ACL/CCL surgery in dog - girl dog potty help? Updates throughout!

My 22 lb Shiba Inu (12 yrs old) had ACL/CCL surgery 3 days ago and is home recovering with a cast on the leg for the remainder of the week. She’s doing pretty well except that she hasn’t pooped yet! (What can I say, horsepeople and the focus on poop …)

I sent a question to the vet about how to help her, since I don’t know if it’s due to the meds/dehydration due to meds or if she can’t physically, er, “assume the position.” (Most likely both?) She’s peeing pretty well but wants to come in right away because she’s shaved and it’s cold out.

Anyone have any experience here? I saw online to feed her pumpkin so I’ll share the acorn squash I’m planning to cook today. (Probably won’t hurt and is yummy for her.) And later, pick up some pumpkin puree. I have no idea what happens next … gentle laxative or stand back? If it is a physical stance thing, how on earth do I support her to squat? She is a bit private and usually needs to go pretty far away and circle and doesn’t like anyone approaching while she poops. (Usually, ok by me!)

Has anyone else sent girl dogs through ACL surgery? Any advice? Help - I feel like I’m not helping her very well and not as well versed in getting dogs to poop as horses, lol. Yikes!

My late enormous lab mix, Tilly, (adopted from a local shelter as a senior dog) had terrible hips that caused her a lot of pain and toward the end I had a lot of success using a doggie sling to support her hind end going up and down the few stairs to the back yard, and supporting her as she peed and pooped. A sling might work for your girl, too.

They aren’t expensive, and I think I bought mine at Petsmart. It worked so well that I’ve kept it all these years after I had to let Tilly go, because I was certain I’d have another dog who’d need it.

I think males and females tend to poop in the same stance, so not sure this is really a female dog thing. If she can squat to pee, I would she can squat to poop as well?

So, I would think it’s a lot of things, but not necessarily the leg cast. Maybe constipation? Has she been eating normally? I’m sure she’s still on a leash but maybe you can use a flexi leash to allow her to get a little further from you if that’s an issue.

Anesthesia and lack of movement will certainly slow things down. What post op pain meds is she taking?

I would start with the pumpkin. Just plain pumpkin from a can is fine. You can add a couple tablespoons to each meal.

And if you don’t have a sling for support, a large towel will also work.


I am freaking out - I screwed up and I guess didn’t have the door closed right on the pen when I went to pick up DD from the airport … came home to find her OUT the dog door (pretty high off the floor) and DOWN THE STAIRS (every single instruction says absolutely no stairs!!) in the garage. Now I’m worried that something has gone wrong. She had been “toddling” on her cast and now is holding it up, hopping. I am hoping against hope it’s over fatigued and not damaged.

Meanwhile, she has had pumpkin (ok, kuri squash - looks like a mini pumpkin) added to 2 meals and still no poop.

Poor little thing :disappointed:

I’m guessing the cast protected it; probably sore, but very likely no damage because she can’t really use it.

When the cast comes off, you’ll really have to watch her because they don’t know enough to be careful and will try to use the injured leg, even if it hurts.

Keep us posted on poop!

Pumpkin; :grinning: tightens what loose and loosens what’s tight. It’s a wonderful super food.

I am not sure Kuri Squash will do the same trick as proper pumpkin. I am sure the meds, the sedation fro the SX are not helping things move along as other posters commented.

Perhaps she is hopping becuase its easier for her to move and not get caught on stuff that way with her cast???

keep us in the loop on her recovery. I am sending healing juju to her.

Well, here is the good news - the activity she received will make it more likely for her to have a bowel movement.

Not to rain on any parades, but I would take her back to the vet and have them evaluate her lameness. She is in a crucial part of her healing and if indeed she has done damage, it’s best to know now. Sorry you had to come home to that.

This may also help. The vet in the video drops the sling when the dog potties but you don’t have to. You can give a little slack while still offering support if you’d like.

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Thank you, all helpful advice/tips!

Update 1 - Still no poop. I am now giving her 1.5 tablespoons of super-wet (human baby food) pumpkin puree plus a half teaspoon of (orange flavored!) psyllium fiber (per vet phone instruction) over about 20 pieces of dog kibble with about a tablespoon of fish based wet cat food and more water to make it … apparently palatable in a smoothie-with-chunks kind of way? Dog boba? I also coated her little butt pucker with vaseline (we’re all horsepeople here -yikes :flushed:) .

Update 2 - the little $h1t door darted out of her pen and did another trip through the dog door - down the stairs and into the yard with me chasing her, barefoot in my pj’s, into the still snowy patches. The neighbors actually asked if I needed help once I caught her (she didn’t run far, she held up the bad leg and ran really fast 3-legged!) and I guess I was a sight. Anyway, I’m hoping that no damage was done - I’m not really sure what the symptoms are if she pulled out or stretched the repair? Vet visit tomorrow afternoon to assess progress. I can’t really tell what’s normal and what’s not.

Sigh. Overthinking!!


Can you lock the dog door? Install a baby gate?

The medication she is and was on likely have slowed her GI tract. Hopefully she isn’t feeling too uncomfortable about it.

Yes, I now have the human door closed in front.

Update: Poop!!

Went back to the vet and the cast came off. Vet said looks about as good as it could. Yay! The door darted stairs didn’t have a lasting effect.

The vet akso expressed anal sacs since they were in need. Pooch was SO happy without the cast and was willing to go back and forth and circle. It was all about being able to assume the position. All I’m going to say is Holy Cow - no more details, lol. Thank heavens for pumpkin and psyllium!!

Now I’m off to see if the local petsmart has a soft cone as the stinker is going to need it to keep off the (small) cast rub where her leg and body meet. It’s a little close to the incision to allow.

Thanks for the support - I’m a wreck with this!

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Woohoo! I’m so glad no damage was done. These cases can be so frustrating. A vet I used to work with had Great Danes with all kinds of hind limb issues. Has several surgeries, broken pins, torn ligaments, repeat surgeries from too much activity, etc. Even she struggled to keep things from happening. I always feel sorry for people who have to go through these types of surgeries.

I’ve had dogs with this surgery and we found this surgical sleeve to be really helpful. We also used the cone at the beginning but transitioned to just this once the incision was healed and it was just itchy.

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I wish I had bought the lick sleeve earlier (although the surgeon said cone plus.) It’s really expensive, so I had passed. Does it stay on well? Sigh. Lousy time for more rando expenses, but penny wise and pound foolish!

This is timely, as she was good with the cone until last night, when she took it off and licked staples. I have a coverall-style (thin cotton) leg cover which I put on after rinsing it and slathering it with neosporin (she’s still on systemic antibiotics) and putting the cone back on much tighter. Trick is she has a small head and thick neck and knows how to back out of collars, cones, etc.

I made her ex-pen bigger last night because she was doing so well. Yikes. Bad move, apparently. Here’s HOPING she keeps it on today! I have a call in to Lick Sleeve to answer a few questions and then I may go that route to keep it on a week or so after the staples are removed.

You can poke holes in base of e-collar and tie the e-collar to her actual collar. Tighten the regular collar as needed. You can also reinforce the thing with duct tape so it doesn’t pop off. They are a pain but they are usually the best way to keep them from licking. When you push the e-collar back towards he shoulders, her nose should be shorter then the end of the e-collar. If not, the e-collar is too short.

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Thanks all - here’s the latest update - she spent several days on small-pen lockdown wearing both her soft(ish) e-collar and a cotton leg cover that had ties around her waist and fastened up to her neck. This was pretty good but her personality gets SO shut down in the collar.

(Aside, she doesn’t wear any collar at all normally so I had to make a choice to go back and purchase one small enough to thread through the cone loops - all our spares are for much bigger dogs and her “walkies” collar is a slip on/off rolled leather that doesn’t allow for punching more holes- OR to purchase the lick sleeve which costs a ton but supposedly replaces cone. Coming out of surgery they sent her home with their hard cone with the typical gauze tie.)

She was so (mostly) good with the other sleeve (it was not on the night she licked staples) even though it was so thin that I went ahead and purchased the lick sleeve which got delivered yesterday.


  1. so far so good with deterring licking of stifle area while allowing licking of the butt. Yurg.
  2. it still has the potential to cause a rub where it wraps and the stitching/fabric/strap comes across her tender fat little area right in front of hind legs. (Horse people and no rubs, right?) I guess that’s penance for not actually having a slender doggy waist?
  3. Top plastic clip is huge, hard and could dig in. Same size clip is used for all wraps most likely, and this is the small size.
  4. Love it, love it, LOVE IT!! So far no licks with no cone overnight and today I gave her a SLIGHTLY bigger pen config.

I’m taking it off each time we go to the back yard as long as there’s snow on the ground (or melting yucky whatever churns up).

Next vet visit to remove staples is tomorrow at 5pm. Thanks for hanging in there with me, folks, and lots of great tips and tricks for next time. Which I’m sure will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN, lol!!!

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If you ever have to go back to the cone, I HATE those fabric ones. They can’t see a blessed thing through them, and while any cone is liable to aggravate a dog, at least use one she can see through (sorta). Even though it’s stiff and they go crashing around, it really seems to make it less tortuous. The fabric ones are fine for sleeping, though.

I’ve never seen casting after CCL surgery, so that’s different. They wanted us flexing the dog’s leg through the range of motion multiple times a day.

Hope she keeps healing well!