Your Experience with Luxating Patella

suziequeAugust 10, 2013

My 11 lb. Chihuahua mix fell about 1 1/2 weeks ago and injured her leg. I was there when she did it (jumping from one couch to the other and slipped) and know that that is what happened. The vet has determined that it is a luxating patella. Not genetic, but from injury. She is on an anti-inflammatory 2x/day and limited to leash for 1 week (no running or jumping) and then limited increase for the following week.

Poor little thing. I've seen no change since the vet visit. On occasion I can pop the patella back where it is supposed to be and she's fine. On other occasions it does it itself.

Usually it doesn't really seem to be painful to her; she will just hop when she walks or hold that leg (rear leg) up. On rare occasions she will cry out and react quickly back to her leg.

In the experiences of those of you who have had a dog with a luxating patella, have you opted for surgery? If so, with what result? Or have you simply let it be, sensing that it doesn't always cause her pain? Have you taken any other steps?

I've been reading a lot on the web about this and, of course want to do the best thing for my girl. The vet hasn't yet suggested surgery or anything beyond what I posted above. I'm just trying to think ahead and be armed with as much information as possible. Your experiences will help me.

Thanks in advance.


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how can your vet determine this problem is not genetic? Most chihuahuas have some degree of patellar luxation and unless your dog has been thoroughly examined by an orthopedic surgeon prior to her injury, I seriously doubt anyone could make that determination. Perhaps she worsened a pre-existing condition, which is very common. Many times these will improve with time and anti-inflammatories, but sometimes they have been strained enough to the point of ligamentous tears and then surgery may be the only option. It also depends how severe the luxation is. Some are so severe that even surgery has a poor prognosis and the dog can hardly support any weight (even small chihuahhuas) on the leg (or legs... most with that severe deformity usually have bilateral disease). Surgery is somewhat costly depending on experience and skills of the surgeon. Some just tighten the joint, but many recommend repositioning the patellar tuberosity which involves bone cutting and plating (costly).

Note that most small dogs with medial patellar luxation have little to no symptoms other than a 'hitch' in their step that is usually temporary. These dogs need little or no pain meds and as long as they don't get obese, do pretty well most of their lives.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 1:10PM
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Thank you for your response. The dog jumped and fell coming down hard on her rear quarter. She cried out and trembled and held her leg up. There was zero indication of a problem before that and big indication of a problem after. Whether she was predisposed toward or not, there was no problem. So I don't know that it really matters whether she was predisposed to it but showed no problem and would've never had a problem if not for the injury or what. Who cares? She has a problem now and it happened immediately upon her fall. It was me, not my vet, that it said it was from injury, not genetic. Perhaps I was wrong, but I was intending to indicate that I knew exactly what happened and when.

Lzrddr, have you had a dog that has experienced a locating patella and you were speaking from that experience? I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I am surprised, I guess, that more people on this forum haven't experienced it or, if they have, aren't commenting on it. I have, of course, read a lot about it on the web, but was hoping that somebody who has actually lived It with their pet would comment. I would like first-hand experiences to complement what I have already read and learned.

My dog's symptoms are more severe than what you said most small dogs experience. Sometime she is fine and I would say about 30% of the time she is holding it up and trembling or skipping as a tripod, not touching it to the ground at all.

I'll take it from here with the vet. Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 5:54PM
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