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Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2015 Jan;45(1):145-65. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2014.09.008.

Physical rehabilitation after total joint arthroplasty in companion animals.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, NCSU CVM VHC #2563, 1052 William Moore Drive, Raleigh, NC 27607-4065, USA. Electronic address:
Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, 1111 West Loop South, Houston, TX 77027, USA.
Private Practice, 2285 Bristol Circle, Oakville, Ontario L6H 6P8, Canada.


Patients who have total joint arthroplasty have varying needs related to rehabilitation. In the short term, rehabilitation should be used in all dogs to identify high-risk patients and to minimize the likelihood of postoperative complications. Many patients undergoing total hip replacement recover uneventfully without needing long-term physiotherapy. All patients undergoing total knee replacement and total elbow replacement need rehabilitation to restore limb use and maximize their functional recovery. This article presents rehabilitation considerations for companion animals undergoing total hip replacement, total knee replacement, and total elbow replacement; postoperative complications and how to mitigate risks; and anticipated patient outcomes.


Ambulation assistance; Animal rehabilitation; Complications; Controlled exercise; Total elbow replacement; Total hip replacement; Total knee replacement

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