Luxating Patella Surgery: Round 2

Well, here we go again…  Bailey and my two other dogs like to go crazy whenever someone comes over.  About a week ago I had a couple of buddies coming over to watch the fights.  When they got here the dogs saw them out the front window and all three of them jumped off the couch and sprinted to the front door.  We have hardwood floors and, unfortunately, while slipping and sliding on the way to the door Bailey hurt her back right leg.  We knew that this would eventually happen, but after a year and half with no issues we figured we may be okay after all.  The Cosequin we give the dogs seemed to be helping a lot.  Anyways, its a week later and I can tell she is in some pain.  When she tries to run now she will just stop and sometimes she will hold up the leg for a few seconds.  I called and set up an appointment with the vet to be seen on Friday and I guess we will go from there.  I’ll try to do a better job of updating the blog this time around.  I’m mad at myself because I don’t really remember the timeline anymore for her stages of recovery, but I am a lot more optimistic this time around after seeing the results of the last surgery.  More to come…


4 days down

Hello everyone,

Well Bailey is exactly 4 days into this process now and has exceeded all expectations.  She has shown very few signs of any significant pain and she has figured out that she is still pretty mobile on three legs.  We have been extremely stressed to say the least because the first two weeks are so crucial and she is so restless now.  She is tired of lying around and just wants to be involved in everything.  She has been sleeping in her Kennel at night and not crying or anything so that is a plus.  She does wake up early though and it’s on from there.  So far she has not really been messing with her stitches much.  She is being really stubborn about laying down and staying put.  I’m starting to think she is going to need more kennel time.  It stinks because we love her company and want to keep her with the pack, but she is not working with us at all.  I think it will be better for her because she needs to rest and recover.  Her stitches come out on Jan. 24th and we can start physical therapy at that point.   We can’t wait to get this leg back to normal.  I’m not sure if I mentioned her potty schedule but she is going no problem on three legs.  It took her a while to go because we were trying to help her with a sling and she would just stand there and look at us.  She had surgery on Wed. at noon and did not poop until Thursday around 3:00pm.  We are looking forward to hitting the 4 week mark as that seems to be where they really start walking on the leg again.  That’s it for now, thanks for reading!



Bailey’s Home

Okay we are home with Bailey.  She was wide awake when we picked her up and didn’t have her usual happy expression obviously.  She didn’t cry though and when they put her down she stood okay on three legs.  Her leg was indeed shaved from the hip down but her skin matches her hair so it is not too obvious.  She has a vertical scar about five inches long on her leg now and some stitches/sutures.  The incision looks good and aside from some general swelling she seems to be doing well so far!  Here is the link to a quick little video i took of her when she got home.

We picked her up promptly at 9:00 am and I asked the Vet my remaining questions.  She said the cartilage will repair itself in time and her knee should be almost perfect.  She always tells us that a leg that has had an operation will never be 100% again, but that Bailey will never really know it.  Dr. King told me not to Ice it and said that our bigger cage was okay for her as long as she couldn’t jump up and down on anything.  She said Bailey will not be able to jump on things for at least three months and to keep a close eye on her.

We got home and brought Bailey upstairs to our new recovery room and laid her down on the mattress we put on the floor.  We let the other dogs come in for a minute and have a sniff.  She was happy to see them but they are definitely a distraction for her.  After fifteen minutes or so of TLC we took her downstairs to have a bite to eat.  She ate really well, surprisingly, laying in her little bed in front of her water and food bowl.  She drank a lot of water but I have read that is normal for a dog in pain.  She got her medication at the clinic this morning so she should be good on that for the day.

When we took her out to go potty she was not very comfortable.  It has snowed a lot the last week and it’s still really cold.  We made a few slings for her out of scarves to help support her weight but she doesn’t like it very much.  She just stood there for a minute and tried to touch that leg a couple of times but picked it right back up.  It was shaking after a minute or so and she started leaning hard on her back right leg.  That is a little bit of a concern for us because the Surgeon and the Vet have told us that her back right leg seems to pop out a little easier.  She is lame in the left leg though and with the cartilage worn down as it was, it needed to be fixed now.  We are hoping that right leg can hold up for her.  She is going to be very inactive anyways and is taking a joint supplement now so it should be fine.  We will keep using the sling for a while and after a month she should be able to support weight on that leg.  She hasn’t cried once and really just seems to be relieved to be home.  I know those dogs are barking all day and people are running around everywhere so it must make it hard for her to rest.  She is sleeping now and seems to be comfortable so I am about to sneak out of here to upload some pictures and videos.   I have a Logitech video camera I am going to put in here with her so I can see and hear her while I am not in the room.  I can also check it from my phone or internet live at any time.  That will be nice.  It has audio so I will hear her if she starts crying.

It’s a huge relief to have her home and we feel pretty good about everything so far.  It is going to be a long couple of weeks but the stitches will be out in 12 days and then we should see some real improvements.  I have a feeling the time will fly.  From here on out I will probably only update this once a week.  I will take some better pictures up close when I get a chance. Until next time…..

Recovery Documents

We got the call at 1:00 pm that Bailey was out of surgery and everything went smooth.  Dr. King said that she would need to stay the night at the clinic but we have an appointment to pick her up at 9:00 am.  She told me that her cartilage was worn out pretty bad on that leg and she thought that was why she was experiencing some discomfort.  I hope that will regenerate with the use of this Glucose supplement, Cosequin, that we got for her.   I forgot to take Bailey’s Medicam (pain meds) this morning so I ran by there to drop it off.  She gave me the following documents that offer guidance for recovery.  You can see in the surgeons notes that he lists her as a class III LP.

Instructions from the Vet

Instructions from the surgeon

I have a few simple questions I still need to ask her but overall I think it will just be a patience game from here on out.  I will update again when we have her home and get situated.  Wish us luck!

Surgery Day

The ball is rolling.  We took Bailey into Dr. Kings office today for her surgery.  Her surgeons name is Dr. Bruce Turner and I am told that he has done this operation many times.  Dr. King said she will be there during the operation and that made me feel a little better.  We were given paperwork to sign that basically waived liability for anesthesia problems and said that the recovery is never a guarantee.

We took all food away last night at 10:00 pm and went to bed pretty early.  It was sad when she snuggled up next me and fell asleep to think that she has to sleep in a cage for the next couple of months.  She is going to hate that the most I think, being excluded.  They will prep her by shaving her leg from the hip down.  She has black skin so I don’t think it will be that obvious like some dogs I have seen :(.  She was in high spirits this morning but didn’t like skipping her breakfast.  She came into the room early and jumped on my face so I got up and hung out with her and Ashley for a little while.  We took her in at 9:00 am and her surgery is just before noon.  They said they will call and keep us updated throughout the process.  They let us take her bed and little blanket from her cage at home up there for her too.

I posted a video of her walking a couple of days ago and it has a pretty angle of her stride prior to surgery. Here is the link to YouTube if you want to view that. We will use this for a comparison later.

She has tweaked that left knee a couple of times over the last few days so we still feel good about taking care of it first.  We are really nervous and I hope she will sleep a lot for the first week or so.  I have heard the first three to five days are the hardest so we are ready to get through that.  They told us that she may come home today and the Vet will discuss that with us when the surgery is over.  I don’t really want her to stay there overnight, but this process is not about what we want and if staying there is better for her for some reason, that’s cool.  We live literally right around the corner so either way would be fine.  We are going to give her Medicam for pain per Dr. Kings advice.  She weighed in at just under 28 pounds today.  We will prob give her just shy of a 25 pound dose to be safe.  Duke is 24 pounds and he was given a 20 pound dose for some pain he was having after his last round of shots.

We are anxious but I think we have done our part up to this point.  We borrowed and bought a couple of baby gates to shut off the stairs for a while and I think we are going to stop having company until she heals up a little.  The other two dogs go crazy when someone comes to the front door and I don’t want her to get all worked up just to be left in her kennel to watch.  My mom has stressed to us that we will make her feel better by staying patient, calm and collected.  If we have confidence in her recovery she will pick up on that and follow our lead.  Great advice!  We are happy things are in motion and praying for a quick and easy recovery.  She is a trooper so I think she will do great.  Here is a picture of her and Duke.  Bailey is the Boston on the Left.  She was almost exactly a year old when I took this in November.

Luxating Patella Links

Here are some links to sites that have been the most informative for me and seem to be in line with what Dr. King told us.


Bailey’s luxating Patella

The new year has kicked off and I think I finally found something to blog about.  Bailey, our one year old Boston Terrier has been diagnosed with two bad knees.  Her patella, which is basically her knee cap, slips out of its socket due to a shallow groove that cradles it.  Her cases are still relatively minor, class II in both rear legs right now, but the problem will get worse over time without attention and eventually cause painful arthritis.  I decided to start this blog for others like me who need help and information about this disorder.  Considering how common this condition is I was surprised to find a somewhat limited amount of information about the recovery process and opinions varied.  I will document our process from start to finish as we repair both of Bailey’s patella’s.

We think the first incident was about two or three months ago when she jumped on the bed playing with our other dogs.  She sat down quickly and cried out in pain.  I thought at the time maybe she hurt her tail and we saw no evidence of any injuries so we just carried on and watched her for any other episodes…nothing.  Everything went on like normal in the time since, until Friday, the day before new years eve.  We were outside chatting with our neighbor and heard Bailey yelp out in pain.  This time I noticed she was sitting with her left leg fully extended out.  She seemed to fix it right away and limped for about five steps.  Once again, everything went back to normal and it was the weekend so we decided to watch her and call the Vet on Monday.  The next day the same thing happened inside while she was playing with Jake and we knew we had a problem.  The next night I moved my leg to make some room for her to lay down and bumped her leg and she cried.  This is when I started doing research online and caught onto the luxating patella injury.

So finally Wednesday arrived and we got to the Vet, Dr. Rhoads at All About Pets in Whitesboro Texas.  I took her to my Mom’s vet first because she is a little cheaper and comes with high recommendations, they are out in the country.  She manually took the patella out of place in front of me and confirmed the condition.  She said the right knee seemed pretty strong still and did not separate easily.  I was really relieved to hear this and made me think this was a trauma injury and not a genetic problem.  She did tell me it would need surgery and we should do it as soon as possible for Bailey’s sake because she is young and will heal up better.  Her husband is a board certified orthopedic surgeon but is so booked up he was not going to be available any time soon, plus he focuses on horses primarily.  $38 for the visit.

Our next step was to see our regular Vet, Dr. King in McKinney Tx. at the Virginia Pkwy Pet Hospital.  We dropped her off that morning and she did a full exam and X-rays.  She called me and blew my mind when she asked me if I was sure it was her left leg because when she examined her, she found the right leg to be separating easier.  X-rays don’t show much to confirm the condition really but did show that her hips are normal and healthy and these should be the only surgeries she will require.  That was good to hear!  Dr. King also said that her Crucia ligament and everything else around the area are still in good shape.  This was also good news!  She gave us some Glucose to sprinkle on her food and some pain meds.  We also had to have blood work done to make sure the anesthesia would not hurt her and that everything was normal.  It was..$400 for that visit, ouch.

So, the surgery.  The operation total is about $1100 for each leg.  Dr. King uses a man named Dr. Turner for her surgeries and called him a “gifted surgeon” .  He is not board certified but has been in practice for over 30 years now, like Dr. King, and she said he has done thousands of these types of procedures with very few complications.  He has done her operations for eight years now and she claims she would trust him to operate on her knee.  Based on that feedback, from a Vet I really do trust, we decided to schedule the operation.

The surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, January 12th and we are so nervous.  The recovery process is going to be hell.  The first week after surgery she will basically have to be in a crate full time.  She is going to be stiff and groggy from all of the meds.  I have seen some videos and stuff online of dogs throughout the process and it was hard to watch the videos of day two, three etc.  during the first week we will have to carry her out to potty and support her while she does with a sling that goes under her waist.  After the first couple of days we will start doing stretching exercises with her and work on slowly getting some range of motion back in the leg.  Week two will be more of the same but hopefully she will be feeling a little better.  Weeks three and four we can start with small little walks in the back yard on a leash and try to encourage her to start trying to use the leg.  We will also start holding her up by her front legs and making her dance and walk around on her hind legs.  After those two weeks of more stretching and dancing combined with small leash walks we hope by week four she will be getting good use out of it again.  This is when we will have our second follow up appointment and hopefully her last one.  Usually you don’t go back unless there is a problem.  After this we will start with normal leash walks around the block starting with ten minute walks and building up a minute every few days.  After six weeks or so she should be able to move around on her own again (no jumping or running of any kind) for the most part.  The last six weeks will consist of longer and longer walks and more freedom, I hope.  She is still young so containing her excitement can be a challenge.  We did kennel train her for a couple of months when we first got her and she loves it in there so that will help I think.

What did make me feel better was a video i found of a Pug named Maximus that showed him day two and then week five.  The day two video was rough, he cries and is obviously in pain and you can hear both owners crying in the background.  on the five week video I was really happy to see that he looked like he was walking fine and was pretty much back to normal.   This is a really common injury with a lot of small dogs, and some big dogs like labs too.  The Vet seemed to think that the surgery is going to be a pretty routine operation and I have heard the other clients they have brought their dog back for the other leg.  That is a good sign to me.

With all of that being said, we are both a wreck thinking of what is in store for one of the sweetest dogs on the planet.  She is so happy and loving and we are feeling horrible about having to seclude from her friends and play.  She lives to go on walks with her brothers.  We rescued her from a cage when we got her and she has been plagued with problems her whole life.  On the flip side, this operation is highly successful and will resolve her issues forever.  They say that about 90% of dogs that have this operation make a full recovery and the ones that don’t are usually not cared for properly.  We have done a lot of research and brainstorming and we think we are ready for this.  She will not be left home alone much during the first surgery at least and we will know what to expect for round two.  The worst part of this is thinking that once the misery of the first leg is behind us, she will have to endure the suffering all over again.  I think doing both legs at once would be worse though.  We are trying to look at the big picture  and understand that in the long run this will be for the best.  Everyone at the clinics agree it is the right thing to do.  She is young so she should heal well and she is tough so we are going to get through this.  I look forward to the day when this is all behind us and we can carry on with our normal lives.  Bailey is going to have a rough 2011 😦