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has anyone ever had a dog with a luxating patella!!!

(6 Posts)
washingmachinefiend Wed 08-Jun-11 20:47:41

My beloved 16 month old lakeland terrier has been diagnosed with a luxating patella, that is a loose knee cap that slips out and causes him to limp for a bit until it goes back in.
He has been to the vet today for an xray to confirm this and is back now feeling very sorry for himself having had a general anesthetic.
I wondered if anyone out there has had a pet with similar and did you have an operation or have you managed it some other way.

I should be able to discuss this with my vet, but unfortunately he was far more concerned with how I would be paying for the treatment, and said he would only refer me to an orthopedic surgeon if I was definately going to have the operation and that I should be aware that they would want the money up front (approx £1000!!) and that I would then have to claim the money back from my insurance. When I said I didnt have £1000 to pay out, he just shrugged and continued to harrass me for the £220 we owe for todays xray. All this with my dog lying on the table barely able to hold his head up and lying in his own wee!!! I'm afraid I just walked out of the surgery, so will have to sort all that out tomorrow when I feel better equipped!

Anyway!! does anyone have any experience of this pesky knee cap problem..any advice would be welcome!

washingmachinefiend Wed 08-Jun-11 21:12:04


kochanski Wed 08-Jun-11 21:41:20

This is a common problem in small dogs. Whether surgery is the best choice for him depends on how severe his problem is. Standard advice is that young dogs that are lame will benefit from the operation. If the kneecap is popping out of its own accord then it will be causing abnormal wear and tear in the joint leading to early onset of arthritis. However, if the problem only happens infrequently and the luxation is less severe it may be better to go for conservative management. Arthritis will still develop if they have the surgery, there just won't be the lameness in the meantime.

The recovery period is about 3 months in total - quite a long time for a young lively dog.

With regard to the money/insurance situation you might be able to do a direct claim where they pay the vet direct? Some companies will pre authorise treatment for a particular condition ie effectively guarantee payment - useful in a non emergency case such as this.

You can always get a second opinion and should be able to go to a specialist for a consultation/advice if you want.

Hope things turn out well for him.

washingmachinefiend Wed 08-Jun-11 23:09:15

thanks for the advice, have just been a bit thrown by all this, and I didnt even want a dog! now I am desperately in love with one and he's broken!

Its a tough decision because the thought of him being out of action for 3 months is horrible, but if he got early arthritis because I didnt do anything about it I would feel terrible about that too.

just wish I had been able to talk to the vet a bit more without feeling so pressured by the finance thing!

Lizcat Mon 13-Jun-11 21:17:19

I have several patients with this condition. A lot depends on how often the slipping is occuring. Patients who it does not happen that often or pops back in often do very well on anti-inflammatories. Those for whom it is out more than it is in do better with surgery. Not every orthopaedic surgeon is that expensive the guy we use is about £700 for this surgery and all good orthopaedic surgeons will see you for a consultation (obviously they will charge) to talk through the options. I have many people who see our guy to have a chat and then continue with medical treatment. Most referral centres will do a direct claim, but many now want a deposit to hold against the insurance not paying though this figure can often be negotiated I have found.

washingmachinefiend Mon 13-Jun-11 23:22:37

thanks lizcat, am going to see another vet in the practice next week to discuss the options. At the moment it seems quite stable, and when it does pop out it goes back in of its own accord quite quickly.

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