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Friday, 26 October 2012

Weak at the knees


Just wondering if anyone has an experience of Patella Luxation in dogs? My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Lady, is suffering from it, she's on painkillers until she sees orthopaedic surgeon next week and will most likely need surgery. She's only one.

Would love to hear some successful treatment stories at the moment, I feel so sorry for her and she was doing so well with her training and now can hardly walk!

Siobhan Campbell, via Facebook

Alison Logan, vet, advises...

Patellar luxation is also called a slipping kneecap. My children have been adept at diagnosing this from a young age because I am prone to saying out loud ‘Oh, look, that dog has a luxating patella’ whenever I see a dog skipping for a few strides.

There is a mismatch between the kneecap and the groove within which it sits, which may be exacerbated by the pull of muscles acting on the knee. When the knee or stifle is bent, the kneecap may slip out of the groove, preventing straightening of the knee so the dog hops for a few steps until the kneecap returns to its correct position, allowing the knee to extend and bear weight once more.

As a vet, the position of the kneecaps is checked during routine examination. If a dog has a luxating patella, it can be possible to slip the kneecap out of position with quite a thunk, and then return it, usually without much of a response from the dog (but it always makes me shudder!). In Lady’s case, you say that she is in pain and can barely walk so there may well be active inflammation and other issues going on so I am glad she is receiving pain relief and will be seeing an orthopaedic surgeon next week. At her young age, it is important to have this investigated at as early a stage as possible if long term adverse effects are to be avoided. After all, being able to move about freely without pain is paramount, and especially if you are a young Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

I hope that the orthopaedic surgeon is able to help Lady. Please let us know how she does.

1 comment:

  1. The surgery to correct Patellar Luxation in dogs is usually very straightforward with a successful outcome. It is worth noting though that it is often a bi-lateral conditon i.e. both legs may be affected over time. The main thing at the moment is keep going with her medications as directed and lots of rest! There will be a period of recovery after the op which your surgeon will advise you on, usually about 6-8 weeks. This needs to be strictly followed in order to allow healing to take place. As for her training I would advise keeping it up as much as is possible and don't allow bad habits to creep in, even though I know not spoiling her while she's recuperating wil be hard!
    I wish her a speedy recovery!