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Old 05-08-2013, 07:39 PM
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Default Luxating patella

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.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:43 PM
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I personally would absolutely not do surgery on an asymptomatic dog under these circumstances.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:45 PM
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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.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:02 PM
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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.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:21 PM
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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.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:22 PM
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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.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:23 PM
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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.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:28 PM
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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.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:52 PM
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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.
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:21 AM
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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.
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