When one of my patients isn't using a leg, it's usually because it hurts. If something hurts, I try to stop doing it. That pain is a signal that I'm making it worse, and I'll slow down the healing (or prevent it).
Hey, but what about those times when you know something is wrong, but it doesn't really hurt? Once I tripped on the steps and fell to my knees. It hurt right then, but seemed okay afterward. I did my cardio workout later that day, and one of my knees blew up like a balloon. I had damaged the blood vessels, but not actually broken them. Then the increased blood pressure when I exercised caused considerable leakage. It hurt then, sure enough, and I took a few days rest.
I'm a doctor and should know better. My right middle finger developed a little swelling on Tuesday, slightly resembling a pregnant guppy. My physician says, "You've broken a blood vessel." Maybe so, but I don't recall any trauma.
Since it wasn't hurting, I went ahead and did my weight workout on Thursday evening. No direct pressure on the hand, as I used Flexsolate wrist straps. Unfortunately, as with the knee, the exercise increased the pressure, and by Friday morning the pregnant guppy had turned into a sausage.
This is the problem that I have with my patients. I do want them to be pain-free when they have injured themselves. The problem is that then I'm taking away some of Nature's little voice saying "Don't do that." That's why it's important to confine those patients so that they don't overdo it as soon as their pain is relieved. They just don't know any better.
I know better, and I did it anyway. They may be smarter than I am, but you can't count on it. When your pet has been injured, you'll have to be his conscience when you start those pain meds.