Luxating Patella – A Dog’s Trick Knee


Luxating Patella – A Dog’s Journey

(Scroll down for the latest post-op and recovery adventures!)

By: Skye the Golden Retriever along with Bonnie Sweebe

Hi! I’m Skye the golden retriever and I have luxating patellas. A luxating patella is also called a trick knee or a dislocated knee. A luxating patella actually refers to the knee cap or patella when it slips out of place. Luxate means dislocate and patella means knee cap. It causes discomfort, but the knee cap pops into place if I stretch correctly–and I’ve learned how. I was told this is a condition I was probably born with, but it was just recently discovered.

I will be journaling my experience from diagnosis through surgery to post-recovery and paws crossed, surgical success. There will be ups and downs but the goal of this journal is to educate and comfort other dogs who have been diagnosed with similar conditions–not to mention calming human nerves.

So read along and wish me well as I go on a journey of healing. Ready or not, here we go…

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 – Appointment with veterinarian for annual shots. I’m a two-year-old golden retriever that loves to run in the backyard and chase my four-year-old golden playmate, Sydney. Normally, running and tumbling isn’t a problem, but sometimes my knee caps pop out. It’s a shock and it startles me, but I’ve learned to compensate by stretching my leg until it pops back in. Until today, no one has noticed it. They’ve overlooked the fact that I climb slowly onto the couch, mistaking it as being polite and meek. But today, during my physical exam, the vet spotted the issue and referred me to a specialist. My journey begins.

Monday, August 22, 2011 – Appointment with the specialist. I knew this was going to be a strange day when I wasn’t given my morning breakfast. (That’s never a good sign.) I went on a long car ride instead, to the orthopedic specialist who examined my knees and mentioned that both knee caps were floating. My right patella or knee cap is a grade 2 (the knee cap slides out of place during activity, but slides back in place with motion). My left knee cap, however is a grade 3 (the knee cap slides out of place and is out more than it is in, resulting in minimal pressure being placed on the leg during activity) and must be surgically corrected. This is concerning.

Thankfully, I am going to a very good veterinarian who is a member of the Veterinary-Orthopedic Society and the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management. He also reviews orthopedic studies for Veterinary Surgery, a big deal medical journal. Mom says I am in good hands. He is also a friend of a family friend and right now a friend is a very good thing to have!

Before I could explain to you exactly what my surgery would entail, I needed to have x-rays taken. For that, I was sedated. I don’t remember much of what happened and I certainly don’t remember this picture, but Mom said when I came home I went potty, found a cool spot and just passed out. I’m a real light weight.

My playmate, Sydney, was kind enough to come over and comfort me. Mom said she truly acted concerned. That is nice. Caring is good right now!

But when I woke up a half hour later and saw that Sydney turned the situation into a photo op, I knew things were back to normal. Sydney 1; Skye -0-.

The x-rays need to be read by the specialist. As soon as he’s examined them, he will give Mom a call with a surgical treatment plan. There are two surgeries: the easier one that secures the knee cap and the more complicated one that involves that AND correcting a bent femur (thigh bone). If I have to pick, I’ll pick option number one because correcting a bent femur sounds ouchy. I’m really glad that he’s a specialist in surgical pain management, too.

So now I just sit and wait for the phone to ring. I think I’m getting a stomach ache.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 – The surgeon called. Stomach ache warranted. After reviewing the x-rays, I do have a bent femur and require the more extensive surgery. Why? Because if they perform the knee cap stabilization without the femur correction, the bend of the femur may cause the problem to reoccur. So if I am going to go through surgery, I may as well have the surgery that has the higher rate for stabilizing the patella (I do not want to go through this again!) and gives me the best chance for a better life. I do have a lot of life yet to live!

My surgeon will completely cut through the thickness of my femur bone. Then he will take out a wedge to correct the femur’s bend. After that, he will stabilize the knee cap and sew me back up. Of course I exclaimed that the whole thing sounded pawsitively painful!!! The surgeon assured me that cutting through the bone is not really painful, that a fracture to the bone is actually painful because of the surrounding damage to the tissue, etc. not because of the bone itself. But the surgery will involve some surrounding tissue and there will be pain and I will be on meds. (PHEW!)

I am trusting my surgeon who says that he probably performs this type of surgery more than anyone he is aware of in the state, and that the surgery has been shown to be well tolerated in dogs. There will be no physical therapy prescribed. I could do it at my discretion, but he hasn’t seen enough evidence that added physical therapy actually helps the recovery any more than what my body will do on its own. (I was looking for a spa package–rats!)

My surgeon said there is no immediate rush for the surgery, so I am going to get my human brother off to his last year of college and let Mom and Dad attend a friend’s wedding already scheduled in California before I go under the knife. Yikes!

The surgery will be scheduled for mid-October and I will keep you updated with text and photos, so do check in on me from time to time.

Til then, paws crossed!



Monday, October 24, 2011 – My Last Night Luxating.  Mom made me this cool apartment right off the kitchen. That way, she can sit next to me at the kitchen table and I can hang out while she works.  It turned out really nice and I’m away from my golden sister physically, but I can still see what’s going on.  It is my last night with my luxating patella.  Will I miss it?  I’m worried.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 – Surgery Day!  Ready or not, here I go.  We left for the hospital at 6 a.m. It was a 45 minute drive, plus paperwork.  They checked me in and off I went.  I don’t remember much after that.  I didn’t even hear the razor when it shaved my entire left side.  Later, Mom told me that the surgeon called around 2 p.m. or so.  He said that the surgery was a success and that I was resting comfortably.  I truly was. They had me on something called morphine.  I also received an epidural.  I was in no pain at all.

The surgeon explained the operation this way: A shallow groove was deepened to secure my patella (knee cap).  My tibia (shin bone) was then elevated to the outside.  My femur was not twisted as much as suspected, but still an adjustment had to be made.  He completely cut through my femur and straighten it.  Then he crafted a bone to accommodate the screws that will hold the new configuration in place.  My x-rays showed that both of my hips are solid.  He also said that my right knee is not perfect, but it should never need to be operated on.  Hooray!  My prognosis post-op is excellent.  The doctor is very pleased.  I would be too, but I am much too out of it.  I only drool…

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 – The morning after.  What a difference a day makes.  The epidural is wearing off. So is the morphine.  Ouch!  They have transitioned me to oral medication, Tramadol for pain, Rimadyl for pain and inflammation and the antibiotic, Cephalexin to ward off infection. I was surprised that the 6″ – 8″ long incision did not have a boo boo band-aid over it or an air cast.  Nothing.  My entire left side from my hip down to my ankle is shaved bare.  I can’t put weight on the boo boo leg and I feel a little loopy.  They said I ate dinner last night (don’t remember that) and I gobbled down my breakfast.  The oral meds are kicking in and I think I am going to be all right.

Potty time?  I’m supposed to get up?  Seriously?  But I did it and I tri-podded outside on leash and went potty. Potty now requires a whole different body position, but I figured out how to squat without pressure on my boo boo leg.  I did it!

Mom and Dad came to pick me up at 3 p.m.

I don’t look it, but I was so happy to see them.  They bought me a new toy and I got lots of hugs and kisses. After that, they took a closer look at my boo boo and the assistant told them about my medications, when I needed them and how to care for me when they got me home.  Here is a picture of my boo boo.

This is what I am allowed to do:  NOTHING!  For the next two weeks, I am to lay around in my apartment.  I can only go out on leash and I can only go potty and back.  Then I take my medication and lay down again.  For two whole weeks!  My golden sister is going to sit on the other side of the gate and torment me.  I’ll probably lose my mind.  But before I do, I see the surgeon again.  I don’t have stitches to take out (they are all inside), but he wants to see me to inspect the incision and make sure it is healing properly. Mom says he can also tell by looking at it whether I’ve been taking it easy or not.  So I have to lay here.

If all goes well, I’ll be allowed a little more activity.  Maybe a very short walk here and there but NO ROUGH-HOUSING or JUMPING for another six weeks.  That takes me to the end of the year.  New Year’s Day will be glorious for me.  It will be a new year with a new knee.  Until then, I take my drugs and await my two-week check-up.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 – Day Two Post Op

Diagnosis: Luxation-Patella-Medial-Grade III-Left
Procedure: Distal Femoral Osteotomy and MPL (Medial Patella Luxation)

Yesterday, I spent most of the day sleeping. I was alert and comfortable.

I found out some more details about yesterday. My Diagnosis was “Luxation-Patella-Medial-Grade III-Left”. During the operation, in addition to anesthesia, they performed a bupivacaine/morphine epidural so I didn’t feel the incision made on my left stifle. They surgeon deepened the trochlear groove, that part where the patella or kneecap makes contact with the femur or thigh bone. The patella (kneecap) is supposed to move up and down vertically along this trochlear groove. If it moves sideways, it produces PAIN!

My trochlear groove was not deep enough to hold my patella (kneecap) in place. My patella (kneecap) was floating (luxating) off the track all over the place causing pain. Sometimes my patella (kneecap) floated (luxated) so far off track that it couldn’t find its way back easily. Like a kid’s wooden train set, the groove was so shallow that there was nothing there to keep the train (my patella) on the track (the trochlear groove). Everything rubbed against each other and that could’ve caused cartilage is damage. Eventually, it hurt so bad that I was lame, not using it anymore because it hurt so much!

Misplaced ligaments were then relocated to the outside of the tibia (tibial tuberosity transposition) and imbricated (overlapped).

Then they performed the osteotomy (cutting of the bone and removing a piece of bone). My femur was malformed/bent. If the femur wasn’t corrected and made straight, the bend of the femur (even with the deepened trochlear groove) could push the patella (kneecap) off track again. The bone had to be repaired.

The location of the part of the femur (thigh bone) down by my patella (kneecap) is the “distal femoral” part, and the “osteotomy” is the cutting of that bone. The femur was cut, a wedge of bone removed to allow for realignment and the two ends of the femur were rejoined now in a straight fashion (because of the wedge cut) and secured together with a fashioned bone plate and locking screws on the outer side of the stifle.

My medication regimen consists of:

100 mg of chewable Rimadyl per day

100 mg every 8-12 hours of Tramadol

500 mg of Cephalexin three times a day to ward off infection

Dasuquin® glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate twice a day for 6 weeks then once a day for life to decrease inflammation and joint damage.

So there you have it! I’m going back to sleep.

Friday, October 28, 2011 – What in the world is this!!!

I woke up with increased swelling, especially near my ankle, and this colorful display.

And this!!!

I wasn’t licking it. I swear. Mom took a picture and emailed it to the doctor.

He was not alarmed. He told her to apply warm compresses to my red inner thigh area. Within days the redness disappeared. That was weird.

Approximately November 1, 2011 – Stitches split!

Okay, so I was out pottying and pulled a bit and turned and oops—Ouchy! I hopped on three legs back into the house. Mom looked at my leg, took a picture, and emailed it to the doctor. I hope I’m not in trouble.

I was told to rest and was given another round of antibiotics for infection, just in case. In two days, it started to scab up again. Phew! I must behave myself.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 – Two Week Post Surgery Check-up

I got out of the house!!!

Well I’m back from my first road trip since my surgery! I’m exhausted. The veterinary hospital floor sure is slippery. It was hard to keep upright and I kept wondering if I would slip and screw up my knee. But everyone was careful with me and the appointment went very well.

Prior to surgery, my lameness was a 4 (not using the leg at all). Now, my lameness is a 2 (using it slightly and limping). The doctor took me into the exam room and fully extended my knee. It felt strange but the doctor said I had no pain and good range of motion. I still hop with it bunched up, though. I’m not convinced quite yet.

For the next six weeks, everything remains the same. I have restricted activity in a confined area and should be crated when not watched. No playing with Sydney. Small walks on leash only with a 10 minute maximum for potty purposes only, then back to confinement. I just might lose my mind!

I am allowed to take a bath now. The stitches are healed. Big deal, right?

So my next appointment is December 21st. They will drug me and take x-rays. That means no food in the morning and my appointment isn’t until 2:30 p.m.!

Hopefully, four days later in my Christmas stocking I’ll receive a new ball and can go play again! Paws crossed!

Saturday, December 3, 2011 – Five and a Half Weeks Post Op:  Here I am again.  No change.  Do you see a change?  I don’t see a change.  I’m being really good but I am so bored that I think I’ve lost my mind!

luxating patella post op

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 – Visitation:  I was granted supervised visitation today.  It was wonderful.  I am so bored.  Did I tell you how bored I am?  What would I do without my West Paw Bumi?

luxating patella

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 – 8 Week Post Op Appointment with Surgeon:  I haven’t had anything to eat today and it is 2:15 p.m.  I’ve learned that no breakfast means I am going to get stuck with a needle.  Good times.  I’m kidding!

When we arrived at the vet hospital, the surgeon injected me with a drug that put me to sleep.  Then he took radiographs of my left leg, the one that had the surgery.  He put me out so that he could properly position the leg.  He also did it because he was planning on yanking it a bit and checking for mobility.

When the radiographs were taken and the exam was over, I was given another drug to wake up.  My left leg was a bit sore and I was really groggy.  Mom was allowed to take me home to my confined space to rest.  I ate dinner six hours later.

Mom said that doctor said that the radiographs showed that everything was in the proper position.  (Then why does it hurt to walk?)  He said my mobility was good, that I had a little arthritis in the surgical area already (and I’m only two!), so I would have to keep taking one tablet daily of Dasuquin for the rest of my life.  It will help decrease inflammation to the area and make my joints more comfortable.  He said that the knee of my other leg, the right leg, was popping in and out.  We already knew that and it wasn’t as bad as the left leg.  The doctor said to watch it and if I discontinued using the right leg, I would have to go through this again on the right leg.  You don’t want to know what I was thinking when I heard that.

The doctor gave me a schedule to follow for the next seven weeks.  It is as follows:

December 21 – 28, 2011:  I get to go on longer leash walks, 15 minutes besides the regular potty breaks.  I am also allowed free access to the first floor of the house.  I can try to do stairs, just a few and on a controlled leash.

December 28 – January 4, 2012:  My leash walks can be increased to 30 minutes.  If I show any signs of discomfort, I am to scale back again.  It is better to do several short walks than one big 30 minute walk.

January 4 – 11, 2012:  My leash walks can be increased to 45 minutes total, split up.

Janaury 11 – 25, 2012:  We do just what we were doing last week, but now on a retractable leash.  Mom hates retractable leashes, so she’ll probably use the longer green leash.  I can also have free roam of the entire house.  Woo hoo!

January 25 – February 7, 2012: If I am comfortable with it, I can go off leash WITH supervision.

February 8, 2012: If I am doing well, I can resume normal activity.

What will normal be???

The remaining posts will be video clips of my progress as I don’t expect anything medical to be occurring and I have no further follow-up visits unless I wipe out on the ice and break the knee this time.  I thought the videos might be helpful if your dog has to have the surgery.  The visual will give you a better idea of what to expect.

And this video shows Skye one year post op, recovered and using the leg quite nicely.

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

Bonnie Sweebe is a dog lover, dog owner, dog advocate, and rescue and service dog organization volunteer. She is also the owner of, an online dog gift delivery company.


98 thoughts on “Luxating Patella – A Dog’s Trick Knee

  1. Thanks for sharing Skye’s journey to recovery. Our 14 month old Westie also has been diagnosed with luxating patella. Our surgical consult is next week. It is great to see what we can expect if he needs surgery. Skye looks like a great dog!

  2. hi my name is paige my puppy has LP the vet wants to do surgery and i was wondering how your puppy is doing with the surgery this far down the road? is everything still okay?

  3. Hi Paige! Skye is doing just fine. She is exactly the same as in the second video above entitled Surgery Post Op 1 Year and this is post op year 3. I hope that gives you encouragement and hope! Let us know how the surgery goes, okay? And reread my journey when you get discouraged. It seemed like it took forever and certainly had its ups and downs (especially when her leg turned all red and stitches popped) but it’s going to be all right. Deep breaths!

  4. Thank you for this lovely way of describing the operation and recovery. My older dog had hers done a year ago when she was 12 and made a full recovery. She also tore her cruciate ligament and needed an artificial one. Today my other little girl who is just under a year old has had both knee caps fixed at once. The vet has reassured me that the recovery rate is really good when they have both done but having been through this already, I know I’ve got what seems like a never ending slog to complete recovery. However I also know having it done will save her a lot of problems in the future.

  5. Oh Alison, thank you for the kind words and I’m so sorry about your second round of knee issues with your other dog. I have read that doing both at once forces the pups to get up and get going. What choice do they have, right? Breathe deeply. You are doing the right thing and they are so lucky to have you! If it is any consolation, I also raise service dogs and my latest one was just released at 1 yr. old for severe hip dysplasia. I adopted her and will get her hips fixed, which might mean a total hip replacement. Oh I cringe…but what are you going to do? Right? They’re like your kids and you wish them the best life possible. So in the future, expect a blog post on total hip replacement surgery. Sheesh, it never ends. Keep us posted!

  6. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Bonnie & Skye. :) I’m so glad to see/read that Skye is back to normal and surgery was a success. My 3 year old, Marilyn (mini pin) is having the bilateral patella surgery within the next couple of months and your story helped give a realistic expectation for the amount of time recovery will take. Happy holidays!

  7. Skye looks great after the op, one of my Cavalier King Charles Spaniels has had a Luxating Patella operation five days ago and is progressing well, his name is Romeo.

  8. Philip:
    Thank you for your kind words. Give my best to Romeo and give him all the time he needs to heal. The key now is a safe and restful healing.
    Take care!

  9. Hi!
    This blog is great! Very helpful for a nervous mommy! Our newly adopted rescue dog is 14 months old and was diagnosed with LP in her right leg just before we adopted her. She goes in for surgery on Friday and this was a great read! Our dog, Apple (Staffordshire bull terrier/Jack Russell terrier mix), is having a terrible time with her leg, when all she wants to do is run around and be a dog! I have hope now, from reading this, that she will make a good recovery and get to be as energetic as she likes!

  10. Courtney:
    Thank you for your kinds words. I understand your anxiety. Believe it or not, it is a fairly common surgery. It’s so important to have confidence in your surgeon and listen to his/her rehab instructions. Best wishes for a successful surgery on Friday for your Apple. She’ll be in our thoughts and prayers. If you remember, let us know how she does. You’ll be an encouragement to others. Go Apple!

  11. Thank you sooooo much for posting this! Our pup just came home from the surgery and I’ve been a nervous wreck ever since. I do have a question, would it be ok to put her into a pen (inside) versus a kennel. I noticed yesterday she had bumped it against the side of the kennel when she was trying to get comfortable. I just feel like she doesn’t have enough room in there. Also she has gone number two at all since the surgery. I assuming because it hurts to squat any suggestions??

  12. Evelyn,
    Sorry I took so long to respond–I was on vacation. Yes, a pen would work, too. Actually anything will work that will keep your pup confined and safe yet still comfortable. Regarding no stool a day after surgery? Perfectly normal. It has something to do with the anesthesia. It happened to Skye as well. Your dog will eventually go. It may look a little different at first but will go back to normal soon. Let us know how your pup progresses!

  13. Update!
    So it’s been a full three weeks since Apple’s surgery. The first few days were hard. She was very vocal when I picked her up from the vet and her first few hours home- almost broke my heart. She was telling me all about it, “What is this stupid cone? Please take it off! How am I supposed to pee?!?” But I was firm- she kept her cone on (she got used to it, then figured out how to use it to play with her toys). There was a bit of a scare after the bandage came off to find she got to the bottom bit of her incision with the edge of her cone (blood everywhere!)- so the vet gave us a bigger cone, which was ridiculous, but helped loads. She had to wear it for a full two weeks (I wasn’t risking any licking!) I gave her all her medicine in peanut butter, which she loved. Also, there was no problem with her eating or her toilet habits, other than getting used to cone and leg (hard to sniff out the right spot with a massive cone). Vet was impressed with her recovery 10 days post op when her stitches came out, she started putting her toe down the day after the surgery. She sleeps in a little area off the kitchen and we don’t take her outside without a leash on still, but she’s been able to go up and down stairs (Vet said it was ok given her progress) this past week since her cone came off. She still has some soreness/stiffness in it on walks, or right after she wakes up, but seems to be using it about the same or even slightly better than before the surgery. The vet has suggested 4 twenty min walks per day. The next check up is at the end of April- so hopefully it will be smooth sailing! (fingers crossed). Will try to remember to update as we go along!

  14. Courtney–Hooray!
    You are such a good doggie mom sticking to your guns about Apple wearing the cone. It sounds like she is doing fantastic! This news will be such a relief to first time readers who just got the diagnosis and are scared to death to do the surgery. As time progresses, that knee will get stronger and stronger. I never expect perfection, but if that knee turns out better than when she went in and she’s able to run and play then the surgery was definitely the right thing to do. Now the knee is stabilized and won’t get worse.

    Hang in there. You are doing terrific! Woo hoo!

  15. I can’t thank you enough for this! My little girl had LP surgery today, and had a lot of trouble getting comfortable this evening. Your blog is getting me through the 2am panics! Thank you Skye & Bonnie!

  16. Hello Caroline!
    Thanks for your kind words. There are a lot of comments on this thread which tell you this is not only a common surgery but a worrisome one. Hang in there. We’ve all been in your shoes. There is light at the end and a more stable knee for your pup. And as if Skye’s knee wasn’t enough, I have another dog who at 13 months just got a total hip replacement. That’s a rehab of a totally different color.

    Have hope. Every day is one day closer to total recovery.

  17. Another update on our Apple! Today is 6 weeks since her surgery and she’s doing very well. I came home last night from a meeting to find that she has figured out how to get over the baby gate we had put up for her in her little room to limit her movement a bit after the surgery- so I think she’s trying to tell us that she’s done with that! I’d say now that she is using her leg slightly better than she did before the surgery, still holds it up from time to time, but is consistently walking on it, jumping on the couch/bed, going up and down stairs, etc. Her next vet check up isn’t until the end of the month, but it all looks very well. I can’t believe how fast she’s recovered- I am hoping it is down to getting this done while she is still quite young (she’ll be 16 months old next week). I think that she may be a best case scenario example, I was really expecting more difficulty, but it’s been absolutely amazing. I will post again after her next vet check up in a couple of weeks!

  18. Courtney, that is FANTASTIC news! There is life after this somewhat scary surgery. Go Apple! Keep us posted.

  19. Thx so much for this blog, my dog Zara had her LP 3 days ago, it was very scary bringing her home, I felt so mean putting her through this, she is in her cage as we speak, but I do let her walk around every so often as well as toilet visits, am I wrong doing this? She is otherwise happy and takes her meds, I understand no walks until after 4 wks but happy her stitches will be out in 2wks, no collar was needed I’m glad to say. Thx again if poss can u say if I’m wrong letting her walk around a little, thx

  20. Hi Lynne!
    I’m glad it’s going so well for Zara. Please be careful and not walk her beyond her having to go potty. Skye’s stitches split and I was very careful with her. Zara’s wound is trying to heal. No compromises. Do EXACTLY what your vet tells you. They know what to expect. Thanks for sharing and keep us posted! Go Zara!

  21. Final update on Apple-
    Last vet check went well! We’ve been able to have her off lead now…AND I’ve been able to take her on a couple of short runs! She still has occasional limping/soreness, but I haven’t noticed any in a few days. The vet thinks that the knee is about 80% healed and that the final healing will occur over the next 2-3 months. He still thinks that her other leg will be fine without surgery, though it also has some minor issues. Just keeping our eyes on it for now. I’m soooo happy for her! She’s made an excellent recovery…now if the hair would just grow back now….it’s taking ages to come back in! Thanks for this informative and supportive blog!

  22. Courtney and Apple–Hooray!
    It sounds like the surgery was a great success! It’s great that she’s using the leg well and moving around. What a perfect time to recover because summer is almost here!
    Congratulations and I’m glad this blog and its contributors have helped!

  23. Thank you for this blog. I have a shih tzu who has LP in his leg at grade 3. Oreo is 1 1/2 years old. The other leg is grade 1. I am so extremely concerned about this surgery and what it all entails. Only want what is best for my fur baby. I have the surgery scheduled for october 5th. This way will be healed before the winter months. I am so uneasy about what will come for my Oreo.

  24. Hi Susan:
    So sorry to hear about your shih tzu’s grade 3 luxating patella. I understand your anxiety. Please remember that this dislocating knee cap doesn’t get better and that your goal is to make your dog’s life better from here on out. If you like your orthopedic surgeon, then have faith in him and listen to his after care instructions well. Follow them exactly. This is a LONG recovery and it must be a slow one as well. Don’t do too much too soon. Give it time and be patient. Next summer, you’ll be so glad you did it. Be careful this winter if you’re in a snowy or icy climate. Take care that he or she doesn’t slip and fall. Let us know how the surgery goes and read all the other posts here. You’ll realize we’re all in this together and rooting for you! Keep us posted. All the best!

  25. I\’m not one who posts on boards very often, but I had to come out and say thank you for this. My girlfriend and I dropped our 2 year old pit mix off this morning for surgery for grade 3 luxating patella. As first time dog owners we were very nervous and neither of us have had any real experience with animal surgeries. Thank you for taking us through Skye\’s journey. It gives us more insight as to what the recovery will entail.

  26. Sean:
    Thank you for your kind words. When you love dogs as much as we do, hearing they will have surgery is devastating. Not knowing what to expect is very frightening. Read the comments on this blog. They’re very good and you’ll be reassured that you’re not alone. We’re all rooting for you! Let us know how it goes and take recovery very seriously. You’ll be glad you did! All the best!

  27. Hello, thank you so much for the explanation of what to expect. My poor little baby who is two in November (she is a bishon frise cross toy poodle) will have this surgery on her right knee this Thursday and eight weeks later (all being well) she will have the second leg done. I feel terrible putting her in for surgery when she isnt \\”sick\\” if that makes sense. She is my best friend and i dont want to see her go through this. She is also a very hyper/active dog and keeping her calm and still will be hard work. Any advice on the helping them stay calm? Hope your doggies are well!

  28. Hi Laura:
    I’m so sorry your little pup has to have both knees done. If she doesn’t, she’ll probably have a poor quality of life and perhaps a lifetime of pain. So if your vet says it will help, do it for your pup’s sake. In a year or two, you will be glad you did. It is a long steady recovery, but she will recover. Regarding activity, I don’t know how to keep a small dog still. They can be so much more energetic and bouncy than a retriever. The goal is for your pup NOT to injure the knee while it’s healing. If you feel your dog might do this, express your concern to your vet/surgeon now before surgery so you have a plan on how to contain and settle her. Best of luck on the surgery and keep us posted.

  29. This post is so helpful, thanks you so much for blogging about Skye\\\’s journey with Patellar Luxation and I\\\’m glad she\\\’s had a great recovery.

    My 16month old Puggle Jango, has recently been diagnosed and most likely needs surgery as his left leg it totally lame and refuses to use it. We\\\’re due for XRays on Friday, I have been really worried all of this but readng your blog has helped me understand what is ahead of us so I think your for that.

    I really hope we don\\\’t come across any complications he has already had reactions to certain meds before. Plus I have no idea how I\\\’m going to keep him resting, we had a terrible time when he was castrated.
    Any advice would be great, hope all your little doggies from Previous posters are all better.

  30. Hi Terri!
    So sorry about your pup but take heart, the leg will work again! As far as keeping your dog resting, the only way to do it is to limit its surroundings. That means a crate. You may have to downsize your current crate so that the dog can comfortably stand, turn around and lay down. That’s it. No other activity. Of course it can come out to potty and will probably be encouraged to try to use the leg at that time, but that’s probably going to be it for activity for some time. Then short walks will begin. If your dog doesn’t like being crated and barks, this is where tough love comes in. You must confine her to let that knee heal or the surgery will not be a success and your dog will be in pain. Discuss your concerns about your pup’s active nature with your vet and listen to your vet’s advice. Everyone has the best interest of the dog in mind. Be strong. The recovery is long but goes by quickly and next year at this time, when your pup is running through the fall leaves and wagging its tail, you’ll be glad you did what you did. Keep us posted. We’re here for you@

  31. Our Golden Retriever puppy will be 7 months on 10-2-15. She will be having surgery tomorrow for Lateral Luxating Patella with the left knee. She is a Stage 3. She also is being watched for the right knee but it appears it\\\\\’s getting stronger. Your blog has been extremely helpful and reassuring to us. Our Vet is wonderful and found this at her 12 week appointment when she manipulated the knee and had not seen this in a large breed dog before. We have tried to keep a little puppy from jumping around or running like she should have been able to do, however it is now time for surgery. We are concerned about the long recovery time for a puppy this age and have our plan in place. We will keep you posted.

  32. Glad to see you got into the blog! Yahoo!
    Do keep us posted on her surgery. Follow your surgeon’s advice and keep the pup as inactive as possible except for potty breaks and rehab walking in accordance with your vet’s instructions. The worse thing would be a successful surgery and a reinjury during the pup’s rehab. It seems like a long recovery and it will have good days and not as good days, but in the end it will turn out fine. Prayers for a successful surgery!

  33. Our sweet little girl (Golden Retriever) is 7 months old today and she thinks this birthday is a bust! We tend to agree with her. Her surgery was a success on Wednesday and came home late last night (Thursday) as our surgeon felt she was doing well and would be happier at home. She was just spayed a month ago, and while she did not like the e-collar, she tolerated it. This time they had her in a larger one and she just crashed around in her crate, trying to climb out and howling. She has never once barked in her crate for the 5 months we have had her but she is so agitated that she urinated in there also. We both slept right by her last night with only a few winks possible. She did settle down for a couple hours after the 2:00 am medication. The biggest issue is taking her out as her signals now are so mixed because of wanting out of the crate. We are using a sling and releasing her to go but then she doesn’t – wants to chase her tail and jump. We have set up the downstairs perfect for non-slip areas and confined area by her crate in the kitchen so we can take the cone off and monitor her so she can chew something. Any further ideas would be appreciated as we are now wondering if some sedation would be helpful for her.

  34. The surgery was a success!!! That’s fantastic news! Now your job is to make sure she doesn’t injure herself so that the surgery stays a success.

    She’s very young. Skye was 2 years old, so you’re dealing with puppy energy. I remember Skye being very sedated. Looking at the post, she was on 100 mg of Rimadyl, 100 mg of Tramadol every 8-12 hours and 500 mg of Cephalexin 3 times a day to ward off infection. That would make anyone drowsy. Remember, they cut Skye’s femur in half to straighten her leg, as well. So her surgery was a little more complex. I’d definitely call your vet and explain the puppy energy. I used a soft donut cone instead of a plastic lampshade style e-collar, so that might help. It acts like a pillow when they lay down. Keep her area small so she doesn’t have the ability to move a lot and re-injure. She’s potty trained, I presume, so she may have been in pain, tried to get up, panicked and wet the crate. Does she rise to get out of the crate or do you have to pull her out? Rehab is so dog specific with no set rules except do everything you can so she doesn’t re-injure. Keep doing what you’re doing, call the vet for perhaps more sedation, and as the weeks pass you’ll see improvement–little by little, but you’ll see some–and she’ll be more comfortable as her incision heals. Hang in there! You’re doing a great job!

  35. Thank you so much for your helpful reply. It’s reassuring to know that we are on the right path and hopefully taking one day at a time, we will get to the desired result. Our Vet did prescribe a sedative and we are in the process of getting this right now and having her settle down enough outside.
    Yes, she is and has been potty trained pretty quick from when we got her at 8 weeks. I think she was terrified when the cone dragged against the side of the crate when she was trying to get use to the large cone. She does rise and come out of the crate as she wants out of there now at all costs.
    We have had a plan in place for many weeks knowing that she would have to have the surgery on the left lateral. Now to keep her safe from further injury is our task and I believe we are on the right track. Thank you again.

  36. You’re very welcome. We’re all in this together with slightly different methods and stories, but the same anxiety and concern. All the best to your sweet girl.

  37. Our puppy Amber has just had her 6 week appointment with the surgeon and we wanted you to know that she is doing wonderful. Her surgeon thought we did a great job with her. Phew! We can now take her for a walk around the block and jog a bit but still keep her contained when we are not right with her. This has been one of the hardest jobs for us to keep a 7-month-old puppy down as she fought us the whole way while showing the Golden Retriever smile! We will check in with him again in 2 to 3 weeks. Her right knee appears to be fine so we keep praying for that one. Thank you again for the blog as it was so helpful and reassuring.

  38. Ah, another happy puppy! I’m so glad things went well for you and your pup. When you hear the diagnosis, it’s overwhelming but you get through it by breaking the process into parts. So glad for you and that you found this blog helpful. Golden hugs for your pup!

  39. Hi I have a 7 month old lab mix that has luxating patella in both legs. She just recently became very lame within the past 2 weeks and is now really struggling to walk. I have a call in to a very good orthopedic surgeon so hopefully we can see the damage and get on a path to getting her happy and healthy again. One of my concerns is cost. Could you share with me the expense for these procedures? We want nothing but the best for our Lucy but I feel very blind about this.

  40. $2,500.00-$3,000.00 is not unrealistic, and it might go up or down depending upon complications. I’m sorry to hear this but know that there is hope for your pup. Keep us posted if you can.

  41. Hey there, my name’s Anna and I’m actually in Veterinary Technology school. Right now I’m taking an advanced surgery class and doing a presentation on the type of surgery that Skye had. I was wondering if we could swap information – like email – in case I had any questions that you could help me with.
    I really appreciate it.
    Thank you.

  42. Hello my dog is 4 mnds po and is still lame after rest and in the evening. He is fine in the morning. When did your dog stoped beeing lame? Sorry for bad Engelish.

  43. Hi Hilde!
    I”m sorry to hear about your dog. My dog remained lame until she got the operation. Without the operation, she would’ve been lame in the left leg off and on probably for the remainder of her life. I hope your dog sees a vet to evaluate the situation. There is help for your pet. Good luck!

  44. Thank you, we have been to the vet twice and he said the surgery was a succsess. The knee is not jumping out of place anymore.
    But my dog is still stiff or lame after rest and in the evenings so im unsure he will get a full recovery anymore. Is that normal after rest?

  45. I’m sorry Hilde. I misunderstood. No, it is not normal that the surgery is a success yet the dog is lame after rest. I’d call your surgeon. Skye is on lifelong Dasuquin, a glucosamine chrondrotin joint supplement. Your dog may be suffering from arthritis. Perhaps a pain reliever is needed. I can tell the difference between Skye’s surgically improved knee and her normal knee in the way she moves it, but by no means at any time after rest or after exercise is she lame. I’d definitely contact your vet. All my best wishes that your dog’s lameness is resolved.

  46. Hi,
    My 3 year old lab was diagnosed with this in January. The surgery schedule was messed up and we are just not preparing for it in just over 2 weeks. I keep questioning if it\’s the right thing to do. She she was diagnosed she\’d been lame for about 4 days in a row. Prior to that she\’d go back and forth, typically after a hard day of play. As we get closer, I question if this is the right thing for her since she is fine with limited activity. I was also told it was a 2 month recovery process, but based on the video, it looks like it will me more than that. I\’m one worried momma!

  47. I understand your apprehension. If surgery was scheduled, it must be in the range of necessary repair. This decision is totally up to you and depends a lot on what kind of life you envision for your three year old pup. After all, you control the dog’s life. Will it be a life of limited mobility? At three, that will be very hard. And there’s no guarantee with limited mobility that in the future the pup won’t go lame. Then what? You mentioned hard play. With a knee like that, further injury to ligaments could occur. Then there’s the issue of pain. Labs especially won’t show it. But there’s pain involved with a dislocated knee cap and possible arthritis. If the knee is fixed it will be stable and usable. But the decision, albeit a difficult one, is totally up to you and your veterinarian. My best wishes.

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