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Elbow Dysplasia in 9 month old Golden Retriever Puppy - post surgery advice needed


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We have just found out our beloved pure breed 9month old Golden Retriever has Elbow dysplasia and needs surgery on both front legs this week ("bilateral (both elbows) elbow arthroscopy and dynamic proximal ulna osteotomy"). I have been warned how intense the recovery is so was reaching out to anyone that has gone through this for any advice or tips to make our dog as comfortable as possible. How did you toilet them when they couldn't weight bare or stand up, any suggestions for set up - did you put them in crate or fence off an area for them? How long before they could walk and any diet suggestions? I have read other forums where some dogs don't recover for at least 12 months and the limping never goes away..anything you have to share would be so appreciated...thank you

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I'm so sorry you are all going to have to go through this. Are they doing both legs at the same time? I haven't had a dog go through this so not much help except to say you might be surprised how quickly they get back on their feet. I have had a dog with a serious spinal injury so on leash toileting for a few weeks then I made a very small yard for her to walk around a bit more freely while still being supervised. For diet look into things like snuffle mats or licky mats. Any toy that you can put their food in that makes them think to get it. Good luck!

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3 minutes ago, Rebanne said:

I'm so sorry you are all going to have to go through this. Are they doing both legs at the same time? I haven't had a dog go through this so not much help except to say you might be surprised how quickly they get back on their feet. I have had a dog with a serious spinal injury so on leash toileting for a few weeks then I made a very small yard for her to walk around a bit more freely while still being supervised. For diet look into things like snuffle mats or licky mats. Any toy that you can put their food in that makes them think to get it. Good luck!

Thank you for your response...really appreciate your advises -- Yes they are doing both legs at same time

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Just remembered. A facebook friend has just gone through intense therapy with one of her young dogs which had an accident and broke both front legs. I know she kept the dog sedated for the first 2 or 3 weeks. Might be worth asking your vet about sedation if your dog is too active.

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That's going to be a tough time for you.   No personal experience here,  but a friend had a pup of about the same age, who had elbow surgery .. only one leg, I think, but the outcome was excellent.   You might want to ask about using a sling, like a HelpemUp to help in the early stages .. you can make a useful weight bearing assist sling by cutting the narrow sides out of fabric supermarket bags .., you can google how to do it.

 

And you may find the Facebook Group Orthodogs helpful, for information and support.   It's US based, but has members all over the place, and when I was looking at it a while ago, it was a supportive and helpful community.  

 

And just a thought, as well as looking at a confinement strategies, you will also need to consider your flooring .. if you have slick flooring .. boards, laminate, tiles .. you will probably need to fins dome nice non slip cheapo mats or runners to make the flooring safe and non-slip.

 

Another consideration s that different dogs have different reactions to sedatives/painkillers etc. so keep advoacatiing for your pup if you';re worried or unhappy about how the pup is going.

 

I do wish you good results with the surgery - it will be worth it.

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From a containment point off view go fence or high puppy pen because you will struggle assisting dog out off a crate and if using sedation to keep calm stability will be a struggle .

I would start that training ASAP .

toileting my have a setback at this time especially wees.

Consider pee pad or incontinent blankets during the initial stages .

Slings or help them up a must your backs will take a hit at first getting a dead weight up is hard so plan your set up wisely not to hot not to cold and not 10 miles to get outside .

enrichment toys,brain games a must and still encouraging independent behaviour as puppy will be so reliant on humans so pre plan days 

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My cattle dog had a double elbow arthroscopy at around 7-8 months of age as well as stem cells at the same time. 
 

Recovery was tough but straightforward- though I had dealt with orthopaedic surgery recoveries before which helped. 
 

We crated, used a towel under her belly as well as a lead to take her out to toilet. Lots of calm enrichment in the crate. 
 

She is now 8 years old and on three different types of medications to manage the pain/ discomfort in her elbows. She has had acute pain flare ups at least twice a year since the surgery. For us it’s been a condition of lifelong management despite surgery but we had a previous dog with elbow dysplasia who wasn’t as bad. 
 

Good luck- it’s a tough road 

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