It has almost been two weeks since Chelsea’s FHO surgery and we are progressing into her recovery phase with wonderful success! Last week, we shared with you a video of Chelsea walking 5 days after surgery; she is only getting better!
During the first 10 days, we focused on recovery from surgery. We massaged Chelsea’s muscles in her leg 3-4 times a day to stimulate muscle growth. We walked her around the backyard on leash to encourage her to use her leg and discourage running/playing with the other dogs. While there was certainly much less running and playing, I’d be lying if I said there was none. C’mon- Chelsea is a 6 month old puppy and sometimes it just happened. When we were at work, Chelsea was separated from Harley and Scarlett by a doggy gate. This avoided any contact when we weren’t around to supervise. At night, we crated her for extra safety.
On Thursday, Chelsea went to her post-op check-up with Dr. Sardinas at Miami Veterinary Specialists. Chelsea’s stitches were removed and he told us she was walking so well, he was amazed. He said her recovery will most-likely take less than 6 months because she has really adopted that leg as if it’s fine. Most dogs take weeks to begin putting weight on the foot and you must encourage them to use it. Dr. Sardinas thinks Chelsea’s injury was so bad and so painful, once they fixed it she was just so relieved and ready to go. He also said our daily walks with Chelsea before surgery helped, as she got used to walking on the bad leg and retained some muscle mass.
He instructed us to move into the first rehabilitation phase of Chelsea’s surgery. We’ll continue pain medication, separating the dogs when gone and crating overnight but will add more physical activity to help Chelsea gain muscle mass. She needs to gain muscle mass in her leg that she lost as well as grow supporting mass around her leg that is now sitting in her hip socket, essentially unattached. To do this, we’ll take Chelsea on longer walks around the neighborhood 2-3 times a day. It’s important that we always stop walking whenever she stops using her leg (at that point, the walk does no good). Thankfully, that has not happened yet. We’ll also take Chelsea to do hydrotherapy. Swimming is one of the best things Chelsea can do to accelerate her recovery.
Chelsea is also allowed to run now but we must be very careful. We would never want her to re-injure herself so we limit the running (only on the grass). She can’t roughhouse with the other pups so we basically have to stop them every time they start playing. We can’t wait until they are allowed to play again–especially Scarlett, who is lonely without her pal 🙂
Thank you all for the wonderful support, encouragement and prayers throughout this whole ordeal. We are blessed to have you all as friends and look forward to Chelsea’s complete recovery!