Luxating patella

Discussion in 'Dog Health Care' started by Laurelin, May 8, 2013.

  1. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I just keep second guessing myself on this. so I was wanting to hear what you would do in the situation.

    Mia has bilateral luxating patellas. She's 4 and a couple months now and they're both mid to high grade luxations. She runs and jumps and plays and is absolutely FINE. I've taken her to two vets and both said they would not do surgery at all. They only recommend surgery if quality of life is diminished.

    I feel bad sometimes while reading things online like I should be doing something more. The vet wants Mia kept at a good weight and wants her to stay very very active. He told me that Mia's rear being so muscled is helping her knees not pop out as much. She's on joint supplements and we do some exercise to build up muscles.

    I have never seen her do the classic skip a step that tends to let people know their dog has luxating patellas. She's never been lame at all. I think sometimes I see her move a little funny but then I don't know if I am being paranoid because I'll watch Summer and other dogs and see the same weird movements. I just seem to overanalyze Mia's every move. You can feel her knees pop if you manually move her leg around. Her rear definitely doesn't seem as stable overall as Summer's. But she's happy and active and can still do everything she loves.

    I just sometimes feel like I should do preventative surgery. I hear though both from people in real life that have done the surgery, my vet, and reading online that surgery can sometimes leave a dog even more lame than before. Since she's not lame at all, I don't know.... Vet tells me I shouldn't worry at all at this point.

    My vet has had patients, especially toy dogs, that never are lame. Some do need surgery. I have a fund put away saved for Mia's knees just in case.

    I just want to do what is best for her, you know? But I just don't know what the best is. I guess the main concern is arthritis building up but that seems fairly inevitable either way. I read some things saying surgery helps prevent that then other things saying it doesn't.

    And yea... I don't know what to do. Both the traditional and the more 'all natural' vet say don't do surgery, so I guess I shouldn't. But I feel guilty. :(
     
  2. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    I personally would absolutely not do surgery on an asymptomatic dog under these circumstances.
     
  3. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Ok. It's good to hear that.

    I need to trust my vets and professionals around me and stop reading things online saying you MUST do surgery. I start feeling like a bad owner. :( the LAST thing I want to do is hurt my dog.
     
  4. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Back in the stone age, eg when I was in school, surgery was recommended for pretty much all dogs with luxating patellas regardless of grade or symptoms.

    Since then, things have changed a lot. It's really only recommended for dogs with symptoms. Agreed with Shai, I wouldn't do surgery on an asymptomatic dog for LP.

    IME these dogs do fine throughout their lives and usually if they become significantly lame later there is another problem that has popped up like an ACL tear... then the surgeons just go ahead and fix both to make the knee as stable as possible, but LP alone? I can't remember the last time we had the surgeons come in for that. It used to be thought that these dogs would all develop arthritis later in life but that doesn't seem to happen all that often IME.
     
  5. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Well that is good to hear yet another vet saying the same thing! I guess a lot of the information out online is just outdated. They make it sound like you MUST operate on any dog with LP. I just have a hard time putting a dog through all that recovery time for something that may or may not be an issue in the future.

    We will keep doing what we're doing. And I will try not to worry so much. It is good to hear that most dogs seem to do very well regardless. My vet has said the same thing- that many of the dogs he sees with LP are fine their entire life.
     
  6. xpaeanx

    xpaeanx Active Member

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    If she's not symptomatic then I wouldn't even give the surgery a 2nd thought. Surgeries have lots of associated risks, so I don't consider them worth it unless there is a *real* problem.

    Supplements and a later date surgery fund sound like you are doing the absolute best thing by her. :)
     
  7. Cali Mae

    Cali Mae Little dog, big voice

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    I'm glad you posted this thread, I worry all the time about Cali even though, like Mia, she has never shown any lameness.

    Surgery is the biggest worry though. A papillon on another forum, who is about nine, had surgery maybe a couple months ago on her patellas. They basically just deepened the groove and she had a rest period of six weeks with daily stretches, etc. The vet said she could go back to her normal activity once she recovered from it. I just remembered Cali's vet talking about rods, etc being put into her legs or something of the sort and she said how it limited mobility... so I was pretty happy to hear about this type of surgery, to say the very least.

    I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that surgery isn't necessary for many years to come.
     
  8. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    NO WAY would I do surgery in her case! Surgery and recovery can be long and complicated, and unless there's a very, very good reason to do it, I wouldn't do it. If she gets to the point where she's always limping, always in pain...then you might do it.

    Keeping her in a good weight and well-muscled is your best bet. We had an IG in for patella surgery a couple months ago. She stayed at the clinic for weeks and weeks. It was probably 3-4 weeks before she could even walk. Why? Because she weighs THIRTY POUNDS! She should be 10 pounds. She's still not fully recovered. Lots of dogs skip more after surgery. Some dogs walk on their front legs only after surgery.


    The groover does get deepened, but from what I understand the tip of the tibia gets cut off, repositioned, and pinned into place. With the IG, her pins came out twice in one leg, and are starting to come out in both legs. Some dogs need the pins removed after recovery.
     
  9. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Hannah, my rat terrier, has a luxating patella. She's almost 13, still walks a mile a day, still plays, and still only holds up the leg when going down stairs. We opted against surgery because the vet didn't think we'd ever need it and he was right.
     
  10. OutlineACDs

    OutlineACDs Crazy Dog!

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    I think you are doing the right thing.

    My vet only suggested surgery on Zen because he was symptomatic. Limping off and on depending on activity level, after a hard training session or a good run you could see him bearing a little less weight on the offending leg, skipping weave poels in trials, etc.

    It is a long recovery, upwards of 12 weeks. We are about to start week 3, yay for longer leash walks!! At week 8 I think we can start controlled swimming. He goes in 6 weeks from now to get an xray to see how everything has healed. My vet was very hopeful about a full return to agility and all of our other activities. We will see. I'm hopeful, but realistic. Zen is kind of a weenie.
     
  11. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Thanks for all the replies and support. I am feeling better about my decision to just wait and see. I've been reading a lot of personal stories and seeing people freak out and do surgery right away that it made me feel like I wasn't doing enough. Mia's my little girl and I just want the best for her.

    Her knees are odd. She definitely never limps or is lame. She is very agile and active. But by all counts since her knees are graded higher she should be limping some right? My vet had said he had seen some dogs that have knees riding out 24/7 that are fine. Mia's right knee is graded worse but sometimes it does seem like she barely favors her right knee. It is something you'd have to really be looking to see though.
     
  12. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    I'd worry more about the elbows and their compensation, with age and arthritis.

    Do her knees pop in and out with you hands on them? Can you hear it or feel it?
     
  13. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Yep you can feel them pop in and out if you manually luxate them.
     
  14. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    What my vet told me ten or eleven years ago when we discovered Hannahs was that some dogs learn how to step and twist to alleviate any discomfort and actually pop it back in themselves. I'm not sure how much validity that holds but watching Hannah sometimes she would do funny stretches, test the leg, and then walk off.

    I'm no expert but either way Hannah lived a very active life with agility, hiking, playing, and swimming (plus being obese for a while thanks to my mom). She's still very limber and active approaching 13 this year so I would really say you're doing the right things with Mia. If I knew what I know now I would research special stretches and muscle building exercises to support the joint as well as use a joint supplement sooner (Hannah had nothing but a good food until she was about 11) but I highly doubt I would entertain surgery still.
     
  15. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    That's kind of what my vet had said that some dogs just seem to compensate. Mia stretches her back legs occasionally but it is usually when she first gets up for the day or she's been sitting. Summer stretches by lowering her front and Mia stretches by leaning forward and stretching her back legs out like a cat. You can't hear them pop in and out though.

    Her knees don't pop every time you move them but they do a lot of the time. The best way to describe it is that her rear just seems a bit loose. It is hard to tell a lot of the time because she moves like a tiny Aussie- bounce everywhere and her whole body wiggles when she's happy.

    Anyways I am glad to hear some other positive stories. I definitely feel more comfortable with our decision.
     
  16. Yorkie Mom

    Yorkie Mom New Member

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    Luxating patellas

    When my dog was a pup her vet said she had luxating patellas as well. He told me that she could be walking along and suddenly stop and then begin to walk normal again.
    I have never noticed this in my dog and she is maybe not as active as your dogs but she is not a couch potato either. She has excellent muscle tone as well.
    I do however not allow her to jump on or off furniture. For this reason my dog is provided dogs stairs, for bed and for furniture. re: 7 pound Yorkie, 6 years old.
    I think this is very important for the health of her knees and joints. I have not put her on joint supplement yet.

    May I ask what sort of joint supplement that you use? Sooner or later I am going to have to start looking at this seriously so may as well start asking now.

    I would not get surgery done on my girl. Not unless her quality of life was diminishing and she was still say under 10 years old. I think that to not have your dog undergo surgery for this matter is a wise choice.

    You are right about reading stuff on the internet. Be careful. I have done this in the past and got me in such a frenzy I couldn't sleep worrying about my dog.

    When in doubt ask your faithful forum members/followers, other dog owners and of course a range of vets.
     

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