Luxating Patellas In Dachshunds

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.


momma's little- monster, the- terrorist,
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 10:50pm PST 
So last night after returning from the dog park my boyfriend and I had noticed that our mini wirehair dachshund Jazz was limping on his left back leg. Being a vet tech I had assessed his hind leg to find out what may be bothering him in his left hind leg. I did a toe pinch to see if he pulls his leg away. Sadly, he did not react to the toe pinch the way I would have liked him to. I also flipped his toes upside down to see if he would immediately correct his foot which he did. So that was a good sign. I brought him to my work so one of the doctors could take a look at him. He told me that Jazz's hip, femur, tibia, and fibula felt fine. But he had noticed that Jazz has a Luxating patella. I do know that Luxating patellas occur more in small dogs than large dogs. I just don't know a lot about the luxating patella besides the fact that the patella slides in and out of the knee joint. I will be taking Jazz into work with me tomorrow to do knee rads to see how severe the luxating patella is. My question is how severe does the the luxating patella need to be to have surgery on it? If its just a mild case of Luxating Patella, can Jazz live a normal life without having surgery? How can it affect him if he doesn't have surgery? Has anybody ever had a successful knee surgery for their dogs? If so please tell me about your experiences. Being that Jazz is a dachshund, we all know that they have short stubby legs, I'm wondering if the Luxating patella affects the dachshunds more than other small/toy breeds. I'm very concerned for my baby boy and hoping and praying that he doesn't have to have surgery.

Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 5:06pm PST 
It depends on the severity of the LP and the individual dog.

My Shiba has LP in both knees. The left is hardly noticeable at all, it's only gone out a handful of times. The right? It's luxated almost constantly. It used to be "barely grade 1" but now it's borderline grade 4. That happened in a matter of months with no severe trauma. Crap happens sometimes.
He'll probably need surgery for it eventually, but for now, my vet does not want to do that. It really does not bug Conker much, nor does it cause him a lot of pain. Discomfort sure, but my vet does not feel he needs surgery at this point.
Conker is otherwise a very active and healthy dog.

Anywho, the best thing you can do for any dog with LP is to keep their weight down. The more excess weight, the more stress on the joint, the more likely the joint will get damaged or they will tear a ligament. It's better to be a bit skinny than a bit overweight.
Activity should not be cut back. If anything, increase activity slowly. You want the joint and ligaments to stay in good shape and sitting around all day does not help build muscle or strengthen ligaments. But you should avoid crazy hyper stuff, fast direction changes, and jumping.

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
Barked: Tue Apr 16, '13 6:19pm PST 
I recently found out that Lupi has this too, also in her back left leg. I took her to a vet that could get us in right away, after she completely gave out on a walk about 6 weeks ago. He said it was mild and wouldn't warrant surgery at the present, but I'm taking her to our regular vet this month and I'm going to see what he thinks. The good news is that it hasn't bothered her again since that one week.


momma's little- monster, the- terrorist,
Barked: Thu Apr 18, '13 12:13am PST 
Well I've been thinking a lot since I took x-rays on him. Other breeds can have a normal life with LP because their femurs are naturally straight. Dachshunds on the other hand have a lot of curve to their femurs no thanks to breed selection. A curved femur can do a lot of harm than good in a dachshund and It's not going to get any better on its own. And when i was speaking to one of my vets today, we agreed that since he's young, we can do the surgery now and it will do more good for him now than later on in life.

Born to- Arrrrroooooooo!
Barked: Thu Apr 18, '13 6:06am PST 
what i know about luxating patellas is that they can stay at grade 1 for a long time and never progress or get worse. Most seem to suggest surgery at grade 3 because that might be where you see more pain, arthritis devlops, etc.

I get what you are saying and I think you know what is ultimately best for your dog. I have a 4 year old beagle with has a luxanting patella and I'm playing the wait and see. He is grade 1 and the only sympton is the little skip/hitch is in his step. It's been that way since we got him at age 2. Most times the vet can't get the knee to pop.

Hopefully you have a good relationship with your vet and you can decide what's best. way to gohug
Beanster, CD, RN, CGC

We don't - doodle!!!
Barked: Thu Apr 18, '13 3:48pm PST 
I have Frenchies who have a much more pronounced curve to their femurs, and who also can be prone to LP. My first Frenchie was a grade 4, yet both my vet and I agreed that surgery most often resulted in MORE issues than it resolved, ESPECIALLY in those breeds with dwarfism or shortened/curved legs. This particular Frenchie lived a healthy life to age 15, VERY unusual in a Frenchie WITHOUT LP, and except for the patella slipping out occasionally, maybe once a month at most, she had no signs of arthritis and was still hiking with me up until she died.
This vet is an orthopaedic special-ist, and obviously has occasions when he has to do this surgery, but he will only do it when the knee cap is constantly out and the dog cannot keep it in the grove at all due to the poor results overall observed after the surgery.
As a groomer I have seen plenty of dogs who have gone thru the surgery for LP and I have NEVER seen a single one who could walk normally after the surgery. These surgeries were done by different vets and at different ages in the dogs, and some of these dogs had, IMO, extremely mild LP, so it certainly wasn't a poor surgical procedure nor a poor surgical risk. Due to the very nature of the surgery, deepening the grove in the femur by cutting it, arthritis WILL be an issue since laying on extra bone is the bodies natural way of coping with the injury to the grove, and that is what arthritis actually is.
Beanie right now has grade 4 LP in one knee, grade 2 in the other. He is six years old, and the ONLY issue he has is for about 8 or 10 steps after his kneecap slips out until he can stretch it enough to slip it back in. He is by NO MEANS in pain, except perhaps when it actually slips out, yet he doesn't even limp after it slides back into the grove. At the present time he has NO signs of arthritis in either knee.
I would certainly avoid surgery if at all possible, especially since this has only slipped out once so far. I would also do plenty of research and only allow a vet who was extremely experienced in LP repair do the surgery if I chose to have it done.

momma's little- monster, the- terrorist,
Barked: Fri Apr 19, '13 1:02am PST 
Billy - Well the good thing about the vet I talked to is I work with him every day. I work at a 6 doctor hospital which is nice because each vet is specialized in something that I have. Dr. Snead (the doctor I have spoken to numerous times about Jazz's condition), He specializes in orthopedics and exotics, my BOSS specializes in orthopedics, reptiles, and exotic big cats (tigers, lions etc. All the other doctors have their specialties too but that's not the point.. And being a vet tech I tend to understand what is actually going on with my dogs or any of my other patients and why doctors order certain procedures to be done.

When I was talking to Dr. Snead today he explained to me that Patellar problems NEVER go away on their own nor do they resolve itself. The only time patella surgeries are actually successful is when the surgeries are being done on a patient that is still young. Jazz is fairly young. He will be turning 3 in June. Plus if no action is taken now then there's another risk that one of the cruciate ligaments that are attached to the patella can snap and that will be another surgery he needs.

Beanster - I have to disagree with you about frenchies having a more pronounced curve in femurs than dachshunds. I Have taken enough x-rays of frenchies and doxies to know who's femurs are more curved than the other. Dachshunds have more of a curve to their femurs than frenchies do. Dachshunds have short, stubby legs that are meant to carry a elongated body and that puts more stress on the dachshunds knees. Frenchies on the other hand have longer legs and a composed body. Sure they both can get LP but a frenchies structure isn't going to put more pressure and stress on the knee caps like a doxie.

The way my mindset is that I'm thinking now and for the future. I'm thinking if i can nip this in the bud then jazz can have a happy life and not having to worry about his knee. Also from what the dr. told me is that i can prevent arthritis now by doing surgery instead of waiting for the condition to progress and giving it a chance to produce arthritis. Plus it doesn't help that Jazz is "accident" prone.