- Canine Behaviour Consultants - West Lothian
Cupars Crutiate Surgery Blog

2016 was a bad year for our Stooge Dog Cupar,  Early in the year he was limping after a days work until rested, so we restricted his exercise .. he had a foot injury in February that took until April to heal, meaning more restricted exercise... his lovely mum, our beautiful Bootsie, passed away aged 15 in July and his limp (suspected muscle injury) didn't repair with after a change of vet and further September Cupar was booked in for Crutiate surgery. His surgeon was both brilliant and caring.
Cupar has been unable to work in full capacity all year, But he'll be back on his feet in 2017

Here's his crutiate surgery story...

Cupars Crutiate Surgery  22 Sept 2016

Cupar recently had crutiate surgery, he's doing really well.. but like any owner, you wonder if things are on track..what he should or shouldn't be doing..
You don't really know what to expect. .you know you are going to have to prevent exercise and limit movements and actions  but what's it really like?..
When your dog is going through recovery there are things that are 'normal'  and things that are a worry (call your vet... If at any time you are worried with the way your dog is behaving)

The normal things to expect..
some blood around the staples and the edges of the wound. and even some fresh bleeding.
Some swelling around the lower leg
Muscle spasms..twitching
Some fluid build-up around the knee
Massive bruising. (.very red skin)
The legs trembles and shakes
Rashes and itching ..possibly from the shave
Hot spots on the leg
Not pooping
Having a bit of trouble peeing and even ear infections
Reluctance to walk.

Some panting, whining and restlessness is normal at first but excessive panting, whining and restlessness are signs that the dog needs more pain medication or that he is in distress and there may be something wrong with the leg.
You have to know what is normal for your dog...
Cupar actually went very quiet..he's a fairly vocal dog under normal circumstances. .dogs may also pant and vocslise when they need the loo

Some dogs cannot or will not poop after their surgery... it's actually fairly normal for it to take 4 days or more.. This could have something to do with it hurting by getting in the proper position or fown to the anaesthetic and fasting before surgery, you may need to help your dog for a couple of weeks.The leg might hurt when the dog squats or lifts its leg. 

And Ear infections? ..This is most likely due to the antibiotics the dog is on. Antibiotics kill all bacteria, good and bad. Some dogs will develop a yeast infection somewhere on their body; either their feet, privates or ears. Giving the dog probiotics will help combat this, and use cooled boiled water rather than tap water to drink.

Things that you should be worried about..
A bit of blood in the pee.
Infections of any kind..a raised temperature
Swelling that doesn't go down - new swelling or pain
The dog refusing to put any weight on the leg after a few weeks

Here is Cupars story.

Cupar had stood up unaided a couple of hours after surgery and being of a 'sensitive demeanour' it was decided that he would be more comfortable at home that night..I had prepared the house with a temporary bedroom downstairs so I could be with him and arranged my work to be at home with him for at least the first week. Stair gates were put in place to prevent him from trying to go up to bed.

Cupar slept all that first night undisturbed. .In the morning i popped him out in to the garden for a pee hurt to walk..he stopped and sat then walked back inside he ate well and slept most of the day. By the evening I wanted to give him the opportunity to pee again as he hadn't asked..he walked to the garden but it hurt he'd needed to be helped to his feet. Each time he walked he would get a shooting pain either in his bottom or where the hair had been shaved and was scratching or the longer hair tickling. .he wasn't taking any notice of the wound  but was biting at the top inside of his leg or bottom. I noticed that he had a massive 'blow' of his coat - this is a stress response, even the really short hairs on is legs and feet was coming out.

Cupar wouldn't leave the living room and go ghtough to the snug last I stayed on the couch with him..he slept ok  sleeps on both sides. He woke early at 5am tried to stand but git shooting pains again.. too early to stop the pain relief. In case he needed to pee, we carried him outside  but he took a couple of steps and needed to stop.. we gave him a few minutes and then he did pee. .even standing on the bad leg to raise the other. It hurt tho and he sat and looked for help..we carried him back indoors..the wound was bleeding a little and the bruising looks painful. Any movement and he has a sudden bite at the shooting pain.
In the evening Cupar got up himself unaided. .he walked on the leash into the garden but needed to sit. .he was reluctant to walk back  he's in pain   sitting every couple of steps ..the bruising is very red and his leg is swollen, the skin is sore and has a rash..I'm applying coconut oil liberally.

Last night Cupar was restless and uncomfortable. He had a drink and ate. .all his food and drink is being carried to him to prevent him from using his keg more than necessary ..Cupar showed distress when he tried to get up today.
He went in the garden a couple if steps at a time  sitting and getting shooting pains. .but did manage to empty his bowels..he circled a lot  it hurt  he couldn't get into a comfortable position and afterwards sat for a long time not wanting to move at all. We took a long time getting back into the house...he went straight to sleep 
So far we've not really had to prevent him from doing anything unwanted.

As it turned out..this was Cupars worst day.. he had slept well..but getting up in the morning was painful..he made it slowly outside to the garden  but that was enough he sat and drooled and trembled ..I used his sling to get him back indoors  he was very distressed..I put a blanket over him and gave him his pain killers with a little breakfast. Back inside he slept.
A few times throughout the day Cupar became vocal enough for me to attempt to let him out for a pee..but his reaction is one of both fear and psin. .I gave him an extra dose of painkillers and held him.
Cupar had never been in pain before. .I've never seen him frightened either 
No toileting at all today. .however the bruising is reduced and the rash is clearing the wound is looking clean and healthy.. surprisingly Cupar hadn't tried to lick or bother the wound at all. 
We spoke to the vet in the evening of day 4..if there were no changs by lunchtime the following day he was to go in to have a check up.. it was a worrying night  had he done something while circling and squatting for a poop the day before?

Cupar slept soundly all night. .this morning he stood up and I took him out into the garden at the front of the house instead..he just sat..didn't want to walk any further..still getting shooting pains  but more of a shooting sensation now than a psin..we sat together and watched the traffic..he wasn't showing fear.. so back into the house for a breakfast and sleep I didn't call the vet, all seems to be back on track.
A whole lot happier today and focused and engaging with me today he turned a corner and actually sat up to get his food and drink..over the course of the day Cupar went out at the front twice more and finally had a much needed pee.. 

The bruising is quite slight now, the rash has gone..the wound is looking good. .less shooting sensations and Cupar is more willing to stand and walk..but only for toilet breaks. I wasn't going to use pain relief today  but having gone through the discomfort of the poop ritual again Cupar cried and sat in pain for almost 10 minutes before getting back indoors. .it hurt and he's upset, but he didn't drool or tremble ..some crying in his sleep, but generally a good day.

It's a slow process..a bit of a rollercoaster ride 
Running off leash in fields like a springer seems like a distant memory and a very long and hard to reach goal just now.

The second week saw Cupar more comfortable and up and about much more, and the need to prevent him from doing too much..there is a limp when he walks only to be expected I think. He did pull out his own staples on day 9, thankfully the wound was healing well and he didnt cause any damage...Day 10 was another 'bad day' he was hurting and sore.. the antibiotics course is finished and he's in dreadful condition - his coat had a 'stress-blow' immediately after surgery, his ears are dirty, his skin itchy his nails long from not being active, and he was low in spirits. But day 11 was a new day and he woke up playful and energetic.  He is desperate to go out for a walk..   

Asked if pain relief is necessary - yes, maybe not all the time in the first two weeks but I found with Cupar that he was needing it every day - the difficulty being, that without it he was in obvious pain and very low in spirits, and with it he felt well enough to do more than he should be doing.. but its my job to keep him both comfortable and calm.

These pictures were taken at 3 weeks after surgery, Cupar hasn't needed pain relief for a week at this point, is resting a lot, but is able to take a couple of five minute walks on the leash. The wound is healed, and the skin healthy, no bruising and his coat s growing back. The goal is to build his walks up to a half hour a couple of times a day by week 5, then have a second check up at the vets.. and all being well, post op x-rays will be taken  a further 2 weeks later.

October 25 2016
Its been a month almost 5 weeks since his op. Cupar has an appointment to see his surgeon at the end of the week for a check up. He has been going for 2 or 3 twenty minute walks a day, sometimes he limps a little afterwards so we give him pain killers as he builds up strength and muscle. Cupar is good at letting us know by being vocal, when his knee hurts after a walk. Today he walked over the fields - (on his leash still) and its obvious that the terrain is more difficult to walk on. He gets so excited to be out in the fields as much as I cant wait to have him running again and playing, I do feel a bit 'queezy' at the thought of him doing 'springer spaniel' things again.

Things still to achieve - stairs, getting off leash, running, playing, more than 20 mins exercise at a time
 & Going back to work.

November 1st - (just under 6 weeks)

Cupar had his 5 week check up last week - and all is looking and feeling well, his limp after a half hour walk is to be expected,,his 'sticky-out-leg' wen he sits is normal and will tighten up..he has the go ahead now to do the stairs and aim for 1 hour long walks by 8 weeks  - still on the lead 8 weeks he gets his final x-rays which hopefully will show that his bone has knitted into the titanium and is growing well and strong. Until then we need to build up his muscle strength and bone strength.

What a treat it was to take him back to his favourite spot today for the first time ..

Week 7
Despite ice and frosty pavements we've increased Cupars exercise to 1 hr at a time..there was one day this week when he walked to the end of the drive and sat down  he didnt want to go any further...we came strait back in  gave him pain killers and let him rest...the following morning he was up for his hours walk again.. his walks have now included hills and woodland paths,  woodland terrain at times too. 
Cupar still sits with his leg sticking out and when standing he still puts his weight on the 'good' leg.. The vet assured me that this will pass.

I'm looking forward to being able to post some pictires of Cupar running.
But for's great that he is going on longer walks already than he could manage before his surgery 

♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡

8 Weeks After his surgery..and around 5 months of being on leash..

Cupar saw his surgeon for final xrays and was given the all clear to be off leash and get on with his life...taking things gently and slowly at first  after all it is only 8 weeks since his operation.. 
I took him for his normal walk, and allowed him off for just 5 minutes ..Nothing around to run towards or play other dogs.. kept him from getting too excited.. it was great to see- he went straight to his bed when we got home for a sleep . .his leg was sore, so still early days, but a great end to this part of his life.

...or so we thought..

mid December..around 12 weeks post surgery Cupar was off leash walking about 12 feet away from me, it was cold weather, he was warmed up but we had been outside for around 20 minutes, when he let out a scream and held his leg up. he struggled back to the house, and we hoped he had just pulled a muscle.

We rested him for 2 days and gave him pain relief/anti inflammatories - but no improvement, So back to see his surgeon. Fortunately the surgeon was able to confirm that the surgery was still successful and hadn't failed, which then opened the question of what could be wrong then ..the advice was pain relief and rest yet again with a view to further x-rays and investigation if no improvement was seen. - it can be common for the meniscus to tear after crutiate surgery - meaning more surgery and pain  - I also worried for the good leg taking so much stress for such a long time - Cupar is a big Springer at 32kilos.

Back down to 5 mins exercise a day we saw very small improvements over a few weeks and then slowly had him getting out for longer  - this time working the muscles that springers use to leap and bound and jump in small bursts..a further check up at the vets gave us more indication that he has strained the lateral collateral ligaments (either side of the knee as opposed to the cruciate on the knee) probably because they had taken up the support while he was recovering.

January saw Cupar recover once more to the level he was at when the lateral collateral ligaments went. He returned to work in a small capacity and we take it slowly still.  he still limps and still bears the weight on his good leg most of the time. A check up booked for February should tell us more

February Update

Cupar had a check up, a long physical examination, and the great news is that the set-back was just a set-back and nothing more serious, the ligaments that he pulled had been taking a lot of strain while the crutiate was so weak, and with lots of rest and an adjustment to his exercise (not just on -leash walking on pavements - but including a slow start in off-leash running on fields to allow the ligaments to be worked slowly in doing what springers do best)

Cupar returns to see his surgeon in March, probably for the last time, as he is almost back to normal levels of exercise now,  he still limps after exercise - but he also still limps after rest so we feel its more of a stiffness ..if hes had a particularly busy day - and I don't allow him to run through woodland anymore, he gets a dose of loxicom.

28th March 2017  6 months on from his op. Cupar was finally signed off from the vet
He no longer limps upon getting up from sleep or in the evenings after a busy day...there is still a bias towards using the un-operated leg  but only noticeable to those who know.

Thank you for reading.
I hope that this blog gives you some peace of mind if your dog is facing crutiate surgery .

Lots of love from Cupar
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