If so – are you prepared for your dog’s spinal surgery aftercare?
Spinal surgery can cost several thousands of dollars however that cost is often only part of the cost that you may be looking at if your dog needs intensive aftercare rehabilitation.
While some dogs recover fairly quickly with little aftercare other than confinement and simple daily exercises, others need more intensive care and treatment therapies.
We know this because we have rehabilitated many dogs after spinal surgery with some of them being with us for weeks at a time under 24 hr rehab care.
Find out what aftercare is required before you sign up for surgery
Our advice is to ask your specialist before consenting to surgery, exactly what aftercare will look like for you. This means asking these questions:
- Will your dog need supervision 24/7 and for how long?
- Will your dog require assistance to toilet?
- If your dog is heavy – will exercises, turning and toileting need 2 people to help do this?
- Will you need to stay home from work to provide the necessary aftercare?
- Are there things you need to buy before your dog comes home? e.g. a crate, toileting pads, lifting harness etc
- What in their opinion will be the recovery time frame based on their recommended aftercare?
- What aftercare therapies do they recommend?
- If you can’t provide that care – who can?
These are all things you need to know and prepare for before consenting to surgery. Otherwise you could find yourself in a situation that many of our clients do, home with a dog that needs 24Hr supervision and care with little progress.
In the human world – you would never be sent home the day after spinal surgery and told to rest up in bed with no further treatment. Instead we’re referred into an intensive rehabilitation program that provides the professional therapies we need in order to maintain our strength and regain our former mobility.
The true cost of spinal surgery aftercare
Aside from any expenses there is also a huge emotional side to helping a pet recover from such a procedure. There can never be a guaranteed outcome after spinal surgery no matter what you’re told. Every dog is different which means no two recoveries will be the same.
We know this because we’ve been part of those struggles. We’ve seen some pet parents hang in there for weeks ever hopeful that today is the day their dog can sit up by themselves or take their first assisted step.
To be fair – we see mainly the serious cases. There will be many that recover as planned with little help so we can’t speak for them. The point of this post is to be prepared for both best and worst case scenarios.
Is Hydrotherapy the best therapy after Spinal Surgery?
Although it is commonly recommended after orthopaedic and spinal surgery your dog needs to be able to stand and gait normally before being placed in an underwater treadmill. This means Hydrotherapy is NOT suitable for many patients immediately after orthopaedic procedures. There are many other therapies that are more appropriate at this stage.
Hydrotherapy (Underwater Treadmill) can always be considered once your dog has met the necessary healing requirements. Pool therapy can sometimes be recommended an alternative for some spinal patients.
What is the cost of a Post Spinal Surgery Rehabilitation Program?
This entirely depends on the nature of your dog’s condition and type of surgery. Recovery times and rehabilitation therapies required vary significantly and depend on many factors. Some dogs just come in on a regular daily basis for rehab whereas others need to be hospitalised for several days or even weeks before they are at a stage where they can be cared for at home.
There are instances where your dog’s rehabilitation costs are no less than your surgery fee and sometimes even more if intensive and lengthy rehab is required.
When is the best time to start Rehab for my dog after orthopaedic surgery?
The best time to start rehab is as soon as possible after the procedure. All dogs undergoing orthopaedic surgery at our practice have at least 3-4 days of rehab in clinic before we send them home.
The same principles apply after spinal surgery. The sooner you start the right rehab, the better the chance of a successful recovery for your dog.
Do all dogs recover fully after Spinal surgery rehabilitation?
No. A full recovery to normal mobility can never be guaranteed. All we can say is that providing your dog with the right therapies will increase the chances of a best possible recovery.