When you think about physical rehabilitation, you might equate it with something you only do after surgery or during recovery from an injury. While rehabilitation is undoubtedly a key component of any rehabilitation process that helps a patient fully recover, its benefits go far beyond that.
The goals of rehabilitation with TPLO Plate are to reduce pain, increase mobility, and return your pet to its previous level of activity. Benefits include helping older arthritis sufferers achieve higher levels of comfort and mobility, as well as preventing injury in the first place through conditioning, exercise and nutrition programs.
Using a TPLO rehab program requires a thorough examination of not only the problem area, but also other areas of the body that may compensate for the injury. This will allow for a customized rehabilitation program to bring the entire body back in comfort and ease.
In the post-surgery situation, once the surgery is done, the rehabilitation begins, in fact, we start using rehabilitation techniques like ice and compression within the first hour after surgery. We will recommend basic rehabilitation techniques for you to perform at home, starting in the first few days after surgery. We then generally recommend starting formal rehabilitation around 2 weeks after surgery. In addition to pain relievers and nutritional supplements, care may include manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, and therapeutic modalities.
Postoperative recovery goes through several stages of healing. While inflammation is normal, excess can impair healing, so it can be managed with medication and rehabilitation, which may include cryotherapy, laser therapy, electrical stimulation, and manual joint movement.
Once the pain and swelling begin to subside, usually within three days or so, it is time for the pet patient to stand up. This is the second stage. Studies have shown that early weight-bearing at an otherwise stable surgical site yields the best results, so slow and controlled leash walking, sometimes in combination with other exercises, may be helpful during this stage.
Stages 3 and 4 occur once the animal is weight bearing while walking and standing. Now is the time to strengthen muscles, build endurance and exercise proprioception or let your pet know where his body is in space. We regularly use underwater treadmills to build strength and endurance, as well as perform proprioceptive balance exercises. Finally, the final phase gradually reintroduces your pet to normal activities in a controlled environment. Activities such as chasing the ball, running and short memories ensure the animal is ready to be "let go".
For working dogs or athletes, there is an additional phase—usually lasting 6 to 12 months—to gradually return the animal to the same level of competition as before surgery.