Caring for Your Pet After Surgery

After undergoing surgery, your pet requires special attention and care at home to ensure a smooth recovery. Our team has outlined general instructions to follow to keep your pet safe and as comfortable as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office at
701-757-3500 or text 701-291-4074!

Exercise Restrictions

It is imperative to adhere to all exercise restrictions prescribed by your veterinarian. These restrictions are designed to minimize the strain that your pet places on the surgery site and  decrease post-surgical complications.

Incision Care

The incision has been closed with sutures that are buried underneath the skin. These are dissolvable sutures and will not normally need to be removed. They will slowly dissolve over the next 30 days. The skin incision should not be exposed to water for 14 days (no bathing or swimming).

If the skin edges appear to be red and swollen or if there is excessive discharge coming from the wound, notify us at 701-757-3500.


If medications were dispensed for your pet, please give them according to the label directions.

Brown striped cat laying down with its paw extended towards the camera

Recovery Timeline

Applies to TPLO and extracapsular knee repair surgeries; other orthopedic recovery times may vary.

Weeks 0-2

Strict confinement is imperative during this time. Assist your pet over slippery surfaces or up the stairs by carrying or slinging them. Short, slow, controlled leash walks are good. Start with 5- to 10-minute walks 2-3 times daily.

A cool compress can be applied to the surgery incision 3-4 times daily for 5-10 minutes at a time for the first 7 days. This will help reduce swelling and discomfort. Typically, after the first week the vast majority of swelling has dissipated, and cold compresses can be discontinued. If excessive swelling is still noted after 1 week post-surgery, please contact us at 701-757-3500 for further instructions.

Weeks 2-4

Increase walks to 10- to 15-minute walks 2 to 4 times daily. You will still need to keep the walks slow, controlled, and on a short leash.

Weeks 4-6

You can now increase walks to 15 to 20 minutes each on a leash 3 times daily. You may now start slowly walking your pet up and down stairs ON A LEASH ONLY. You can start by doing 5-15 stairs in a row 1-3 times daily as your pet will tolerate. IMPORTANT: THERE SHOULD BE NO FREE ACCESS TO STAIRS UNTIL PERMISSION HAS BEEN GIVEN.

Weeks 6-8

Increase leash walks up to 20 to 30 minutes 3 times daily. You may also start slow, controlled hill walks. Use a hill that you can comfortably walk up. This exercise increases your pet’s strength and muscle mass, promotes better balance, and improves the range of motion in the joints. Around the 8-week mark is also the time we’ll determine if post-operative radiographs are necessary, and discuss further exercise recommendations and restrictions.

Opening Hours

Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Text Us

Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

701 291 4074

For your convenience and to help create a less stressful environment for our patients, we offer texting for appointments, pick-ups, and more! When you arrive at our clinic, text us to let us know you’re here and our team will be out to help you and your pet.

Emergency Cases

Call the clinic Monday through Thursday from 5 PM to 9 PM at:

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