Bob came into our clinic for a skin examination and a reported lameness in his right hind leg. After thorough examination, it was suggested that he have radiographs to determine the cause of the lameness. Bob was also started on a trial of anti-inflammatories, to see if this would elevate the lameness.
Bob revisited the following week, as he was still non weight bearing on his leg. Bob was admitted the next day to have an anaesthetic and radiographs taken. The radiographs concluded that he had a luxating patella. The patella is the bone commonly called the knee cap. Normal movement for the patella is to slide up & down within a groove on the femur (thigh bone, the bone above the knee joint) as the knee is bent and straightened. Sometimes a patella will luxate (dislocate), meaning it slips out of this groove to the side. This can be an inherited problem or can be due to trauma.
The signs of patella luxation also vary - from occasional skipping where the leg is carried with the knee bent for one or more steps, to significant lameness. These signs are usually evident from a young age; however mild cases may not be noticed by owners until arthritis develops. This occurs at a younger than usual age causing more obvious significant lameness. All patella luxations other than the mildest cases require surgical correction.
Bob was scheduled for orthopaedic corrective surgery. He was placed on another script of anti inflammatories to help with associated pain. Bob was very brave for his procedure; he was a favourite amongst the nursing team, as he was so cuddly. His surgery was a success; the surgeon was able to re-attach the patella with a cross pin technique. (Tibial crest transposition)
Bob will need to be kept confined for up to 6-8 weeks, with short minimal leash walks, gradually increasing in time. He is quite excited about the idea of being a couch potato and the centre of attention - anything to get extra cuddles!