Dog Knee Stretches After CCL Surgery – Ask Doctor Jo

Dog Knee Stretches After CCL Surgery – Ask Doctor Jo


Hey everybody, it’s Doctor Jo. I’ve got Molly
and Bailey with me today, and their going to help me show you guys some dog rehab therapy.
I know you guys love your dogs as much as I love them, and they need therapy sometimes
too after injuries or even surgeries. So first I’m gonna show you on Molly just an injury
that’s very common for dogs, and that’s an injury in their knee that’s just like in humans.
A lot of times we hear that someone might have torn their ACL. That is a ligament in
their knee that prevents the knee from sliding back and forth. It is the same in dogs, except
it is called their CCL which is their cranial cruciate ligament. It is very similar in the
fact that if they have torn it if they are athletic dogs, the vet will test it just like
humans test in the knee, which is called a Lachman’s test. So you are just pushing forward
to see if there is a shift. Luckily for Molly hers is nice and solid. Once they end up having
their surgery, most of the time they can actually start their therapy right away. It will depend
on the vet and what kind of surgery they do. Very rarely they will get casted and will
have to be in a cast for awhile. Now Molly’s doing a nice stretch so you can see how long
her leg gets. If you are working on their leg, you probably want to massage it a little
bit first. Just making sure that the muscles get nice and loose. There not able to run
around and loosen it up for themselves, so you can give them a nice doggie massage, and
get a lot of extra hair, and just push it off to the ground. Once you massage it a little
bit, get it nice and loose for them, you wanna start giving them some motion in their legs,
and you wanna start at the end we call it the distal end. Their legs are just like ours
where this is their ankle here. This is their knee, and this is their hip. You want to start
off at the ankle, and just get some movement. Kind of pushing it back and forth, just like
you would do the range of motion on yourself. So pushing into plantarflexion, dorsiflexion,
and back. Do that about 10 times, and they can bend their leg, it doesn’t have to be
straight out like this, but just nice and gentle. If they cry a little bit, then that’s
probably too much, and you don’t want to hurt them. You just want to keep that movement
in there. So then the next is going to their knee, so most of the time this is where the
surgery was done. So you want to be very gentle with it, but you can be gentle, but firm.
Holding it here to help stabilize it, holding it here, and just bend and then coming back.
Bending and coming back. So 10 times with that..yeah she’s doing fine with it, and coming
back. Now after surgery, it’s going to be a lot harder than this, but again, you can
be firm, but if they cry out a little bit then you are probably pushing too hard. Again,
ask your vet because they can tell you how much you can push for them. They also might
have a scar, so you will want to do a scar massage once it heals completely. Take the
skin like I’m doing, and move it back and forth. That will help lay the scar tissue
down. You can do about 2-3 minutes of that every day for them. You like that part?! Yes!
Alright, and then you can move up to their hip joint up here. Most of the time, it’s
easiest to actually kind of swing the leg front to back. So this would be like a hip
flexion for people and hip extension. Usually when you go back, see how their leg straightens
out, that’s fine, that’s what you want to do. But again, you want to stabilize it here
so your not moving their whole body all over the place. Going front to back. 10 times each
for those. And then finally you can do some circles. You are moving it sideways up and
down. It will help keep that hip moving for them, so just kind of up and down, and around
a little bit. So probably 2 times a day for them. And she is done and ready to go! So
the next exercise I’m gonna demonstrate on Bailey. If you wanna get more weight through
their leg, the best way to do it is actually pick up their front paws because after surgery,
they don’t actually know what to do with that leg. They don’t know that they have to put
weight on it to get it stronger because it just hurts and we can’t explain it to them.
So if your dog is is not super heavy, grab their front paws, and just bring them up,
and if they are NOT like Bailey they will actually stand on their feet, but I’m gonna
try one more time and see if I can get her to stand up. Alright, so stand them up, and
grab their front feet, and THAT’S how you do it. And you gotta give her some kisses
to make her happy. So just looking at puppy tummies because their cute. Try to hold them
up for about 30 seconds to a minute, and then have them come back down. So there you have
it, that is your dog therapy with Bailey and Molly. I’m so glad they decided to help me
out on this one. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section. If you
would like to check out some other human videos, go to askdoctorjo.com. Remember be safe, have
fun, and I hope you feel better soon!

22 Replies to “Dog Knee Stretches After CCL Surgery – Ask Doctor Jo”

  1. Great dogs. Unfortunately, my dog is no longer with us but she had this exact problem and needed surgery. My main problem was trying to keep her still while it healed, she was amazing.

  2. Thank you for the video! Ours yellow lab would not bare weight on his leg after surgery. We were not sure if his weight was a factor or just playing the sympathy card. We will try this. Do you think he can safely go for half a mile walk every other day? I thought the distance may force him to use the leg to bare weight. He's a robust
    4 year old yellow lab. During our training days, he walked up to 4 miles every other day. Approximately about a year ago for a 2 year period.

  3. Hi, 2 weeks ago my dog started limping on his hind leg after some very acrobatic movements at the park.   I’m pretty sure he tore his ccl but don’t know if it’s a partial or complete tear.  He is only about 15lbs so I want to avoid surgery if possible.  I’m not sure how soon I can start using your exercises in the video.  Should I wait a few weeks to start them so scar tissue can develop?  I also want to know if you had any ideas on hydrotherapy.  I would be using a small kiddie pool in my backyard for that.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  4. Hey Doctor Jo, I'm a certified VT at a surgical referral practice and I just wanted to correct something in your video. CCL stands for Cranial Cruciate Ligament in animals, ACL refers to Anterior Cruciate Ligament in humans. The ligaments are the same but the terms are used to designate the same planes in different species. We refer to those planes as Anterior/Posterior in humans and Cranial/Caudal in animals. There is also a Caudal Cruciate Ligament associated with the stifle joint, but it's initials are CrCl in dogs. The CrCl can also rupture, but it is not very common. Just wanted to clear that up.

  5. Thanks i learned from this video, our boxer got surgery monday been massaging his leg alot already but needed more for the stretching, this helped

  6. Dr Jo, are these exercises recommended as part of conservative management in dogs who have not undergone surgery?

  7. Thanks for the demonstration video! Our Golden Retriever just got surgery for his cruciate ligament two days ago but the instructions for the post-op range of motion exercises were in writing with no demonstration. This helps a lot!

  8. The vet suggested a different technique for the weight shifting by standing behind the dog but your way seems much easier

  9. My 4 month old puppy fractured his elbow and went through surgery to screw it back together. He just came back to us yesterday. Is it too soon to start these rehab movements since his injury is so fresh out of surgery? I want to make sure we set him up for a speedy healthy recovery! Thanks!

  10. Thanks so much for this! We are doing recovery from a CCL surgery. He just came home today and our vet said to get started ASAP on the ROM stuff an "balance exercises". They didn't say what the balance exercises are but I believe they're weight bearing like what you did with having him stand on the hind legs.
    Anyways, just wanted to say thanks. Today is the first day after the surgery. He let me do the ankle ROM but the knee ROM seemed pretty tender. I got two stretches in and he was over it. I didn't want to push it any further.
    One question, do you think a little 5-10 minute of heat before massage before the exercises would be good? Or should that only be done after the stitches are out?

  11. Thank you! Very helpful. My 12 year old Lab is facing partial paralysis (of his hind legs) and the vet said it could be revered via physiotherapy. I'm from a small town, which means I cannot find a professional for my dog. Do you know of some videos that can guide me as to what to do with his hind legs?

  12. dotor, how long can we do therapy after opeation? my dog have operation on knees and bothside of brokem pelvis.

  13. Don't forget if your dog is on anti-inflammatories or pain medication, giving them the anti-inflammatory & pain meds will make this less painful.

  14. Not "caudal because it's the back leg", i t'scranial because it attaches to the tibia on the cranial (anterior in humans) side.

  15. I'm seeing mixed things about torn ccl/acls dont know to do the surgery or not seems like alot of people saying it will heal if u keep the calm and less active my vet told me it dont heal and she needs surgery the surgery is alot of money and going to be hard on me but I'm confused on what to do

  16. Thanks for the vid! I have a 90lbs pitbull very active and he just had the TTA surgery on his left knee, the staples are still in but should we start the range of motion now? its been 3 days now and hes still not really putting any weight on it. thank you!

  17. Hi I have a question, I was doing range of motion on my corgi and when I extended his leg I felt a sort of popping noise. Should I be concerned? Did I just make it worse? I hate having the thought that I could’ve hurt him. He had his surgery about 7/8 weeks ago but doctor said he has slight signs of patellar luxation.

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