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The weeks leading up to surgery



Get Your Own Cone: Your hospital is expected to provide you with a suitable cone/collar for your pet's recovery; however, Dr. Lynch still strongly recommends that you buy a backup cone before surgery, just in case. Most importantly, get a cone that is larger than you think your pet will need. If the cone is a bit too long, then it is just a little bit more annoying, but it is still effective. If it is too short, then it is useless. No matter how good your pet is, they will chew at their incision. Do not use a soft/cloth cone. Do not use a Lick Sleeve or recovery suit without using a suitable recovery cone as well.  

  • Dr. Lynch strongly advises that you order an inflatable cone to use in ADDITION to your rigid cone, in the event that your pet learns to get around their rigid cone and lick at the incision. See top image to the right for an example of how to use the inflatable (donut) cone in addition to the rigid cone.

  • One brand of rigid recovery cone that you may order is called "Comfy Cone" ( This brand is a rigid foam, so it is more comfortable, but it is not transparent and tends to run small (so order a size larger than you think).

  • Many cones have loops at the bottom – It is highly advised that you place your pet's collar through these loops (instead of gauze or string) to prevent your pet from kicking their cone off.  

  • Your pet’s cone must not be removed until your pet’s incision has healed and either Dr. Lynch or your veterinarian says it can come off. 


Get Your Harness Before Surgery: During the first week after your pet’s surgery, they may need some help getting up and going for their short walks. Having a blanket or towel to function as a sling may be suitable to help support many pets, but this may be difficult for larger pets or those with more severe injuries. For these pets, it is recommended to use a full body harness, because it is more comfortable for them and safer for you. Some hospitals may be able to offer you these harnesses. Check with your vet before ordering one (

  • Fit your harness to your pet BEFORE surgery and have them wearing it when you drop them off for surgery.

  • A body harness is advised for any pet over 40lbs that has bilateral surgery  

  • Important: Check your pet for any rubbing sores (usually inner thigh and side of tail) from the harness at least twice daily.  


Consider Scheduling Professional Physiotherapy: Professional physiotherapy is an effective way to expedite your pet’s recovery, and to help relieve muscle tightness that may have developed during recovery. In most cases, it is not an overt requirement; however, there are a couple of situations that Dr. Lynch strongly recommends your pet to have professional physiotherapy: 

  • Femoral head ostectomy (FHO): Following this hip surgery, post-operative physiotherapy is the most critical component to your pet’s long-term outcome. Dr. Lynch suggests that your schedule your pet for professional physiotherapy before scheduling surgery. This professional physiotherapy should begin once the incision has healed (after week two).  

  • Moderate arthritis: If your pet has moderate arthritis going into surgery (e.g., before TPLO), then Dr. Lynch suggests that you schedule professional physiotherapy beginning at week six of your pet’s recovery post-surgery.  

  • Post-operative complications: For pet’s that have recurrent post-operative complications (e.g., chewing at their incision, slipping on the floor) that will lead to muscle tightness, Dr. Lynch suggests that you schedule professional physiotherapy beginning at week six of your pet’s recovery post-surgery. 

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