View Full Version : Does this sound like a Luxating patella problem?

3rd August 2010, 09:00 PM
My little Polly is 1 year 4 months old. Lately I've noticed her walking a little "funny" with her left hind leg, kind of stiff like. Also there have been 2 occasions where she was playing where she let out a yelp and started walking really stiff as if she was unable to bend her leg. She hobbled around for a few minutes and after I picked her up and gave her leg a little rub she went back to normal. I've looked it up and it sounds like a patella problem? I am rather surprised though if this is the case, as she is very young, and her parents and grandparents have all been rated "very good" by the orthopedic foundation. She is a very petite cavalier (she was the runt of the litter) at just over 10lbs. Not sure if her small size could contribute to the problem? She did come with a 2 year genetic health guarantee (would this fall into that category??) and also luckily, I health PetPlan insurance on her which should help should she need an operation....heaven forbid. I know our vet checked her over including her legs, how she was walking, etc when she was about 7 months old and didn't see any issues. She has a vet appointment next week but wanted to see what you guys thought? Thanks!

Cathy T
3rd August 2010, 10:38 PM
Sounds like a patella problem to me. Shelby was diagnosed at 6 months and had surgery at 1 year. Sounds very much the same, stiff legged walk. She never yelped but she's a pretty stoic little girl. I suppose the only positive thing is that the surgery is usually very successful.

3rd August 2010, 10:47 PM
Definitely sounds like a patella (Cathy and many others here know their patellas, having dealt with the issue, so there's plenty of knowledge and advice and support -- try searching 'patella' and you will get lots of threads :) ). Often they won't show as an issue as young as 7 months -- they are still growing. If it is bothering her to that extent at her age -- when bone growth will have pretty much stopped -- she will probably need the knee done. I'd let the breeder know. Being smaller probably would increase risk of patella problems as the joint is smaller increasing the risk that the knee socket will not be deep enough. Luxating patellas are a small breed problem.

I'd keep exercise to a minimum -- gentle short walks; don't let her jump on and off things or run around (hard with a young dog, I know!) til the vet checks her out. It is generally worth going to an orthopedic specialist. You'll need to talk to the breeder about what she includes as a genetic problem and what level of support she gives as this varies. Often the only deal is they offer to replace the pup -- which most people obviously do not want. On testing -- even when parents have a good test, offspring can be affected (as with any health issue -- the way genes work mean that you can always get the least likely outcome, an affected offspring from unaffected parents and grandparents, but proper health testing and good results loads the dice strongly in favour of any given offspring not having problems). The fact that she is undersized may well have influenced the fact that she has this issue, as well as the fact that she was also the runt -- runts are generally somewhat more prone to health issues. Did you see the actual patella certs from the breeder?

4th August 2010, 03:18 AM
Kosmo also had similar issues and ended up having bilateral (both sides) luxating patellas. I had no clue on the one side, but it was almost as bad as the other :eek: I had him into the vet for his annual in March *they said he was fine :(* and in June he went poop, let out a yelp and that was that. I took him into the vets afterwards and the X-ray confirmed it :( The good news is that he moves very well after the surgery!!

I would definitely second seeing a board certified orthopedic specialist. Good luck!!

4th August 2010, 04:42 AM
Thanks so much for the info. I really have a feeling that this is what is wrong. Most of the time she's fine but then I can catch her walking slightly funny. Most people probably wouldn't even notice, but a mom knows these things! I do have all the paperwork from her parents and grandparents showing their OFA test results, etc. I just emailed her breeder to let her know my suspicions and told her I would keep her updated. The thought of her having to go through surgery just breaks my heart, she's like a child to me and my best little friend. But it is comforting knowing that it is fairly common and the surgery is highly successful. Will keep you updated :)

4th August 2010, 02:14 PM
For us, the surgery wasn't bad at all!! Faith also has luxating patellas but she's not bad enough to warrant surgery *doesn't really show any signs* Recovery was a bit of a pain but honestly I'd do it again in a flash based on the results.

I personally think it's better to get her checked out sooner rather than later. If her condition does warrant surgery, the way it was explained to me, the longer the knee is allowed to pop in and out, the more damage it does, and the more complicated the surgery/recovery can be.

Good luck with everything!! :)

5th August 2010, 06:30 PM
Defo get her checked out, the surgery seems awfull when you're on the pre-surgery side but speaking now on 8 weeks after patella surgery I have to say it was the best thing I could have done for Lucy. She now runs almost normaly & completly free from pain. The first week after surgery was awfull & I has wished I hadnt gotten it done just coz she's a total livewire & she was confined, it broke my heart I tell you but now apart from her hair not quite grown back no one would ever know she had surgery!

There are many people on here who's dogs have been through it too who can offer info & support through it all, if I can be of any help dont hesitate in PM-ing me!

Ps - Lucy too is very small, at the date of surgery she weighed 4.5kg, I'd say she has put on a little weight since (as she was spayed 3 weeks before the patella surgery & was a little thin anyway)

5th August 2010, 08:01 PM
For what it's worth, I vote "yes", a luxating patella, too. I think the post-surgery period is more a pain for the owners than the patient.

Cathy T
6th August 2010, 01:43 AM
For what it's worth, I vote "yes", a luxating patella, too. I think the post-surgery period is more a pain for the owners than the patient.

That's the truth Rod!!:o

The nice thing is that after a week or so you fall into a new routine and then the rest of the time passes okay.....then you get "freedom day" and all is right again!

6th August 2010, 09:37 AM
The nice thing is that after a week or so you fall into a new routine and then the rest of the time passes okay.....then you get "freedom day" and all is right again!

That is soooooo true! Thankfully for us 'freedom day' has passed & things are getting back to 'normal' (whatever that is!!!);)

9th August 2010, 10:27 PM
Well we went to the vet today ( we recently switched over to a very well known holistic vet in our state seen on www.dogdoctor.us) and after examining Polly he said that her legs/knees actually felt very good amd her knees felt like they were pretty firmly in place and he could not move them around easily. I explained what had happened (when she let out a yelp and went hobbling around) and he said that some dogs will have that happen once in a great while, and as long as it doesn't become constant and alot more obvious, there should be no need for surgery. He said that in his 30+ years of veterinary care very few dogs with patella problems end up having it severe enough to have surgery and she looks very good and not to worry too much. So good news! :thmbsup:

10th August 2010, 09:58 AM
That's fab news... GO POLLY!! :thmbsup: