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Patellar Luxation - Surgery or no surgery?

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

  
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Daisy Baby

Daddy's Spoiled- Little Girl!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jun 13, '12 10:26pm PST 
I can only guess the reason we are having so much problems with Daisy's knee is because she is overweight by two pounds. That's huge for a 7 pound dog. We are currently on a weight loss diet and she is slowly loosing the weight. I also added Glucosamine sup to her diet as her vet said to as it would help extend it a bit. We are lucky that so far its only in her left knee. Not sure we could afford to do two of them at the same time...think I would have to sell one of my kidneys for that...lol I have called a few local vets all which have said once she gets to a grade 4 surgery is the best option. I talked to the vet who said she never does the surgery for them and she admitted today she isn't comfortable doing the surgery on small dos. Why not just say that instead of telling me not to do it. She could of given me a number of someone who does. Pretty ticked off at that and am grateful we switched vets before that. The new vet did say to get her weight down but don't let her run on her knee...that is very difficult as she is a very active 1.5 year old but we are doing our best to comply with the doctor to extend it for as long as we can before needing surgery.
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Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
 
 
Barked: Thu Jun 14, '12 4:12am PST 
Oh okay...well I could see the them wanting the dog at an ideal weight because I know being overweight would make the knees worse. Keep working at it...it sounds like you are very much loved so I know you can do it! big grinway to go

Maybe in this case, it would help to ask whatever vet you are considering how much experience they have with doing the surgery with smaller dogs. Maybe an orthopedic specialist.

I don't think they do the surgery on both knees at the same time? thinking It's too much in terms of recovery so I think they would do one at a time. I feel ya on the cost. I have doggie insurance, but I believe most, if not all insurances won't cover luxating patellas because they are considered to be hereditary.

Good luck to you Daisy! hugflowershug
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y

dog-sitter in- charge.
 
 
Barked: Thu Jun 14, '12 11:17am PST 
We opted to get surgery since LP isn't something that would ever get better by itself. There are a few causes of LP but overall it's a problem of all the parts not fitting correctly together - this will not change with losing weight and supplements, although those things can obviously help in managing the issues.

Lilith had both her LPs (grade 2) done at the same time at the University of Pennsylvania by board certified orthopedic surgeons. Since then she hasn't had any more problems. We're glad her breeder helped us in getting the surgery done. Now we don't need to give a second thought to it.

ETA: A few insurance companies will pay for LP and orthopedic surgeries so long as the dog was covered in advance and had passed the wait period. I know that Embrace pet insurance for one does cover it.

Edited by author Thu Jun 14, '12 11:18am PST

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Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
 
 
Barked: Thu Jun 14, '12 2:44pm PST 
We groom several dogs who had both done at the same time. These dogs seem to have LESS issues than those who have just had one fixed.
An added bonus, the surgery is LESS when both are combined than doing them separately since much of the expenses only need to be done once...such as pre-surgery blood work, anesthesia induction, pain meds and antibiotics, surgical site prep work, and the like.
If I had ANY indication that both knees were involved I would certainly opt for both being done at the same time.
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Daisy Baby

Daddy's Spoiled- Little Girl!
 
 
Barked: Thu Jun 14, '12 7:33pm PST 
I will surley look at some pet insurance. I really feel as if both of these vets have made me feel uneasy to say the least. There is such a drastic difference between the two and even knowing now the first vet just isnt comfortable with doing the surgery I am not sure I am comfortable with the second vet either. He is old and shaky... I know he is a good old school vet but he has missed a vital thyroid problem that just recently came up in my other dog. I know I should change vets but now I feel as if I am doctor shopping and may just not like what the vets have to tell me. I had this issue too when we were in Washington and FINALLY found an amazing vet...well she passed away suddenly...my luck. Any advice from anyone? I feel as if I hijacked the op's thread and for that I am sorry.
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Penny Mouse- Fart Ayala

I eat, therefore- I am.....
 
 
Barked: Thu Jun 14, '12 10:39pm PST 
Hi! We've been all through this. Penny started limping badly and holding up one rear leg occaisionally when she was about 1 year old. 13 months to be exact. I took her right to our vet, who suspected pattela luxation. He referred me to an orthapedic surgeon specialist, so off we went. Well, after a series of x rays under light anaestetic it was revealed that indeed Penny had a severe luxation in one rear knee and a not quite as bad one in the other rear knee. Heavy sigh. We had pet insurance (VPI) since she was 8 weeks old, but this was a condition that was considered genetic and excluded from any coverage at the time. Since then, VPI's policy has changed and now, depending on the coverage, provides minimal coverage for genetic issues. Anyway, Penny was in NO way overweight (3 & 1/2 lbs) and otherwise a very healthy young adult animal. Sometimes when she walked she limped, sometimes her whole rear end would collapse when both knees went out. Other times, she could put no weight at all on her worst knee. The orthapedic surgeon spoke to me at legnth and recommended that we have both her knees operated on. The surgeon felt that it would be less traumatic for her to have one surgery done and fix them both at once and go through one recovery period. I am retired and could provide 24 hour care for Penny and wanted her to have a full and happy, pain free life, so I cashed out my savings and retirement plan and took up a family collection and had both knees done at once. She only went through this surgery once and I really really feel that was the best decision for both her and us. She only spent one night in intensive care at the animal hospital where the surgeon worked and that night we all were allowed in to pet and reassure her. I had bought a playpen to restrict her mobility afterwards and I was offered a pain patch which was optional and pain meds for her to go home with. OMG take the pain meds if it's offered!!! I guess some people had complained when their pets were sent home groggy, but who wouldn't want to be groggy after both knees had surgery? She spent about a week going from lap to lap at my house and when no one could hold her, she was in a dog bed with lots of yummy pigs ears and chew sticks in her baby play pen. I would pick her up and walk carrying her outside, put her down to do her business, then pick her back up again. After about 10 days, the surgeon said she could walk a few feet. It went like that, very gradually. She did SO well!!! She wasn't allowed to jump for 3 months and no running. When we went out it was always on leash to prevent leaping or running. After a total of about 5 months she was ZOOMING around the back yard like a little gazelle!!! A baby deer, leaping and jumping and with the biggest doggy smile you can ever imagine! Now Penny is going to be 4 years old in about a month and she couldn't be healthier or happier!! NO limping at all and no holding up her little leg! She runs and jumps and does everything like she never ever had a problem at all!! I'm so very very glad and happy that we had that surgery done and in our case, the surgeon was right to do both at once. It was have been MUCH more expensive and traumatic to her to have to go through that twice. I have a sweet neighbor who has a 50 lb mix that had to have both back knees done and she did one at a time, due to it's so much harder to carry around a 50 lb dog, versus my tiny one. Her dog walks like a champ now, but he did spent tons of time crated. One knee at a time on him was so he could walk on 3 legs and go out to piddle. Her dogs doing great now, with no limping and Penny could not be healthier or happier! We're so glad we had the surgery done! Per the surgeons recommendations, Penny gets alot of salmon based food and sardines for the fish oils. She hates fish oil on her food, so that's how we get some in her. I hope your dog gets better really soon, whether you decide to get surgery or not! Much love, Penny & her mom
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Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
 
 
Barked: Fri Jun 15, '12 4:07am PST 
Well we haven't seen the OP so it's okay...glad we could be here for ya and I'm glad others are chiming in with their experience way to go

Lilith, thanks for the feedback...it's good to know there is insurance out there to cover stuff like this. But Daisy, just to let you know, there isn't any insurance who will cover a pre-existing condition.

I'm glad for the thread because I thought they usually only did one knee, but what you are saying makes sense. Hang in there Daisy hugflowers
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Daisy Baby

Daddy's Spoiled- Little Girl!
 
 
Barked: Fri Jun 15, '12 5:32pm PST 
I did do my research on pet insurance and found a insurance company that will cover the surgery after a six month waiting period (Pet plan) I did call to verify before I purchased the plan though...I bought the plan so we can hopefully make it six months before needing the surgery. If she gets worse we will just have to bite the bullet but crossing our fingers we can wait it out. For 25 bucks a month and a 100% reimbursment with a 50.00 deductible I am taking my chances...if we end up going to a orthopedic specialist they pay 80% but that is way better than nothing at all. Thanks everyone for your support...still don't know what to do with the vets around here...any suggestions??
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Pepper

Got food? I- can be bought ya- know....
 
 
Barked: Fri Jun 15, '12 8:27pm PST 
I don't know if your Vet explained what a luxated patella is. It won't go away on its own. No amount of medication or supplements will help. It is a physical malformation of the bones of the leg that don't allow the kneecap to stay in place. It causes the bones of the knee to slip, dislocate causing pain and prevents the knee from working properly.
Pepper also started having problems at 7 months old. She was limping on one back leg almost all the time. By 18 months she was walking on 3 legs. We kept her very thin, but she is a 55 pound dog, so a better size and it made surgery a must for her to continue being active.
Our Vet does surgery, BUT not orthopedic surgery. It is very specialized and you absolutely see a good orthopedic surgeon. I took a good deal of time to select a surgeon that I trusted to do the surgery.

The Orthopod thought she was a grade 1.5-2 on a 1-4 scale. He was surprised she was more like a 3.5 when he got into the stifle. Her surgery was successful and her recovery was quick.

If your dog is in pain and using 3 legs, then not fixing the knee seems like medical neglect. I find it unconscionable that your Vet would condone this. I think your Vet knows he/she is not capable of doing this surgery. Start looking for a good Orthopod.
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Daisy Baby

Daddy's Spoiled- Little Girl!
 
 
Barked: Fri Jun 15, '12 8:40pm PST 
Pepper, my dog don't limp or use 3 legs (yet). We now understand that it is something that needs to be fixed sooner rather than later. She is a grade 3 right now but it only slips out sometimes not all the time. She has never yelped, limped or anything. We actually found out she had this at a visit to the vet (that mind you has been taking care of her since birth) a month ago. This is why we switched vets. The second vet we went to because of the first vet saying she would never do surgery. I didn't tell him why we were there other than for a well check and he found her knee problem right away. Still kind of angry at the first vet who didn't catch it. I did want to clarify that she is in no pain, so far and isn't limping. If she shows any signs of pain or limping we are going to do the surgery asap. But if she isn't we will wait out the six months so the insurance will cover most of it.

blue dog
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