Surgery can be a scary process and just like people, your dog is going to need support and rehabilitation in the post-surgical period.
The purpose of post-surgical rehabilitation is to help your dog achieve optimal physical functioning. In an orthopedic setting, this may include re-establishing joint motion, and muscle strength around the joint, as well as improving the general strength and conditioning that has been lost while your dog’s activity has been restricted. If the surgery was for neurological compromise it may be helping your dog walk again.
Why is Rehabilitation Important After Surgery?
When a dog undergoes orthopedic surgery of the knee, back or shoulder, for example, the surgery is only the start of the recovery process. While the surgery may be performed within hours, the rehabilitation may require months of progressive activity and exercises, sometimes taking up to a year.
One of the most important parts of the rehabilitation process is a progressive increase in activities. In this context, ‘progression’ means safely increasing workloads and stimuli on the repaired tissue during the recovery process.
A second important factor is that tissues need to be stimulated, as they don’t recover by themselves. Tissue healing is a very complex process because repaired tissue needs time to mature, but also it needs stimulation.
Consequently, the goal of a comprehensive rehabilitation program is doing the right exercises at the right time, with the right balance between not enough and too much exercise. So, neither complete rest nor off-leash play is advisable for your dog through a lot of the rehabilitation process. Something in the middle is required. This balance changes during the weeks and months after surgery. What this means in practice is that the intensity of the stimulation increases progressively.
At The Dog Osteopath, we can help guide you and your dog through the rehabilitation process. This may include frequent sessions in the earlier period and a more supportive role as your dog returns to normal function. It really depends on your dog’s individual needs.
Get in contact if your dog is due to have, or recently had surgery. We can work with your Vet surgeon to design a comprehensive rehabilitation program.