Smokey being prepared for surgery at UT Veterinary Medical Center. Photo courtesy: UTVMC
The Vols' beloved mascot is recovering from knee surgery.
According to the UT Vet School, Smokey IX, the 8-year old bluetick coonhound, underwent scheduled arthroscopy and tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery to repair a partial anterior (cranial) cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in his right knee Tuesday.
It was a rough football season for Smokey. His veterinarian noticed he was limping a bit at the Cincinnati game back on Sept. 10. After his diagnosis, Smokey started rehab, including walking on an underwater treadmill.
He still attended all the games, but was a little less active than usual. He didn't lead the team through the T at every home game, and there were no victory runs through the end zone after scores.
It's hoped this surgery will get him back on the field.
Dr. Darryl Millis, orthopedic surgeon and surgery section chief at the UT Veterinary Medical Center (UTVMC), performed the 2.5 hour procedure Tuesday.
"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.
You can follow Smokey's progress on the UT Vet School's Facebook page. We'll have more on this story on Fox43 10:00 News and 10News Nightbeat at 11.