Getting Back To The Basics

A place to show the changes in our yard, our garden, our home, and our life.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Violet's Surgery - Luxating Patella

Anyone who follows me on on this blog or facebook knows of my woes regarding Violet's knee. Her rear right leg has been giving her issues since we moved out to Staffordshire Manor last summer. Her patellas luxate causing pain and hinders her play. She had never been diagnosed with luxating patellas - her whole life living in Seattle we had never witnessed her do the signature hop or skip which is the tell tale sign of a luxating patella. But after a week of country living we noticed that leg being held up occasionally - and thus began the bumpy road of where we are now.

Luxating patellas are super common, especially among small breeds. Patella issues aren't super common amongst Staffordshire Bull Terriers, but Violet was unlucky enough to fit into that minority. We noticed the hops and skips becoming more frequent, but even then I knew that wasn't a good enough reason to do surgery. It's a major surgery involving 6-8 weeks of crate rest and rehab. Not something to be taken lightly. Besides, most dogs carry on their whole lives with this issue without it ever needing to be surgically addressed.

The direction quickly changed though, after a day of heavy play with her puppy and two boys who visited for the day. After hours of playing and having a grand time the pups took a nap. She awoke lame and that knee just hasn't been the same since. Lots more skipping and was lame 90% of the time despite crate rest, cold laser therapy, craniosacral massage, and Rimadyl. One day she'd feel great and want to play with her puppy non-stop and the next day she'd snap at him for even thinking of playing with her. In other words, when she felt great, life was great. When she hurt, everyone could just go to hell and leave her alone. Watching her on the beach wanting to play but being unable to because of pain broke my heart. That is no way to live - especially for a young and active dog like Violet. She has many many more years of fun and active life ahead of her.

video of Violet and Tucker playing the night before her surgery
So we made the decision to have surgery which was done yesterday on 1/31/14. She came through surgery fine and the vet said it ended up being just a straight forward fix for that knee, which basically involves fixing the patella groove so it sits where it's supposed to better, basically making it more stable and less likely to slide out of place. Her ligaments were all in fine shape which is excellent news because with the sudden onset of her lameness I was worried there was a cruciate tear of some sort going on in there. Also of importance is the fact that by doing the surgery we've reduced her risk of cruciate tear in that leg down to 10% where as before surgery she was sitting at a 50/50 chance.

homeward bound

Her other knee luxates but it's not quite as bad as the right knee was. The vet said we could fix up her left knee at some point but I'm not too eager to pull that trigger. I'll probably just wait till she tells me it is bothering her. As long as it doesn't luxate too badly and doesn't seem to cause lameness I will leave it alone. Her risk for a cruciate tear will be higher - the luxating patella is what bumps up their risk factor - but that knee hasn't bothered her yet so that decision will sit on the back burner for now.

So now she's home much to everyone's relief. We have an ex-pen set up for her with lots of blankets to keep things soft and comfortable. She's on tramadol to keep her comfortable and sleepy. She'll be ex-pen bound for two weeks and then the staples will be removed. Once those are gone she can enjoy a little more freedom in the house but playing, running, and furniture will be off limits. To me that means she'll still spend a fair bit of time in her pen but if she wants she can walk around the house with me as I do chores, go get a drink of water, that sort of thing. And once the staples get removed she'll start her rehab which she's going to HATE because it involves walking on an underwater treadmill. Sorry baby girl, it's for your own good.

Stoned. So very stoned.

A huge bonus for Violet is I keep my pups trim - more trim than your average pet dog for sure. I won't go into a whole post about dogs and weight but your average pet dog is overweight and that is now what we're used to as being normal and healthy. The surgeon was pleased with her weight and no one had to lecture us about getting excess weight off her to help with her joints. An overweight dog with joint problems is a sad dog indeed.

So six weeks of torture and hopefully by then we'll be back to near-normal life and activities.

Wish us luck ;)

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