The patella (knee cap) is a movable bone located over the knee that connects the muscles of the thigh to the lower leg. When the patella functions correctly, the dog can use the leg well. Patellar luxation is a dislocation of the knee cap most often seen in small dogs. Most of these animals are born with this problem and usually both knees are affected. A fall or twisting injury may aggravate the already existing condition.
A common symptom of this “trick knee” condition is a dog who occasionally holds the leg while running but spontaneously starts using it again.
This happens as the cap pops in and out of place. Often the dog will give out a short cry or yelp when this happens.
To prevent crippling arthritis and deformity of the knee, surgery is often recommended. Several different types of surgery have been developed and we will discuss the one that will most help your pet.
1. Limit exercise. (NO jumping, steps, or slippery floors!)
2. Exercise leg twice daily to prevent joint stiffness. BE GENTLE!
3. Give pain medication as directed.
4. Give antibiotics as directed.
5. Recheck in _____ days.
6. Sutures out in ten days.
7. Notify the clinic if any of the following occur:
(a) Severe pain or discomfort.
(b) Swelling, redness, or drainage at the incision site.
(c) Constant chewing at the sutures.
(d) Vomiting or diarrhea.