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Smokey Recovering from Knee Surgery

Update February, 1, 2012: The Clay family from Coeburn, VA sent Smokey this card. It includes a photo of a dog named after our beloved mascot!

Smokey IX's folks say he is doing great and wants to get back on the prowl! Earlier this week he took advantage of the sun, stretched out and is taking in his recuperation with Big Orange Stride. His strength improves each day.                                          

Update January 20, 2012: A gift for Smokey from a 1959 alum! (Thanks, Mr. Wilhite!)


Update January 27, 2012: (picture below) Smokey wowing the ladies just two days after surgery! The day after surgery, Smokey was able to put significant weight on his leg. Dr. Millis hopes Smokey will be ready to hit the underwater treadmill next week.


(Knoxville, TN.  January 25, 2012) -- Following pre-operative radiographs, Smokey IX, the 8-year old Bluetick Coonhound mascot for the University of Tennessee Volunteers, underwent scheduled arthroscopy and tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery to repair a partial anterior (cranial) cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in his right knee yesterday.


Dr. Darryl Millis, orthopedic surgeon and surgery section chief at the UT Veterinary Medical Center (UTVMC) in Knoxville, performed the 2.5 hour procedure.


"The surgery went well with no surprises, and post-operative radiographs show the metal plate implant in a good position," said Millis. Smokey is a very fit dog with good muscle tone. He was able to begin post-surgical rehabilitation earlier today. That regimen includes passive range of motion exercises, icing, slow leash walks, pain medication and joint supplements.

"Early next week we plan to start Smokey back in the underwater treadmill." Millis is cautiously optimistic about the mascots prognosis. In four to six weeks, he should be making good progress, and then we will determine how best to proceed with his other knee. Millis is hopeful the mascots post-operative rehabilitation will be successful, and his howls will fill Neyland Stadium next season.


Smokeys pre- and post-surgical treatment (and treatment of other animals at UTVMC) mirrors treatments found at a human hospital: a combination of platelet-rich plasma, therapeutic laser, electrical stimulation (e-stim), non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and joint supplements. Smokeys physical therapy, including walks in one of three underwater treadmills and balancing exercises under the supervision of both Millis and Dr. Marti Drum, clinical instructor in charge of the hospitals physical therapy and rehabilitation service, helped Smokey make it through the remainder of the season without joining fellow Volunteer athletes on the ranks of the injured reserved.



Posted: 01-25-12 Viewed: 13276 times

Media Relations

Sandra Harbison
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Tennessee
2407 River Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996

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