimes we mix the dry food with wet,he start eating for 3 days and after that he rejected again.
    He goes crazy when he sees that we eat,or we open the fridge.
    Any advice or help could be really appreciate it.

  26. Dave great question….If your dog had cruciate knee surgery then I would say the swimming is the least valuable of your potent ion therapy. If your dog had hip surgery then I would be pushing it more. If you think about the way a dog swims…they are all about the doggie paddle. It is an awesome front leg exercise but for the knees it is nothing more than a Range of Motion exercise. At the end of the day the underwater treadmill is the best..hands down.

  27. Dr. J;
    My wirehair is now in week 11 and so far she seems to be doing fine. I’ve followed your guide and an using a professional therapist. Your week ten instructions talk about swimming, but so far, she has only been doing the underwater treadmill with the therapist. Since I do not have access to an controlled pool, I was wondering at what point in her recovery you feel it would be okay for her to begin doing some open water swimming (lake and pond type stuff). Thanks, Dave

  28. Donna I wonder if originally she only had a partial tear and that injury led to a fell tear. Of course i recommend having her checked out by your veterinarian to confirm that. If she is not a surgical candidate then i would stick with Rimadyl (at the required dose) twice a day and also add in tramadol 3 times a day if possible. You can discuss this with your veterinarian. I would you suggested go right back to the beginning of the booklet instructions. Again it is best to discuss this plan with your doctor. Good luck helping this poor girl.

  29. Hi Dr. J. Kita was into her 11th week of following your program and doing great when she fell into a hole in the snow and wrenched her leg. She let out a cry and could only walk on 3 legs. I quickly gave her 1/2 tab of Rimadyl and gently massaged her leg. That was a week ago and she is still pretty sore. I have her on 1 tab of Rimadyl daily, plus supplements of Omega 3 and Glucosamine, Chondritin & MSM. She did not have surgery on the original injury due to health issues but surprised us when she recovered so well. Do you think there is a chance she will recover again? Should I start at the beginning of the program?


  30. Barbara I think the rehab therapist is key. So listen…the lateral sutures that were placed I assume need to form scar tissue around them in order to essentially provide a natural stabilization laterally on the knee. This takes time ie. 4-8 weeks. Personally I would be very conservative always on leash and resting with controlled exercises and the organized therapy. You are invested so far…you need to ensure the success of this surgery and in my mind I would be very conservative to give Aspen the best chance for long term success.

  31. Hello Dr. J,
    Thanks for the feedback. So, I trust my surgeon, as does my regular vet. The surgeon is well respected and has done thousands of cruciate procedures.
    My Aspen, a 5 yr old Shorthair, had to have 2 lateral sutures put in today.
    Rehab questions: We were at 13 post TPLO, doing very well. Now he had the sutures put in. Are we back to square one?
    I know he will need rest, icing, etc., but the cruciate is healed (I know we have 3 more months). I will go slowly. How careful do I need to be about the sutures stretching or snapping? I downloaded your cruciate repair booklet, the extracapsular stabilization. I can get to a good rehab therapist, on your list and also well respected.
    (I know this is now a complicated case. I am pretty worried about messing up this new repair and about the knee in general now.)


  32. Lita I would definitely recommend starting with the Glycanaid HA for the first 1-2 months. If he is doing well then you can move over to the maintenance or just continue on with the GlycanAid HA, either would be fine.

  33. Lita, I wish that I had some kind of golden glove to help you out with this. It sounds like he is a great dog and you are a great friend to him. Honestly from the sounds of it you are doing the best that you can do and you just have to continue reinforcing your training and it is only a matter of time that he will be free again and able to burn off some of that extra energy. Just for the record my dogs are only moderately trained. We have a very hectic life with 4 kids and 3 dogs you can imagine so I totally understand and myself constantly am just trying to reinforce good behavior. Exercise is definitely one key to a good dog behavior so I think the sun will shine again for you soon. All the best, Dr.J

  34. Barbara this is of course a tough one and something I really can’t guide you on with exact confidence. I think that you have to follow the advice of the surgeon and trust them based on their experience. That being said if you have reservations on the advice then it never hurts to get a second opinion. Lastly if you have not already seen a professional canine rehab expert then I would strongly advice you to get their expert opinion. There may be alternative options with physical therapy and even possible use of cold laser. I would explore you options and continue to be conservative with therapy in the meantime. All the best, Dr.J

  35. Hello Dr. J. –
    My dog, a Shiloh Shepherd, will be 2 years old next week. He had his first TPLO May 2013, and his second Dec 2013. Which GlycanAid would you recommend? I will be joining your shipping program – sounds like a great idea. Many thanks for excellent info and support.

  36. Hi Dr. J. –
    Please I need your advice here.
    I have been following your excellent instructions about TPLO recovery, and it is proving to be extremely beneficial.
    However, this ‘question’ is not about TPLO but more about training. I see you have 3 dogs – I have one – weighing 100 +-. He went through 2 tplos in the space of 7 months. You can imagine how restricted he has been. He also had to have surgery as he was cryptorchid – that meant more time on leash and restrictions. He is 2 years old next week – during these 24 months, he has spent more than 1/2 of his life on short leash, slow walks, short play time, etc. He has a golden temperament – no aggression whatsoever, playful and very clever. Because of all this surgery, his training has been on hold a few times – i.e. I cannot train him to come to me from a distance (he can’t run) or to practice his recall, etc. As he MUST walk for therapy, After each surgery, I found I had to use a prong collar in order to restrain him. He has pent up energy and he wants to chase anything that moves now., – he also pulls which is something he had stopped doing. He was not like this before as he could run freely (we walked by ourselves in the woods or beach and he was always off leash; we always played before our walks also so he would walk nicely if a leash had to be used. As a young pup, we went to trainers for his pulling. After 4 months, he was still pulling so I decided to use the prong which worked. I have since spoken with a few trainers – some say I will destroy our friendship by using a prong – others say they always use a prong and relationship has never been affected; if anything it has been reinforced and the reason that a relationship may be destroyed is misuse of the collar. My concern is our safety – he’s stronger than I am and if he lunges at a passing car, well…… I tried the harness (which he dislikes)but that makes him pull ever more. When he sees the prong he gets excited because he knows we’re going out. I seldom have to use ‘it’ but I know that if the need arises, I will be able to hold him back. He walks well on it and he knows he cannot lunge after a car. When he saw the easy-walk/harness, he would slink away. I love my dog more that I can express – he trusts me now and I don’t want this to change. I also wish to keep him as well as myself safe. What do you think? I need your opinion. Thanks

    p.s. we still have another 4 weeks to go before we can ‘play’. Thank God, so far he is doing well. Thank you Dr. J. for all the info.

  37. Hello Dr. St.Claire,
    I just had a question you answered but need to ask another. When I originally had my dog diagnosed with a ruptured CCL, the surgeon said he’d go in to do the TPLO, but when in would check for enough stability,and if not would have to add suture repair. Well, all was well, but 12 weeks later there is instability on lateral side. Surgeon is recommending to add the suture, on the side, not fully like cruciate repair. Do you have any thoughts on this? Is there a rehab booklet I can use? The TPLO is fully healed in terms of bone.
    I know you cannot diagnose in an email. Just wondering if there are other options.
    I think my poor guy did a fair amount of damage!
    No current limp, muscle mass improving but still just not stable on outside.
    Thank you,

  38. Barbara, You are on the right tract. You have to think of yourself moving forward as a personal trainer. You already know what he can do safely and what he is truly capable of…you just have to slowly increase the duration and intensity of those exercises. As for the stairs it is all about the short leash and control. If you have him on a short leash and you are walking up the stairs with him he should not be able to jump two stairs at a time. Know that I totally understand the anxiety and stress you are experiencing trying to simply do the best you can for him….but you are on the right tract and just keep 6 months for full recovery in the back of your mind. Six months seems like such a long time but it is a blip in terms of a life-time. All the best. Dr.J

  39. Hello Dr. St.Claire,

    I know you have taken out Weeks 11 and 12 to work on them. Any instructions as to what to continue, increase, etc?
    I have a 5 year German Shorthair I have written about before. I am going slowly because he had LCL tear as well. Surgeon is not overly concerned. His instructions to me: Build muscle mass. So I am continuing hills,increasing distance, stairs under control, some trotting, figure eights, 3 legged stands. Anything else to help LCL? He is taking GlycanAid HA and Duralactin.
    Also, he is tall and never walked up stairs one at a time. I am having a heck of a time with stairs. He wants to go two at a time.

    Thank you again for the support of these weekly emails and videos. They have been so reassuring.


  40. JW my answer would be yes and yes. I think before you start worrying to much you need to allow him to build muscle. I always amazes me how fast the dogs loose muscle before the surgery when they are not useing the leg….But just how long it takes to rebuild the muscle after the surgery. I always tell me it takes a full 6 months. If the hips were fine I am sure they are still fine. Good luck and stay positive.

  41. My “big” beagle is 5 weeks post tplo on his right hind leg. Every once in a while, while helping him up or down, it feels like his hip slides a little.
    He had an xray just before surgery showing that his hip was fine. I’m not sure what is going on and it is another 3 wks before he goes for radiographs on his leg.
    Could this small shift I feel in his hip area be because he has lost SO MUCH muscle mass before we got him to a vet AND will improving his muscle mass tighten his hip up?
    Thank you and your staff so much.

  42. Darla I totally apologize. I took these emails out as I continue to improve on them. They should be available very shortly and I will send them along as soon as I get them finished. I always say I have 4 kids, 3 dogs, 3 businesses and 1 wife so I am doing the best I can to keep ahead. Just so you know the focus of week 11 and 12 is really about mindset. At I created and made a video of the recovery checklist. The focus of this was to get people to understand that FULL recovery takes a full 6 months and I need pet owners like yourself to learn how to properly evaluate their dog over time and learn truly when their dog is READY to be released and off leash again. My goal has always been prevention of additional injury to the other hind leg and the only way that can happen is to protect your dog until you know for sure that they are 100% and using the best joint health supplements available to unsure optimal internal joint health which as you know we have created the best at topdog with our supplement called GlycanAid HA.

  43. I am missing week 11 and now 12 of your rehab instructions. I look forward to reading what new exercises are on tap to challenge my dog during her recovery. While we have a challenge keeping her from making snow angels and wanting to walk through snow drifts I still want to keep her safe. If you could please send Rehab weeks 11 and 12 Blue and I would really appreciate it.
    Thank you for your awesome website and program.

  44. Christina this is a tough questions but the true answer is when she is ready to do that stairs. If she is using the leg 100% while on a slow controlled leash walk then you are close. That said I would make sure that you have her on a leash when going up or down so that you can safely control her speeds which is critical. If you take the stairs slowly they can be a safe exercise to perform.

  45. Your emails are a great help. What week can Baby start going up and down the stairs. We have about 15 stairs from the main floor to the bedrooms and I’m carrying her up and down and she really doesn’t like it. Thank you.

  46. Terri for some reason a lot of dogs do this and i always tell people……it to will pass. From what your describing in terms of how well she is doing you should be totally proud and excited. Keep up the great work. Zoe is one lucky dog to have you as a mom.

    All the best, Dr.J

  47. Yes Jeanne several times and almost all of them were within the first 12 weeks of recovery and all were related to the owner somehow either losing control of the dog while on leash (i.e. the importance of short controlled leash walks) or them not having the dog on leash and they dog ran ( which is just crazy). The key to long term success with that surgery is giving the body enough time to lay down scar tissue around the suture. This provides the real strength in the end.

  48. Dr. James – Zoe (8 year old, 47 lb boxer) had her lateral suture repair 12 wks ago. We did wait 6 wks post-injury before doing the surgery. She’s on GlycanAid HA and Flexerna, although I waited about 3 wks post-surgery before administering these supplements. She uses her leg with no discernible limp when we’re out walking (stair, curb, hill, etc). She trots while we walk, and I’m letting her slow run on leash for short distances. The thigh muscle on her repaired leg is coming back, however, when in the house she’s not putting full weight on the leg. She varies from toe-touching to putting some weight. Shouldn’t she be full-weight by now? Or is this still an ongoing process. I do understand that full recovery takes 6 months but I’m a bit concerned about this. I’m hoping that not putting full weight while in the house is just something that she got used to and it’s not an issue. She has a vet appointment in about 3 weeks.

  49. My dog had she surgery aug 22 so shes coming up on 16 weeks can you send me link on 14 weeks restrictions. thanks

  50. Of course it is almost impossible for me answer specifically. I think that it is great you are going to a certified rehab practitioner this will make a big difference. Also in terms of overall joint health if you are not already using topdog’s joint health supplement GlycanAid HA I would strongly encourage you to do so. This product is packed with only the best ingredient that the USA has to offer. If you have not already read some of the over 230 independant 5 star reviews on Just search for GlycanAid HA. Good luck.

  51. Evelyn, To start I don’t have any specific information with regards to this localized virus and would suggest you use your personal veterinarian as a expert resource on this topic. As for the sudden lameness, I will tell you that this is totally common throughout the recovery process to have setback such as this. Whether he slept on the surgery leg wrong or overactivity prior to nap this does happen. My suggestion is always to rest and give NSAIDS. If he does not return back to normal level or weight bearing after 3 days then I would definitely call your veterinarian. As for the foods if your dog does not have any specific dietary restriction then you want to find a food that is focused on quality proteins with whole food ingredients. The same goes for your diet. There is no doubt that like you said that over treating your dog with the wrong process treats is a bad thing so I recommend finding again whole food protein focus treats that are not over processed. TopDog has a new treat what meets this requirements that will be release within the next month or do. Pure chicken cold extrusion.

    Keep up the great work and not doubt focus on getting Docks weight into the ideal range. This alone will go a long way in his orthopedic and long term health.

    All the best, Dr.J

  52. hi DR. J,
    I meant to add in my previous post that Dock still has a hitch in his step as prior to surgery, His right hip and pelvic area seem to bother him when when I do a massage even with a light touch. He would rather lie down than stand for any length of time. I’m wondering and am fairly convinced in my own mind that there may be some spine –lumbar sacrum issue. I w8ill be taking him to a certified rehabilitation therapist that I’ve discovered in my area not too great a distant away. I believe I may ask about xrays for his back.Or do I need to give TPLO recovery a bit more time and rehab before proceeding to xrays. Probably hard to answer because you cannot examine him

  53. Hi Dr. Jim,
    Have been following your guide to the best of my ability. Had a bad scare the other day. When Dock got up from a morning nap ,he took 3 really lame steps only touching his toe down then he just walked away the same as always. Why? Your thoughts. Weight management is really important but difficult. We dog owners tend to “kill our pets with kindness” buying and giving special treats. With the help of my vet we’ve managed to get Dock to the place where you can feel his ribs but not see them. But that brings up the issue of what is the right kind of food for dogs? I can agree with wholesome healthy people food baring those toxic to dogs keeping in mind weight management and balanced nutrition. What about dry food grain free or not. I struggle with this one especially when I don’t like the ingredients in the food sold by the vet clinic. Off topic Do you have any info on the new virus that surfaced in Cincinnati CIRCOVIRUS that is extremely lethal to dogs?

  54. thanks for the response dr j- i know its an odd question and it certainly makes sense. It does sound like it likely needed more than just the deepening of the groove. Also we are seeing an orthopedic specialist this time who has a very thorough rehabilitation plan as well including using underwater treadmills etc so all hope is we will get her on the right path if indeed corrective surgery is needed. thanks again for commenting :). I will say that glycanaid clearly showed to be great for daisy – it was indeed other issues at hand. We certainly are sticking with it for the long haul.

  55. Jay, you have to forgive me but I am assuming that Daisy had medial patellar luxation surgery. If she is not right then I think getting a second opinion is a great idea. This is purely a structural thing…if they patella is not sitting comfortably in the patellar groove and is sliding in and out still then not matter how much GLycanAId or K-laser you do…it is never going to solve the problem. The ideal surgical procedure for most of these is a tibial tuberocity transposition. Make sure that your second opinion is with a board certified surgeon and not a general practitioner….In no way do I want to infer that your doctor did anything wrong it just might have been that the knee was worse conformational wise than he/she had thought. I have seen this many many times and all will be well in the end…

  56. Dr j- I have a couple questions- we are headed next week to get a second opinion on Daisy- although we followed the rehab to a T and gave glycanaid it is pretty clear something is still off. For example, everytime after she lays down and gets up she is clearly taking a couple minutes to put weight on it besides toe touching. Also she still has a funny hitch in her stride as she is getting it limber so to speak Its also clear she doesnt trust it much and will not use it much to do sit and stands or from laying down to getting up. I do not see much growth in the muscle. Also when doing range of motions the muscle behind the leg quivers and the leg just does not seem strong. We have also been doing two 25 mg rimadyl a day and two k laser treatments a week. Does this sound like a complication ( tendon, reluxation, mcl) etc to you or more like a need for more extensive rehab? also i am wondering if maybe since our vet did not do the tibial crest alignment , the deepening of the groove wasnt enough? We are preparing for the worst meaning another surgery or potential permanent disabilities … but also just frustrated and feeling awful for daisy. i was just curious on your thoughts while we wait for the 2nd opinion next week.

    kindly- the hills

  57. You are very welcome Ann Marie and I appreciate you taking the time to connect with us. I wish you the best with Phoebe’s recovery and look forward to another post that she is doing great and enjoying life comfortably. Dr.J

  58. Hi Dr. J,
    Just wanted you to know that I have recently received a survey about your awesome rehab support site. I will be delaying my response due to the fact that my Phoebe has had 2 TTAs done (6 weeks apart). She is now out 13 & 7 weeks respectively and doing great! She still fatigues, but it is expected. Her muscle mass in increasing appropriately for her time out from surgeries. But she is a trooper! a wonderful & willing rehab patient, loves her new treat-related milestons, and thanks you from the botton of her bilateral hardware for all you have done for her to date in her recovery process. I will fill out your survey once she hits her 12 week mark on her second surgery.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, experience, skill, time and comittment with the canine orthopedic patient community with a goal of improved patient outcome and quality of life.
    Gratefully, Phoebe & Ann Marie

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