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Luxating Patella

Taze
June 9th, 2011, 05:50 PM
My pure-bred Yorkshire Terrier, Casey, has been diagnosed by my vet with luxating patella in both her hind legs. He also mentioned her right hind leg is worse and that she has torn a ligament in her knee.

She's currently on rest for 2 weeks and on some pain/inflammatory medication. She has a check up in about a week and a half now (June 20).

Does luxating patella get better with rest? Can a ligament heal okay by itself? I know surgery is an option (which was recommended for her right hind leg which he said was "grade 4") but my dog is still just a puppy. I also have no idea what the surgery entails. Has anyone had a pet get this done? Did your dog have to wear a cast after surgery? Any personal experience stories welcome.

I have some information from my vet regarding this condition. I have also done some research online.

Because my dog is still a puppy it's hard to get her to relax. We have stopped playing with her, but then she cries for attention. And it's not a normal whine like when she begs for food, it's literally a cry. :( I breaks my heart!

cell
June 9th, 2011, 08:52 PM
my dog was diagnosed as well but is grade 1-2, so his knee is normally in place but slips out in jogging pace (or possibly just doesn't function well enough) and he picks up the leg. He has a stiff slow walk but seems completely normal at medium pace and running.
The vet said just to leave him since he is low grade and I started him on Glucosamine/chondroitin/msm to reduce cartilage damage. The luxation is due to a combination of weak ligaments and shallow/deformed kneecap grooves.
From my understanding it normally does not cause pain at low grades but occasionally the cap may pop all the way out and cause pain, also over time continual wear on the knee crest increases incidence of luxation and can expose bone creating pain.
Grade 4 indicates that your dog has very shallow knee grooves and the knees spend the majority of their time out of position and may not be able to correct themselves back into the groove. The situation is unlikely to correct itself as it has a strong genetic component. At grade 4 I don't see rest correcting much and the damage will probably re-occur once exercise is non-restricted due to the deformity causing stress on the ligaments.
This condition does not improve with time, and will only get worst or if you are lucky will remain about the same.

Surgery is very invasive and most things I have read suggest not having it for grade 1-2 unless there is no pain involved and the dog copes well. Grade 3-4 (or 5 depending on the grading scale being used) typically require corrective surgery.
Depending on the severity of the deformity there are combinations of techniques that will be used on the knee. Usually the groove is deepened by removing a wedge from the knee groove, inside this triangular crevice more bone may be removed and then the sliver of bone replaced (to retain the cartilage surface) the ligament holding the kneecap may also be cut away and then pinned in a way to counter the directional stress on the knee (if the knee luxates inward the ligament will be pinned outward). Some vets also incorporate strapping to the knee to maintain proper alignments.

I would recommend seeing a orthopedic surgeon or visiting your local veterinary college for a second opinion from a vet who is very familiar with the diagnosis and procedure for corrective surgery who can recommend what course of treatment you will need.

Since your dog is very small he should recovery well from surgery and typically they are back to normal within 4 weeks.
Surgery is not cheap, depending on your location it can range from 1000 to 2000 or more for both knees.

Since this is a genetic deformity (especially since your girl is a pup and displaying symptoms indicates strong genetic component) she should be spay and not allowed to reproduce and pass the condition to her pups. If you received her from a reputable breeder (unlikely) you might be able to have some costs covered under genetic deformity. Even if they won't help you, if you are in communication from the breeder you should inform them they are breeding deformed dogs and if they have any sense of responsibility they will discontinue the parents from breeding and have their stock inspected.

Taze
June 13th, 2011, 11:42 PM
Thanks for the info cell.

Casey has been on rest for 1 week and she's doing better already. I think her torn ligament has healed. She doesn't limp often anymore, however she does still walk a little stiff. So I hope she's at a lower grade now for this condition.

If she's still at a grade 4 (she's due for a check up in 1 week now), I will get a second opinion. I'm not too fond of my vet I take her to how. He isn't very friendly, but the assisting staff are very pleasant to deal with.

It is the surgery I am afraid of. It sounds very invasive and scary to me. I'd hate to put my puppy through this at such a young age! (But if it's necessary I will get it done, but I will get more opinions first for sure.) She's still a baby, she's not 1 year old until early September.

I live in Edmonton, Alberta. I haven't a clue what the surgery would cost around this area. I'm sure if I took her to a close, but out of town vet it may be cheaper (as long as the vet is reputable and experienced doing the surgery).

I got my puppy from my Aunt, who go her dogs off breeders. Which ones, I'm not sure, but I know they were 2 separate breeders. I'm sure if I asked, she would tell me who they were. I talked to her about this condition and she hasn't heard of it. Both of Casey's parents do not have this problem. Ella (female) is 3-years-old and Leo (male) is 1.5-years-old (approximately). They are both well loved, taken care for and have had no such problems.

Casey is spayed already, she was spayed at 6.5 months old.

She does like to play, pounce on her toys while playing fetch and she loves to run! So I can't imagine her having to heal and rest for 4 weeks after such an invasive surgery.

Thanks for your advice and help. It's much appreciated!

DorothyW
February 28th, 2012, 11:11 AM
I have a Toy Australian Shepherd and he will be a year in March. He was just diagnosed with Luxating Patella - Grade 2. I was wondering if anyone has tried Physio, Massage or a Chiropractor to see if this would help the situation at all. i do not want to put him through surgery and I was quoted 4500.00 for one knee.

Because he is such an active dog, it is hard to keep him resting. The knee usually pops out when turning or twisting, not when going straight.

Dorothy

TokyoParrot
March 3rd, 2012, 06:05 PM
If he's an active dog I think surgery is really your best bet. I'm a huge fan of alternate treatments (did 10+ years of acupuncture myself) but I don't think this condition is fixable other than through surgery. You can perhaps lessen any pain through massage and so forth, but not *fix* it, so my understanding is that it will continue to deteriorate.

That said, $4500 is ridiculous for this surgery. For comparison's sake, my friend just got it done 2 weeks ago on her 3kg toy poodle and the cost was roughly US$1,200, which exactly matches the estimate Cell mentioned above. (The dog also had to stay at the vet for about a week, but I don't know if that hospitalization cost was *part* of the $1200 or *on top of* the $1200.)

The anesthetic is a large part of the cost so you have to add another $100 or so every time you move up one size from there.

DarKevs
March 3rd, 2012, 09:40 PM
each case is 'different' so much depends on the conformation and overall health of each dog afflicted with knee weaknesses/injuries.

I do know of a rottie/gsd who had one stifle go and then the other, no surgery was done and she live to almost 13, but did suffer form arthritis for that last few years.

if the injury is a result of a conformational defect, litle can be done other than surgery to repair the damage, if left alone arthritis will develope as the dog ages, also the opposite leg will suffer because of the extra weight it must bare.

google and check out MSM supplememnts for helping with repair to damage ligaments.

Hugz to you and yours.

Choochi
March 3rd, 2012, 10:59 PM
A little unrelated to the questions in the original post about the actual condition, but I'm just wondering if any of you have considered taking legal action against the breeders of your dogs to recover some of the money that surgery will cost? This is a genetic deformity so the breeders are either knowingly breeding defective dogs that later end up suffering and costing you money, or they are breeding defective dogs unknowingly and I'm not sure which of the two scenarios is more scary.

TokyoParrot
March 4th, 2012, 02:38 AM
Choochi,

Seven of mine are retired breeder animals and the health problems that some of these have are unreal. One of my females has the knee deformity in both legs and she has clearly had multiple births. Many a time I have wondered how their progeny have developed.

I'm sure a fair portion of the breeders really don't care (as also evidenced by the fact that they often dump the no-longer-useful dogs [who have for the most part never even seen daylight] by the side of the highway and hope that someone finds them before they get run over or starve to death).

I share your anger on this.