Butler Blue III A Mascot's Cruciate Tear, Repair & Rehabilitation

Butler Blue III

Official Mascot, Butler University

  • Born: 12/23/2011 | Debut: 2/18/2012
  • Nickname: Trip (short for Triple)
  • Claim to Fame: Vomited on court at Madison Sq. Garden
  • Social Media Handle: @ButlerBlue3

Health Care TEam

MedVet Indianapolis

  • Dr. Brian Martin, Surgeon
  • Medical and cancer center for pets.
  • 24/7 emergency care.

Mass Ave & Fountain SqUare Animal Clinics

  • Dr. Kurt Phillips '92, Veterinarian
  • Official veterinarian of Butler Blue since 2000.
  • Two central, convenient downtown Indy locations.


  • The premium treat for medication...or reward.
  • Official treat of Butler Blue III - Trip's only treat!
  • Concept originated from Butler MBA program.

Timeline of events


  • From onset of injury, veterinarian evaluations, surgery, recovery, rehabilitation, and more, the following is a chronicle of events throughout Trip's cruciate tear experience.

Onset of injury

September 28-30, 2016

  • Out of the blue, Trip shows signs of pain and lameness on hind leg.
  • Evaluated by Dr. Phillips at Fountain Square Animal Clinic and initially diagnosed with partial cruciate ligament tear in right knee.
  • Prognosis: address partial tear with rest (at least two weeks), pain medication (Tramadol), and anti-inflammatory treatments (Rimadyl and Glucosamine).

Relapse in recovery

October 3-5, 2016

  • After comfortable weekend with fairly normal activity, symptoms of significant pain and lameness return.
  • Initially, Trip is forced to be carried outside for potty breaks. Appetite and bowel function remained normal.
  • Some improvement in comfort and mobility restored over course of next 48 hours.

Follow-Up Appointment

October 6, 2016

  • Return to Fountain Square Animal Clinic for follow-up evaluation. Full cruciate tear suspected.
  • Dr. Jen Glore performs radiographs of knees, hips, and spine for a closer look.
  • Moderate to significant arthritis and joint disease confirmed in both knees.
  • Referred to specialist Dr. Brian Martin of MedVet Indianapolis for further evaluation.

MedVet Evaluation

October 13, 2016

  • Dr. Brian Martin, surgeon, confirms cruciate tear in right hind leg and recommends TPLO procedure with full regimen of physical therapy.
"Welcome Back to MedVet, Butler Blue!"
  • While not an emergency, decision is made to schedule the surgery as current medications are only masking the pain and issues of a cruciate tear.
  • Full work-up of post-op physical therapy is agreed upon to allow Trip to resume full mascot activity as soon as possible.


October 17, 2016

  • MedVet Indianapolis therapy department calls and Trip's full regimen of post-op physical therapy is scheduled through early December.
  • The well wishes, prayers, and even treats of support come pouring in. Feeling loved before the big day.
Care Packages from Butler Apartment Village Neighbors

TPLO Surgery Day

October 18-19, 2016

  • Tuesday, October 18
  • 7:45 AM: Trip arrives at MedVet Indianapolis for check-in protocol, procedure review, and prep.
  • 12:00PM - 2:30 PM: Dr. Brian Martin and MedVet Indianapolis team perform successful TPLO procedure on Trip. Recovery process begins with Trip being kept overnight for observation.
  • 2:45 PM: MedVet Indianapolis staff contacts Kaltenmark family to provide patient status and update on progress. Trip is awake, alert, and resting comfortably.
  • 6:45 PM: Fellow MedVet Indianapolis surgeon, Dr. Kate Fitzwater calls to report that Trip is still doing well, sitting up now, and starting to take some steps.
  • Wednesday, October 19
  • 8:00 AM: Dr. Martin calls to report that Trip had a good night and continues to rest comfortably, although he's up this morning and "talking" to MedVet Indianapolis staff. Trip has successfully gone outside to potty, bearing some weight on his repaired leg with sling assistance. Meanwhile, his incision site looks good/healthy, and intravenous pain medications will be transitioned to oral in advance of late afternoon discharge.
  • 4:00 PM: Trip's caretaker, Michael Kaltenmark, makes a quick stop en route to MedVet Indianapolis to pick up rugs to cover slick flooring surfaces at home.
  • 5:00 PM: Michael Kaltenmark meets with MedVet Indianapolis surgeons, Dr. Martin and Dr. Fitzwater, to go over discharge instructions and post-surgery directives, precautions, and restrictions.
  • 5:30 PM: Trip is discharged from MedVet Indianapolis and allowed to return home.
  • 6:10 PM: Trip arrives home in a driving rain and thunderstorm. He's carried inside under shield of a large umbrella and towels so as not to allow the incision site to get wet.

Surgery Photos

TPLO Procedure Explained

Butler Blue III After/Before Radiographs

Per Wikipedia...


  • In the vast majority of dogs, the cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) ruptures as a result of long-term degeneration, whereby the ligament fibers weaken over time.
  • TPLO, or tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy, is a surgery performed on dogs to stabilize the stifle joint after ruptures of the cranial cruciate ligament (analogous to the anterior cruciate ligament [ACL] in humans, and sometimes colloquially called the same).
  • In a TPLO procedure, the tibial plateau, the portion of the tibia adjoining the stifle, is cut and rotated so that its slope changes to approximately 5 degrees from the horizontal plane.
  • This prevents the femur from sliding down the slope of the tibial plateau when the dog puts weight on its knee.
  • The surgery generally results in faster recovery times compared to other procedures to stabilize the knee.
  • Most dogs (over 90%) are expected to regain a very active and athletic lifestyle with no post-operative complications and without the need for any long-term pain relieving medication.

Post-Op Discharge

October 19, 2016

  • Both participating surgeons, Dr. Brian Martin and Dr. Kate Fitzwater, were both pleased with Trip's post-surgery recovery - bearing weight, clean injection site, normal disposition and bodily function.
  • Trip was elated to be back with family.
Reunited and it Feels So Good
  • Then upon an assisted walk, in typical Butler Blue fashion Trip surprised the staff with a fully engaged leg lift, bearing full weight on his freshly operated leg. As the Butler men's basketball team has been known to say, the game honors toughness (TGHT).
The Game Honors Toughness
  • Resting comfortably at home, Trip resumed his normal diet and made his prescription regimen look easy (and delicious) with Medi-Crunch.
Medi-Crunch: Trip's Only Treat

Post-Op Discharge Photos

Post-Op Pub

October 20, 2016

  • Butler MBB beat writer, David Woods, publishes a piece for The Indianapolis Star on Trip's status due to the recent knee surgery.
Clever Sub-Title There.

Post-Op Purgatory

October 20 - November 1, 2016

  • Trip makes considerable improvement as swelling dissipates. He continues to bear more weight on his knee and resumes his usual spirited demeanor.
  • With direct supervision, Trip is allowed more time outside of his crate, but for the most part, is still confined to his crate by day and night.
Follow Trip on Snapchat: @butlerblue3
  • Fortunately for Trip, there's been a lot of quality time had in front of the TV with the family watching the Chicago Cubs post-season play.
Go Cubs Go!

Physical Therapy Begins

November 2, 2016

  • Just over two weeks post-op, Trip returns to MedVet Indianapolis for his first physical therapy session.
  • Trip's first follow-up appoint and physical therapy session included a consultation with Dr. Karen Hull, range of motion measurements, removal of surgical staples, underwater treadmill introduction, and cold laser treatments.
  • While Trip loved the water, like a typical English bulldog, his first experience on the underwater treadmill wasn't exactly smooth. Although, he did show improvement during the session and is expected to continue to do so each time.
  • The appointment lasted approximately 90-120 minutes due to initial consult, staple removal, ROM measurements, and introduction to therapy treatments.

First PT Session Photos

Physical Therapy: Session II

November 4, 2016

  • Trip returned to MedVet Indianapolis for his second round of physical therapy and demonstrates a great deal of improvement during his underwater treadmill session.
  • Trip was much more comfortable in the water and did a better job of walking on the belt.
  • Cold laser treatments are administered again to conclude the appointment.
  • The appointment lasted a total of 45 minutes.

Second PT Session Photos

Physical Therapy: Session III

November 8, 2016

  • In Trip's third round of PT, he increased his underwater treadmill time, completing three 3:00 minute rounds with two minutes rest in between.
  • Trip was able to complete his underwater treadmill therapy with much less assistance as well as Dr. Hull did not have to use hands to guide him and keep him on the belt.
  • Dr. Hull also administered the third of four cold laser treatments.

Third PT Session Photos


November 10, 2016

  • With Trip's underwater treadmill performance improving, therapist Dr. Karen Hull increased his overall walking time to 10 minutes; completing two 5:00 minute walks with 2:00 rest in between.
  • The fourth of four total cold laser treatments was also administered.

Fourth PT Session Photos

Physical Therapy: Session V

November 14, 2016

  • Trip continued to show progress on the underwater treadmill, completing a full 10 minutes, consecutively, at a slightly higher speed, with no rest, and with no members of the MedVet Indy medical staff joining him in the tank.

Fifth PT Session Photos

Physical Therapy: Session VI

November 17, 2016

  • Trip continues to make improvements on the underwater treadmill, this time going for 12.5 minutes, consecutively, and at a slightly faster speed.
  • Joining Trip for this session is WISH-TV's Dick Wolfsie, who filmed a package on Trip's post-op rehab, which is set to air on Saturday morning, November 19th.

Sixth PT Session Photos

WISH-TV Coverage

November 19, 2016

  • Local Indianapolis news station, WISH-TV aired a package on Trip's physical therapy regimen at MedVet Indianapolis. WATCH.
  • WISH-TV field reporter, Dick Wolfsie, joined Trip for his sixth physical therapy at MedVet Indianapolis to cover the mascot's rehabilitation efforts.
Lights, Camera, Water, Peanut Butter!

Physical Therapy: Session VII

November 21, 2016

  • Trip made his unofficial return to the Butler University Marketing and Communications office. A special gate was put in place to confine him to a small area which included his crate. In addition, Trip is forced to use the building elevator to move between floors.
  • During physical therapy, Trip completed 15 minutes on the underwater treadmill at 1.0 MPH, walking .25 miles. Trip was also introduced to cavaletti exercises, completing 50 hurdles.
  • Trip has been cleared to begin walks of 5 minutes or less, up to twice a day and is to do five repeated sit-to-stand sequences a day to continue to strengthen his knee.

Seventh PT Session Photos

Physical Therapy Session VIII

November 23, 2016

  • On the underwater treadmill, Trip made room for some Thanksgiving turkey, going for 20 consecutive minutes at a speed of 1.0 MPH.
  • Trip also completed cleared 50 hurdles in his cavaletti exercises as well.
  • The increased exercise left Trip's knee swollen that evening, but he showed no symptoms of pain as a result.
  • Trip was also encouraged to continue leash-led walks of five minutes, twice a day.

eighth pt session photos

Physical Therapy Session IX

November 28, 2016

  • In his next-to-last physical therapy session, Trip completed 25 full minutes on the underwater treadmill at an increased speed of 1.1 MPH.
  • Trip also cleared another 50 cavaletti hurdles during this session as well.
  • In addition, therapist Dr. Hull suggested that Trip increase his twice daily walks to 10 minutes in duration.

Ninth PT Session Photos

physical Therapy session X

December 1, 2016

  • Trip completed his 10th and final physical therapy session at MedVet Indianapolis. He lasted a total of 22 minutes on the underwater treadmill and completed another five passes through the cavaletti run.
  • WTHR-NBC 13 joined Trip for this session to prepare a TV package on Trip's return to active duty.

Tenth pt session photos

Final Radiographs

December 13, 2016

  • Trip returns to MedVet Indianapolis for final x-rays. After being dropped-off in the morning, he's sedated for a full work-up of radiographs and doctor's evaluation.
  • Trip's surgeon, Dr. Brian Martin, reports his overall satisfaction of the TPLO surgery site with proper bone healing around the installed bone plate.
  • Dr. Martin discharges Trip from MedVet Indianapolis' care, with clearance to resume full activity contingent upon a 2-3 week ramp-up period.
Butler Blue III with Surgeon, Dr. Brian Martin

Running Timeline

Butler Blue III Cruciate Tear Experience

September 28, 2016: Butler Blue III (Trip) shows signs of lameness and pain in hind leg.

September 29, 2016: Dr. Kurt Phillips of Fountain Square Animal Clinic diagnoses partial cruciate ligament tear in Trip's right hind leg.

September 30, 2016: Trip responds well to Tramadol (50 mg), Rimadyl (100 mg), and Glucosamine. Comfort restored.

October 3, 2016: Trip demonstrates signs of pain as lameness returns. Forced to be carried.

October 6, 2016: After slight recovery, Trip returns to Fountain Square Animal Hospital for further evaluation. Radiographs show significant arthritis in both knee joints and in hips. Referral made to see Dr. Brian Martin at MedVet Indianapolis.

October 13, 2016: Trip evaluated by Dr. Brian Martin and MetVet Indianapolis team. Cruciate ligament tear confirmed. Dr. Martin reviews TPLO procedures and recommends surgery to eliminate cruciate tear, and rehabilitation to resume full activity.

October 18, 2016: Dr. Martin performs TPLO surgery on Trip to eliminate cruciate tear. Partial cruciate ligament tear confirmed during surgery. Dr. Martin reports a successful surgical process with smooth anesthesia. Dr. Martin is optimistic about Trip's recovery and return to duty.

October 19, 2016: Trip is taken off intravenous pain medications and transitions to an oral dosage. He's later cleared and released from MedVet Indianapolis and returns home with strict restrictions on activity. Walking is permitted with sling assistance over slick surfaces. No running or jumping is allowed. Will remain in crate unless on a leash. Prescribed Rimadyl (100 mg) for inflammation, Tramadol (50 mg) for pain, and Cephalexin (500 mg) (antibiotic) to prevent infection. Glucosamine regimen also resumed.

October 20-23, 2016: Trip makes considerable improvement during this stretch in recovery. The afternoon of Oct. 21st (3 days out from surgery), Trip started showing signs of improvement with regard to pain, swelling, bruising, and skin irritation. All symptoms began to slowly alleviate thereafter. Trip is now walking very well, seems very comfortable, and is enjoying supervised time out of the crate.

October 24, 2016: MedVet Indianapolis staff calls to get an update and wellness check on Trip. Pleased with the report, Trip is instructed to finish out all prescriptions and to call if any signs of pain or lameness return.

October 25-31, 2016: Trip continues to make great improvement. Six days out from surgery, most swelling has dissipated and Trips seems relatively unfazed by the entire ordeal. While he does bear weight on his operated knee, he does favor it at times. Nonetheless, he shows very little if any signs of pain. Trip also enjoys additional time out of the crate while supervised to prevent any running or jumping.

November 1, 2016: Trip visits Dr. Kurt Phillips at Mass Ave Animal Clinic to resume Adequan injections. Michael Kaltenmark is given a tutorial on the injections so that he can administer them at home, twice a week. Trip is also given a refill on Glucosamine.

November 2, 2016: Trip returns to MedVet Indianapolis where Dr. Karen Hull performs an evaluation and rehabilitation assessment. Surgical staples are removed and range of motion is measured. The medical staff is very pleased with Trip's healing and progress. Trip is introduced to the underwater treadmill for the first time and administered a round of cold laser therapy. Trip enjoyed the water, but like a typical English bulldog, Trip did not initially take to moving with the treadmill. However, he did show improvement throughout the session.

November 4, 2016: Trip completed his second round of physical therapy and demonstrated great improvement on the underwater treadmill. He received another cold laser treatment as well.

November 8, 2016: Prior to hitting the polls, Trip returned to MedVet Indianapolis for his third physical therapy session. He again made improvements on the underwater treadmill, walking for three sets of 3:00 minutes with no human hand assistance. Once again, Trip's visit concluded with cold laser treatment. Meanwhile, at home Trip was administered another dose (1.5 cc) of Adequan.

November 10, 2016: Trip increased his underwater treadmill time to 10 minutes during his fourth physical therapy session. MedVet Indianapolis therapist, Dr. Karen Hull had Trip complete two, five minute sets on the underwater treadmill, separated by a two minute break in between. Trip also completed his fourth and final cold laser treatment during this session.

November 14, 2016: Trip completed his fifth physical therapy treatment at MedVet Indianapolis, by improving his underwater treadmill performance, yet again. Again, Trip completed 10 minutes in the tank, but did so in one shot, no rest, and with no medical staff joining him in the tank.

November 17, 2016: For his sixth physical therapy session, Trip made even more gains in the underwater treadmill, completing 12.5 consecutive minutes, and all at a slightly faster speed. Joining him was Dick Wolfsie of WISH-TV, Ch. 8, which will air a segment on Trip's rehabilitation on their Saturday morning broadcast, November 19, 2016.

November 19, 2016: Local Indianapolis news station, WISH-TV aired a package on Trip's physical therapy regimen at MedVet Indianapolis. WATCH.

November 21, 2016: Trip completed 15 minutes on the underwater treadmill at a 1.0 MPH pace. He was also introduced to cavaletti therapy, completing 50 hurdles. Trip may now begin leashed walks for five minutes at a time, up to twice a day. He was also instructed to do 5-10 sit-to-stand sequences a day. During the Butler Men's Basketball broadcast that evening on FOX Sports 1, a brief segment was aired on Trip's rehabilitation experience.

November 23, 2016: Making room for some Thanksgiving turkey, Trip completed 20 minutes on the underwater treadmill at a 1.0 MPH pace and also completed another round of 50 cavaletti hurdles. He was also instructed to begin going on five-minute leashed walks, twice a day.

November 28, 2016: In his next-to-last physical therapy session, Trip improved his underwater treadmill time to 25 total minutes at 1.1 MPH. He also completed another 50 cavaletti hurdles to conclude the session.

December 1, 2016: Trip finished his physical therapy regimen at MedVet Indianapolis, with 22 minutes on the underwater treadmill and five full passes through the cavaletti run, during his tenth and final PT session. Trip was given at-home physical therapy exercises.

December 13, 2016: Trip is sedated for final radiographs. Dr. Brian Martin reports that the TPLO site looks good with proper bone healing around the bone plate. Trip is cleared of MedVet Indianapolis' care and allowed to return to active duty with a 2-3 week ramp-up of activity.

Created By
Butler Blue III


Zach Bolinger - ZJB Photography, MedVet Indianapolis, Butler University, Michael Kaltenmark

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