Doggie knees

I have a 20 month old Chihuaha mix. Saturday he fell awkwardly off the recliner arm, possibly hitting the wooden handle on that side. He lay on his side screaming I comforted him and he got up on three legs. I tried to check the leg and eventually he was toe touching, then using it gingerly.

Fortunately my vet was open and saw him a few hours later. She didnt find anything concerning until she used a good bit of pressure to luxate the patella. She said he was barely a grade 1 and should be fine. Sent me home with some carprofen.

The next morning he yelped again (I think he was gathering himself to jump). I helped push the patella back and he was shaken but okay. I figured only controlled exercise, but when I walked him that evening he had another small episode.

My googling had found a Big Clinic that works with braces and conservative treatment as well as surgery. Today I asked my vet for referral. My concern is that it is suddenly coming out repeatedly so something is stretched if not torn. I would love to be able to support it and have it hopefully tighten back up. Repeated luxations cant be good.

I had another bad knee dog, but his were more of the typical skipping and transient sticking type that didnt seem painful like this. He did ultimately have surgery…

Any words of advice?

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Your dog is youngish enough to still be high energy so it is going to be hard to make him rest the joint until it heals. Add in the fact that Carprofen is an NSAID used to reduce pain and inflammation, so as soon as he isn’t feeling the pain, he is going to start trying to run and jump and play. Common sense dictates that combination increases the risk of a re-injury or more serious damage to the joint (or another injury to another body part).

If it were me, I would seriously consider a consult with the other clinic. Perhaps they can provide or recommend a wrap or brace of some sort that will help support the joint long enough for it to heal.

With such a young dog I would contact a sport dog vet and see if they can get you a conditioning program to strengthen the muscles around the patella. Yes, it can be done if you are diligent and keeping any extra ounce of unneeded weight off of him will help too. Water therapy is an excellent option for such conditioning. A brace is a good idea for a sometime use item and to maybe get him through this rough bit where things have clearly been over extended a bit but you want to get him to get stronger without it or you might as well have repair surgery now.

Well ortho vet found one knee was a “2, verging on 3” and the “good” knee was a 2! So I have decided to book him for surgery in December on the worst knee. She felt it would ultimately be necessary and we may keep the other knee from progressing as quickly if we treat this one.

At least I do have some insurance to help. Not looking forward to the recovery period.

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