Big Pupi and the 'Tale of the Wobbly Knee':
Aloha folks. My cousin Paisley made it through surgery just fine and she gets to go home today!Turns out that she had the most severe level of luxating patella, and it's a wonder that she was able to swim, run and play for so many years before needing surgery. In case you didn't click thru to read about the condition in Stanley's previous post, I'll give you a brief run down~
Luxating patella is a condition in which the knee cap (patella) doesn't like to stay where it belongs. In a proper knee joint there is a deep groove that runs at the base of the femur bone (that really big bone that extends from the hip to the knee). It is this groove that keeps the patella and its ligament gliding smoothly in place at the front of the knee. The whole thing stays pleasantly lubricated with joint fluid, and the proper alignment creates proper movement and balance with the quadriceps muscles (those hefty guys at the front of the thigh).
In dogs with luxation problems, the deep groove that keeps the patella and ligament in place exists in various degrees of "not good enough" to "non-existent." In most cases the outer ridges that give the groove its shape exist only on the outside portion of the bone, leaving the inside too shallow to hold the patella in place. The patella and ligament will then jump out of the groove (luxation) and slide over towards the inside of the leg. This creates great pain for the dog as there is no lubrication, the joint becomes locked in a bent position, and the quadriceps muscle is taken out of alignment. The knee will often eventually find its way back into place, but it's temporary and the condition causes a lot of pain.
My grandhumans spoke to 2 doctors and got 2 opinions on Paisley. Some dogs with very minor luxation problems can avoid surgery all together, and they didn't want her to go under the knife if she didn't have to. One doctor said that Paisley most definitely needed the surgery, and the other said that they should wait and see how she progresses. They decided to keep a close eye on her but in just a short time their original suspicions were confirmed - Paisley cried, limped and well.... Paisley needed the surgery.
It was only during her surgery that the doctor discovered that she didn't have any groove in her knee at all. It was completely smooth and the patella and ligament had absolutely nothing to limit their lateral movement. Ouch! The way that they solve the problem in surgery (this is the G-Rated version) is to carve a groove into the knee and make a little home for the patella, and then pin the ligament in place to ensure that it doesn't try to make any more escapes. I sure hope that patella finds its new home groovy. Ha ha ha... er... okay.
Despite the fact that bones and ligaments are being altered and moved about, recovery isn't supposed to be too bad. In fact, the doctor said that the most painful part of it all is the incision made to get to the knee joint - not the actual knee surgery. Paisley's movements will be limited for quite a while, but she should be better in no time at all. And the best part of this surgery is that if she behaves herself while healing that the problem will most likely be fixed for good - success rates for this procedure are over 90%.
So here's to Paisley with her brand new knee joint. I'm sure she's excited to get home and be spoiled as her mom and dad's little patient. I bet there's lots of treats, chew toys and belly rubs involved and that's kind of awesome!
Play hard, be healthy,
Tuesday, January 6, 2009