Patella Problem After Surgery on Dog’s Knee

Follow-up surgery may be needed to address complications after dog’s first knee procedure.


Q. My 13-month-old American Bulldog had patella surgery at 8 months of age, and is now lame in the same leg. She has been this way for two weeks. A recent X-ray revealed swelling in her knee, but nothing more. She will not put any weight on the leg--she just drags it. What are the possible reasons, and what should we ask our new vet. I wanted a second opinion because all the previous surgeon did was give her an anti-inflammatory.

A. Some dogs are born with a condition known as a luxating patella, where the kneecap pops out of the groove it normally slides up and down in. The corrective surgery consists of deepening the groove by slicing out a small portion of cartilage that lines the V-shaped groove.
Unfortunately, it sounds like your dog is having serious complications. Most likely, she will need another surgery to evaluate exactly what is going on, and make it right. If you’ve lost confidence in your original veterinarian, you can seek a second opinion.
Keep in mind, with all surgery there’s always a risk of complications. Some veterinarians do not always adequately discuss surgical risks prior to surgery because they’re worried about talking dog owners out of doing the surgery. Probably 10 to 15 percent of patellar surgeries have some sort of complication, most of which require repeat surgery to fix.
I would proceed with scheduling a follow-up surgery to diagnose and fix the problem in your dog’s knee.


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Nan   Cottage Grove, MN

2/7/2011 10:41:33 PM

My Cavalier had three knee surgeries. Two on the left knee as the binder didn't hold so three surgeries in 2 days. He was 4 months old at the time & he is now 7 years old & his left hind foot is so painful, or numb, he chews on it constantly & howls like a wolf. We had our vet + the U vet check him & they couldn't find anything wrong. Help? Any ideas?

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Nancy   Antioch, CA

9/12/2010 1:04:58 PM

My vet is recommending that my dog get his patella fixed. She is a little 4 lb chihuahua and does not suffer any pain and can run faster than any other dog I know. If there seems to be so many complications and she is not in pain - why would I do this to her.

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Elizabeth   Roseville, CA

8/18/2008 7:09:15 PM

I know how much this hurts humans. Poor doggies having to suffere from this!

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