TPLO Surgery & Recovery with Husky Hero, Charger
Dogs play such a special role in our lives. For many people, dogs are an important part of their family. They offer companionship, entertainment, comfort, and protection. Their unconditional love and affection mean we’ll often do anything to ensure their wellbeing. Hence the booming pet industry!
Working dogs also hold a special place in our society. They provide a range of impressive skills, from helping to keep airports safe, to being of service to people with disabilities.
Our pack of husky heroes works to share a historic sport with visitors from around the world. Allowing them to experience the thrill and excitement of sledding on snowy trails in a winter wonderland.
As a dog sled company that prioritizes our dog’s wellbeing, we’re committed to going above and beyond to ensure every one of our dogs receive the best care throughout their life.
We don’t do this because we have to. Unfortunately, the dog sled industry is unregulated in Canada, so there is no minimum level of care required. We have made this commitment because we care. As a family owned and operated business, our husky hero pack is the backbone of our business.
Charger’s Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) Tear
One of the most common canine injuries is a Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) tear, similar to an ACL tear in humans. The most popular method performed to repair it is Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, also known as TPLO. This surgery stabilizes the injured joint. This procedure is performed by a veterinary specialist and is done while the dog is under general anesthesia.
Last season, Charger, one of our 5-year-old Seppala Siberian huskies tore his cranial cruciate ligament and had surgery to repair it this past January. While this surgery is invasive, it also has a high success rate. During Charger’s surgery, the surgeon, cut, rotated and repositioned his tibia. Then a bone graft was put in place using a special plate and screw.
Recovery from this surgery is very hands on and extensive, requiring lots of quiet time and walking assistance. Following the surgery, Charger received 8-weeks of 24/7 care while his bones fused, followed by 1-2 months of rehab/muscle building. During this time, Charger lived in the family home of Snowy Owl Tours owner, Jereme Arsenault, receiving nothing but the best care and love.
Once Charger had recovered enough to rejoin his pack mates, he found comfort in becoming our new puppies’ pseudo-nanny. Charger was in love with the puppies, he took his new job very seriously, standing guard over the puppies all day.
- Create a clean, comfortable, calm “recovery room” for the dog to rest and recover in peace.
- Place an ice pack over the wound for 15 minutes at a time. After 4-5 days, switch to heat.
- Plan on short, leashed walks for the first 8-weeks.
- Cut the sides of a clean, reusable shopping bag to use as a sling under their belly to take the weight off their back legs. A towel also works, but the bag’s handles make it easier.
- Set up a system to remember to administer medications correctly
- Keep your dog mentally stimulated with games your dog can play laying down, rolling the ball and back forth, or playing with puzzle games. There’s also dog TV on YouTube.
Wondering how to avoid a Cranial Cruciate Ligament injury?
This common injury affects dogs of all sizes but is particularly common in larger dogs. Maintaining a healthy weight helps, as well as building back-leg core muscles. Swimming is a great way to build strength without impact. TPLO surgery is not always required, if the CCL is partially torn there may be other options, like hydrotherapy and physio.
The Snowy Owl team is super happy with Charger’s recovery. Having had lots of time to slowly recover and rebuild muscle mass, Charger is back running the trails with all his pack mates once again.
If you and your dog are going through a TPLO surgery, just remember you are not alone! You can seek help by asking friends and family for assistance caring for your canine, or even asking for advice in an online TPLO group. Just know that you will get through this, and it will be worth it, just ask Charger!