Canine Luxating Patella - To Dog Owners With Experience With The Surgery

Parajaka

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#2
My Pomeranian was diagnosed with it in both back legs on his first vet visit as a pup. We were told he may need surgery, but the surgery doesn't always correct it. We opted not to spend the money, and he is now almost 9 years old and has never showed any ill symptoms other than the occasional leg kick.

It does sound like your pup is struggling because of it. I hope it works out for him and fixes the problem.
 

Brattina88

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#3
Mia just had surgery back in April, and is doing well. We are now dealing with arthritis in the opposite hip from her leaning and limping over time. She's 6, though.
What grade did they give your pup? They originally said Mia was a 3, but when the surgery day came around, and the doctor who specializes in the surgery got to look at her (and then perform the surgery) said it was more a 4 :(
the recovery time was shorter than I expected.... But, my standards are off because Tucker had an IVDD flare and had to be on 6 weeks of crate rest. Mia's was more like 4wks, with short but sort of frequent leashed walks, and working the leg as directed from the vet. Watch the bandage and the whole leg after he comes home. Mia had some unexpected (but somewhat common) extra swelling and it began to cut off circulation to the foot, it had to be cut off and iced, then reapplied. :eek:

I know how you feel, it's frustrating and scary for them to "go under the knife". If you have any specific questions feel free to ask or PM me :)
 

vmills

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#4
Questions/Concerns

We have a lot of confidence in the surgeon who will perform the procedures because he has done the surgery "countless hundreds of times."

Post surgery recovery is probably the greatest concern because Simon is so active. We will have a 4X4 area for him to stay in (to avoid stairs). I know he will need to be on a leash to go outdoors. Keeping him quiet is going to mean keeping him contained.

Because I had an issue with post op infection with the Alvin, I want to know what to look for to detect infection. The only way we knew Alvin had an infection was when I removed the bandage from his leg (dew claw removal), the dog screamed in pain, and the incision site was red and swollen.

How do you detect post-op infection issues when the splint and bandage will be on for a much longer period of time (than dew claw removal)?
 

MandyPug

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#5
We have a lot of confidence in the surgeon who will perform the procedures because he has done the surgery "countless hundreds of times."

Post surgery recovery is probably the greatest concern because Simon is so active. We will have a 4X4 area for him to stay in (to avoid stairs). I know he will need to be on a leash to go outdoors. Keeping him quiet is going to mean keeping him contained.

Because I had an issue with post op infection with the Alvin, I want to know what to look for to detect infection. The only way we knew Alvin had an infection was when I removed the bandage from his leg (dew claw removal), the dog screamed in pain, and the incision site was red and swollen.

How do you detect post-op infection issues when the splint and bandage will be on for a much longer period of time (than dew claw removal)?
I've known quite a few dogs with this op. done, typically they are sent home with antibiotics and pain medication to take. The antibiotics are a precaution because the incision is enclosed within the splint. Some get their splint changed once or twice during recovery too by the vet so he can get a good look. Typical signs of infection that you can see are lethargy, fussing with the site, and they may have diarrhea or vomitting or loss of appetite.
 

Saeleofu

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#6
I've never had a dog myself with it, but I've helped recover several dogs in the clinic that have had surgery. It's VERY common in small breed dogs, particularly from BYBs (not health tested).

Anyway, after surgery their legs are generally wrapped, and kept wrapped until the next morning (hospital stay of at least one night, sometimes more depending on the dog). When the wraps are taken off, we start range of motion exercises. Your vet will explain this more to you, but it's important for the dog's recovery. Most dogs are walking by the next morning at the latest, but if you have just one leg done instead of both they'll sometimes still limp until the leg is healed.

We send dogs home with antibiotics (usually clindamycin) and pain meds. Pain meds can be Rimadyl, Tramadol, Buprenorphine, Gabapentin, or some combination of those. Before surgery they also get a spinal block and a pain patch (can't remember the name of the drug in the patch right now).

I don't think we ever send a dog home in bandages after this surgery, but I might just be forgetting that part. The antibiotics are to prevent infection, since it was a bone surgery. Clindamycin is a GREAT antibiotic for bones. If the incision site is redder than usual, or has a thick pussy discharge, there's probably infection. It's also a good idea to take his temperature regularly, starting NOW, so that you know what is normal for him. But he should be on antibiotics anyway with this kind of surgery (antibiotics for dewclaws is not common), so I wouldn't worry too much.
 

vmills

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#7
Where Do You Get A Thermometer For Dogs?

Thanks for the info - now I know what questions to ask the hospital staff.

I've seen the vet take a dog's temp (and the surprised look from the dog), but where do you get a thermometer and what's the normal temp for a dog?
 

Saeleofu

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Thanks for the info - now I know what questions to ask the hospital staff.

I've seen the vet take a dog's temp (and the surprised look from the dog), but where do you get a thermometer and what's the normal temp for a dog?
You can get a thermometer at Walgreens, Walmart, etc. Just a regular rectal/oral thermometer. Also get some lube, since you know where the thermometer goes ;) Vaseline works just fine. The normal temperature for a dog is 101.5 to 102.5 but varies with the dog, which is why you should start taking temperatures now. If your dog is usually at 100.0 and is running at 102.5, that may be a fever for your dog, even though it's technically "normal"
 

Jynx

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#10
one of my sister's papillons had this surgery about 5 months ago..He's doing great..She also has been taking him to physical therapy once a week, he's now 'graduated'. They did water therapy as well
 
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#11
My friend's BYB chihuahua had this surgery a few years ago. He recovered perfectly, but I do remember that he had to be on crate rest (a 4x4 area is still quite large for a little dog). And then my friend worked for a long time after the surgery on physical therapy, that's very important for it to heal right.
 

vmills

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#13
LOL - Simon's No Longer "Little"

I am concerned about his activity level. In fact, we were talking about where we would take him outdoors because lifting him requires an effort and stairs present a problem for carrying him.

We opted for the 4X4 containment area because Sir Simon is no longer a wee little dog and at almost 30 pounds, he's outgrown the crate for small dogs. We need to keep him away from Alvin, else there will be wrestling and attempts at running around.

I guess if the 4X4 area is too big we can cut it down with a divider.

I did not know physical therapy was required for dogs (although it certainly make sense) until I saw the water therapy video on YouTube. Fortunately, we know a vet tech and will make sure he gets the required therapy.
 

Doberluv

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#14
My Jose` Chihuahua had it several years ago in his left knee. The other knee has it too, but not as bad a case. Now, they are reluctant to do the surgery unless it is severe and causing pain. Jose` had a very rough couple of days afterward...a lot of pain, in spite of the pain pills. He cried, shook all over and let loose his bladder. But in just a couple days, he felt better. He was to be kept fairly quiet for a long time. (I forget just how long) And when he was better yet, he could resume some short walks etc. I was never told anything about physical therapy. We just worked it nice and easy. Eventually, he was running and jumping like always. But...a few years later, he started having a little trouble again. The vet had told me that the surgery doesn't always hold forever and it is possible he might need a repeat. He does have a little trouble sometimes, but not much pain that I can detect. It just sort of slips out and he fixes it by stretching and popping it back in. It doesn't seem to pop out as badly as it did before though.

So, good luck. It is not a fun thing to go through but sometimes necessary.
 

vmills

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#15
Thanks To All Members Who Posted Here

Simon's scheduled for surgery on Monday, 7-12-2010. I will post the details of his recovery to the blog below my signature. If I can help anyone by answering questions, let me know.

Just to let you know, Simon's surgery involves 2 procedures - relocating the ligament covering the patella by cutting and re-attaching the bone holding the ligament to the lower leg bone AND tightening ligaments pulled by original condition (his patella dislocates to the inside of his knee).

Some small dogs will not require the first procedure described above, and other dogs need a different procedure to deepen the channel the patella rides in.

In any event, wish Simon a quick and painless recovery!
 

vmills

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#18
Simon's Recovering Nicely!

Wow! For a pup who had major surgery more a week ago, Simon's doing quite nicely. Since he seems much more comfortable, we dispensed with the pain meds and now he's only on an anti-inflammatory.

Here's the biggest issue - the dog seems extremely frustrated with his patient status and wants to be a dog. Unfortunately, he's banned from most activities he would participate in normally. AND, the surgeon insists on 5 more weeks of inactivity.

Here's the latest blog post (after the vet techs removed his bandage). The stiches come out later this week.
 

vmills

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#20
Simon's Doing Great! We Owners Are Frazzled!

Simon's recovering nicely from surgery 2 weeks ago on July 12, 2010. His stitches came out 2 days ago and according to the vet, his leg lools fine. No infection or swelling.

So all that news is great!

The not-so-good news is that we are charged with keeping Simon relatively inactive for count them - 4 more weeks! And that's according to the surgeon's post-surgery directions. He can't use stairs, jump up on furniture, or play with Alvin. Good luck with that!

We have gates, barriers, and pens everywhere, but a dog determined to escape and run free is a very strong force!

More details and pics are on the blog in my signature!
 
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