It can seem very daunting when faced with a 12-week recovery period after your dog’s TPLO procedure. However, to give your dog the best chance to be able to enjoy full use of his operated limb again, and go back to running around with his friends, you will need to make sure that you manage his recovery. If you have doubts or worries, especially if you have a high-energy dog, please talk to our team here at Northwest Referrals.

What to Expect After Your Dog’s TPLO Surgery?

Immediately after your dog’s surgery, he will be expertly looked after by our post-operative team. As soon as they feel that he/she is ready, you will be able to take them home. Bear in mind that many dogs, just like humans, will be sleepy and subdued after anaesthetic, so don’t worry if your pet seems subdued when you collect him. Dogs, again like humans, often perk up once they get home, and become happier in their familiar surroundings.

Timeline of TPLO Surgery Recovery

The recovery process evolves, and it is important that you follow the advice and the TPLO recovery timeline, so that your dog has the optimum chance of a full and successful recovery from his TPLO surgery.

First 14 Days

The first 14 days are crucial. At this point, the surgery site is still very vulnerable, and your dog must not run or jump around. Make sure he has a safe and comfy place to hang out, playpens or crates are good to keep him quiet and still. If you have other dogs, do not let them play with him. Regular toilet breaks must be carried out on a short lead. Ensure that the skin incision is clean and healing, do not let your dog lick the wound. The best way to ensure this is to keep the buster collar on at all times. If the site becomes inflamed or hot, contact us immediately. After 14 days, your dog should have recovered from the effects of the anaesthetic and the wound should be healing nicely. In case the skin sutures are external, they usually need removal at this point.If your dog seems to be in pain, speak to us. Your dog will be discharged with painkillers, but pain levels do vary.

14 Days to Eight Weeks

After the initial 14 days of rest, short lead walks can commence. Remember, less is best. Two to four, 5-10 minute walks are a good starting point. You need to build the strength in your dog’s limb and follow the recovery plan as laid out by your vet. We would aim for your dog to be having two or more 20-30 minute walks a day by the end of the first eight weeks, but remember we need to build up to this throughout the recovery period. Always contact us if you have any concerns about your dog’s recovery. Please remember that until 12 weeks have passed all exercise is strictly lead-only.

Two to Six Months

After we have taken radiographs of your dog’s leg to ensure that the TPLO surgery has healed correctly, you can then continue the rehabilitation process. Keep building your dog’s strength gradually. Many people use a physiotherapist during this phase of recovery, and other exercises such as hydrotherapy can be extremely beneficial.

Home Rehab Guide and Its Importance

Whilst the surgery has the ability to fix your dog’s lameness, the true recovery lies in the care and rehabilitation that you give your dog. If your dog is allowed to jump or run around during the recovery, more damage can occur, which can require more extensive and complex surgery to fix. The better that you can manage your dog’s recovery, the better the long-term outcome will be.

How to Help Your Dog While He is Recovering From Tplo Surgery

You may wonder what to do with your dog if you can’t walk them, but don’t despair, there are lots of ways to keep your dog entertained and happy during this time. Try to be around at home, your dog will be more likely to be settled with you there. Spend lots of time having cuddles! Some dogs love watching TV or going for a drive. You could teach him a new trick, or get some puzzle games for him, such as snuffle mats. Spend time grooming him. Dogs like our attention and time, so make sure you spend plenty of time with him during his recovery period.

Common Questions After the TPLO Surgery

1. How long after TPLO surgery can I walk my dog?

You will be able to walk your dog on the lead for around 5 minutes the day after the procedure. This should only be for toileting purposes.. It will take a few months for him or herto return to his pre-op levels of fitness.

2. How long does it take to recover from TPLO plate removal?

Not all dogs will need to have their plate removed, so always discuss this with your vet. Recovery from the TPLO plate removal surgery is quicker than the recovery from the initial TPLO surgery.

3. How long is a dog in pain after TPLO?

Bone surgery is painful, so your dog should have painkillers after the surgery. The pain will start to reduce after a few days but watch out for signs of pain in your dog, and contact us if you have any concerns.

4. How long will my dog’s leg be swollen after TPLO surgery?

The swelling should start to go down after a few days. If the leg suddenly swells, please contact us immediately.

5. How do you reduce swelling after TPLO?

You can use ice packs, or heat packs to help reduce the inflammation. Make sure they are not too hot or cold, and test them on your own skin, to ensure that they are a comfortable temperature.

6. Can a dog be left alone after TPLO surgery?

The most important thing is for your dog to be kept happy and settled after their TPLO surgery. If they are happy when left alone, then it will be fine for short periods, but if they get upset when you leave, then it is better to keep them company.

7. How do I know if my dog has ruined TPLO surgery?

If they suddenly go lame again, having been recovering steadily, then they may have damaged his plating.

8. Is bruising after TPLO surgery normal?

Some bruising is normal after TPLO surgery, it should settle down after a few days.

9. What is the best therapy for dogs after TPLO surgery?

Hydrotherapy is a brilliant therapy to use during rehabilitation, just make sure that your dog is healed sufficiently and discuss it with your vet, before you start hydrotherapy.


Here at Northwest Referrals, we have an extremely experienced surgical team, who will carry out your dog’s TPLO surgery. Whether you come directly to us, or are referred by your own vets, we will always ensure that your dog receives first-class care, both during their operation and in the recovery period after the surgery. To learn more about TPLO surgery, please visit our orthopaedic surgery page.


Read related article: