Caring for Your Dog After Surgery to Correct Luxated Patella

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Despite the gravity of this terminology, a luxated patella or slipped kneecap is not an ER situation at a veterinary hospital. It is a cause for concern, but it is not life-threatening.

However, since you should always be monitoring your dog's behavior, you should consider testing your animal for the existence of this condition in order to prevent more serious conditions from developing. Granted, this condition can affect all sizes of dogs, but it is very prevalent in the smaller breeds. So if you own a small dog, you should schedule a test for this as soon as possible.

A good breeder already knows that this condition is hereditary, so as an owner, you should be aware of this as well. Once the puppy is 6 weeks old, it is recommended that they be tested for the condition, especially if it is a smaller breed of dog. The better breeders will take care of this prior to the puppy going to its new home.

The typical symptoms of a luxated patella are carrying the leg, limping, and skipping so physical testing and diagnosis will be determined by the amount of time that the dog's symptoms have been apparent. X-rays of the knee and thigh bone will determine how severe the condition is.

There are 4 grades of the condition from Grade I - monitoring the dog, no treatment required, to a Grade IV - most severe, surgery is the only option (please see the article entitled "How to Determine if Your Dog is Suffering from a Luxated Patella").

With Grades II, III, or IV, surgery will usually correct this condition and is usually performed by an orthopedic surgeon. The surgery includes the following steps:

correcting the dog's bone alignment

deepening the groove where the kneecap rides

tightening his joint capsule

Depending on the severity of the condition, the surgery will cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. Once again, the condition is not defined as being a dire emergency, but it is wise to consult your vet immediately if the dog is showing signs of this, and most definitely if you own a small breed. Remember that the longer the condition is allowed to worsen, the less successful the outcome of the surgery tends to be.

Once your dog's surgery is done, and it is time to take the animal home, your vet will recommend anti-inflammatory and pain medications to be taken for a period of 7-10 days. Additionally, it is imperative that your dog get plenty of rest and be restricted to only minimal activity. Here are some suggestions:

commence physical therapy seven days after the surgery

keep the dog on a leash when allowing them to go outside

keep your dog from exercising, jumping, and running around as this will put pressure on the knee

keep your pet in a small and comfortable room

Slow walks of 5 to 10 minutes maximum and possibly swimming are also recommended for about the first 6 weeks after bringing your dog home. It should take about 12 to 16 weeks from the time of the surgery for your dog to have recovered fully and be totally back to their normal self.

Jeff Nenadic from My Dog Shop - Spoil your dog a little bit with an upscale dog bed, an elevated dog feeder, or an airline approved dog carrier!

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