So Loki, my male Siberian Husky, has undergone two surgeries, one for each knee in his hind legs. Each surgery was for a ruptured cranial crucial ligament (CCL), basically the canine version of a human's ACL. He received the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) procedure first for his left knee and, approximately three months later, for his right knee.
Apparently it's not uncommon for sporting dogs to suffer a torn CCL and when one tears it's likely the other will too. The procedure involves removing the ligament from the knee joint, sawing the tibia below the knuckle, rotating the bone, and inserting a plate to hold it together while it heals. It's no small task and not a decision to be taken lightly.
Loki walked out of the animal clinic on his newly repaired left leg the day after surgery. Sure we had two weeks of wearing the dreaded cone of shame and two months of therapy to endure, but it is rather amazing that he was able to use his leg so soon. It's important that the dog wear the Elizabethan collar for the first two weeks because licking the area of the incision will almost certainly increase the risk of infection.
Some people recommend finding puzzles and other things to help stimulate your pup's mind during recovery. I think it might be a husky thing, but Loki has no interest in those types of games. He really just wants to go on car rides, hikes, and play with Juno, our female pack member.
We started out with short five minutes walks a couple of times a day and increased the walks by five minutes every five days. During his walks I began to notice a clicking sound, although I wasn't sure exactly where the sound was coming from, as my first assumption was that it may be a complication of the surgery. However when he returned to the vet to have his sutures removed they determined that his right leg and that it would need the same surgery. Over the next few weeks Loki began to indicate some lameness in his right leg. And so we scheduled an appointment for another TPLO procedure for his right leg - sigh.
When I picked Loki up from his second surgery he was much calmer than the first time, as if he knew the routine, but this time he was not using his leg. The assistant said that he had been using it before they released him, but he had no interest in using for at least the first week. It's recommend to gently push down on the dog's back above his legs to encourage him to use it, however this had no effect on Loki after his second surgery. I called the clinic after the first week to express my concern. They said to keep working with him and if he wasn't using by the time he was due to have his sutures removed they would evaluate hime to see if there might be a complication.
So after one and a half weeks he started to touch his toe to the ground. At this point I felt encouraged that he would start using it when he was ready. About three days before his two week followup he started to use leg. And so Loki is now on the road to recovery from his second TPLO procedure and hopefully in a few months he will be ready for hikes just in time for Fall.