The car ride to Tufts Foster’s small animal hospital this time was filled with anticipatory joy. We couldn’t wait to see Louie after his total hip replacement. After receiving his discharge instructions, Louie was brought to us. He was walking in the door wagging his tail and quietly crying. He greeted each of us with his kisses and his lean in. He couldn’t wait to go home!
It has been a week since we brought him home and almost two weeks since his surgery. My home looks like a toddler lives here. There is a baby gate at the stairs. All furniture is blocked so he can’t climb on it. We actually have moved all the couch cushions to the floor, so we can all sit with Louie on the floor as he recovers.
His recovery calls for crate rest and strict exercise restrictions. The crate is the only place where I feel he is safe at night or during the day when we leave for a few hours. Most of the day someone is here to watch him. The first week was the hardest because he just wasn’t himself. The medication and surgery took all the energy out of him.
This week he has seemed to come around and has started acting like himself. It is a struggle to keep a 14-month-old puppy from a constant state of motion. Unfortunately he is not very good at reading his discharge instructions, so we have to keep reminding him of what he should be doing.
Just in case you wanted to know what instructions are given to a dog with a total hip replacement, here are Louie’s instructions:
Louie needs to be STRICTLY exercise-restricted for 4 weeks. This means no running, jumping, getting on/off of furniture, swimming, stairs, or playing with other dogs. He will require help getting up and down stairs using a sling and leash. Louie should be sling-walked whenever he is on a slippery surface and as needed when he is first home. Use carpet runners with rubber backing on any slippery floor surfaces to keep him from sliding or splaying his legs. When he goes outside to go to the bathroom he needs to be leashed; once he is done return indoors immediately. Do not walk Louie on slippery surfaces especially where he is at risk for falling. If Louie sips in the immediate postoperative period he is at HIGH risk of potential hip luxation, which would warrant need for further surgery.
First 4 weeks: strict confinement/crate rest
Week 5: Louie may be taken on 5 minute leash walks (3 times a day)
Week 6: Louie may be taken on 10-minute leash walks if tolerated
Week 7: Louie may be taken on 15-minute leash walks if tolerated
Week 8: Louie may be taken on 20-minute leash walks if tolerated
Weeks 9-12: Louie can be leash walked 3 times a day for 20 minutes
Thank you to all the doctors and staff at the hospital. They have been so nice, helpful and knowledgeable. I would suggest going there for anyone who needs help with his or her dog. (By the way, if you were wondering about Millie, the dog from my last post who is receiving radiation…she is doing great! We saw her this week as Louie was getting a check up. Her toe nails are painted pink!)
Louie’s staples have been removed now and he seems very happy about it. He will get a final check up and x-rays at the end of October. This will assess his hip and make sure he has made a full recovery. Thank you friends for all your good wishes to Louie and his speedy recovery.