In order to better serve you, we are providing answers to some of the most commonly asked questions in regards to the procedures we conduct regularly. If you do not find what you are looking for here, please contact your local veterinarian or email the GVS staff.

Can the surgeons give me an estimate for my pet's upcoming surgery?

Dr. Wardlaw and Dr Kimberlin cannot give out estimates because all clinics charge differently. In some cases, medical progress exams, bloodwork, or radiographs may also need to be performed in addition to the surgery itself. Please consult with your regular veterinarian for a complete itemized estimate.

How long is recovery after a soft tissue surgery?

Typically 3-4 weeks, assuming healing goes as expected.

What happens at the 8 week TPLO medical progress examination?

If your pet is completely healed, you can begin to ease them into their normal routine. If there are any signs of muscle atrophy, effusion, or if the bone is not completely healed, your pet will be prescribed physical rehabilitation and will need to ease back to function over a 2-3 week period.

My dog hasn’t had a bowel movement since surgery?

Bowel movements may be delayed after illness, anesthesia, or surgery. Several days may be needed before the gastrointestinal system returns to normal, and bowel movements are likely to be small and infrequent until your pet is eating with a normal appetite. If it has been more than 4-5 days without a bowel movement, please call your veterinarian.

What should my pet’s incision look like?

Your pet’s incision should look very similar to what it looked like when your pet came home from surgery. It is normal to have a little redness and crusting around the incision for the first few days while it heals. However, if you notice increased redness, swelling, bruising, discharge, or missing staples please call us or your veterinarian promptly.

What is the importance of cold and warm compressions?

Cold compressions will help minimize bruising and swelling, as well as increase your pet’s comfort. Warm compressions will help speed the healing of the incision by increasing blood flow as well as increase your pet’s comfort.

Does my pet need a Help ‘Em Up Harness after surgery?

It depends on each dog individually. There are two devices we like very much that can aid with movement after surgery: Help ‘Em Up Harness or the Walk-a-bout sling. Please consult with your veterinarian if your pet will need aid after surgery.

When will I know the results from my pet’s culture/biopsy?

We typically have results within a week following surgery. As soon as we receive the results, we will contact you and discuss the proper course of treatment (if applicable). If it has been more than 7 business days from surgery and you have not received results, please contact your clinic.

How long is recovery after a TPLO?

8-12 weeks, assuming healing goes as expected. The first 4 weeks include strict cage rest.

What happens at the 4 week TPLO medical progress examination?

Progress radiographs will be taken to make sure healing is progressing as expected.

  • Complications from over-activity, like effusion or tendonitis, can be diagnosed with these radiographs. If that’s the case, prolonged bed rest will be necessary
    and NSAIDs may be prescribed for your pet.
  • If healing is as expected, your pet’s activity can be increased to “house arrest”. Restrictions are as followed:
  • Confine to one level of the house without free access to the stairs.
  • Running, jumping, climbing on and off furniture, stairs, and rough-housing are still prohibited./li>
  • Time outside is limited to short, leash-controlled walks for elimination.

Why does my pet need follow up radiographs after an orthopedic surgery?

We are able to do a post-op physical to examine a range of motion and stability, however, we need radiographs to make sure the bone is healing as expected. The progress radiographs are medically necessary before increasing your pet’s activity level or adjusting the physical rehabilitation regimen.

Does my pet need to wear an e-collar after surgery?

Yes, it is important that they wear their E-Collar at all times to prevent them from licking and chewing at their incision, which can lead to infection. If the site becomes infected, additional surgery may be required.

There are various types of e-collars that are available for purchase at your local pet stores. Please be sure to consult with your veterinarian to make sure you are purchasing the correct e-collar that is suitable for your pet’s needs.

  • Many inflatable e-collars are not suitable for extremity surgeries (ie. TPLO, Lateral Suture, Medial Patellar Luxations) because many pets can still lick or chew at their legs and paws.

Can I put Neosporin on my pet’s incision?

No, Do Not put Neosporin or other over-the-counter products on your pet’s incision. Neosporin can cause a Pseudomonas infection which may cause your pet to need additional surgery. There are other options, such as Silver Sulfadiazine cream, that your veterinarian may prescribe for you if it is needed. Please call your veterinarian promptly if you think your pet’s incision looks infected.

My dog’s ankle is swollen after having a TPLO, what do I do?

It is typical for some swelling after an orthopedic procedure 2-3 days post-op. Your pet may develop swelling around the ankle in the interim. Cold and warm compressing and massaging from the toes upward will help decrease swelling.

Why do I need to confine my pet after surgery?

It is imperative that your pet is confined after surgery so they are able to heal accordingly. Excessive activity can cause post-op complications such as: increased pain, opening of the incision, tendonitis, and implant failure.

Why does my dog need to be on a joint supplement for the rest of their life?

Just like humans, animals suffer from arthritis as they age or from everyday wear and tear. Joint supplements will help ease their arthritis and aid in joint health. Please consult your regular veterinarian for joint supplement recommendations.