Subluxation of the patella amounts to a dislocation of the knee cap. The luxating patella can be painful and cause the animal to limp. The animal needs to be seen by the Veterinarian to see he if needs surgery to correct the problem. If the trick knee (floating patella) isn’t treated it will cause problems later on.
To prevent your dog from licking the surgical site the Vet may recommend an Elizabethan collar. This is a plastic cone that is placed around the dog’s neck to prevent him from reaching the wound. It is important to keep the surgical area free of infection. The surgical site will have a bandage on for a few days. It must be kept clean and dry. It the bandage slips or is loose take him in for the Vet to check it. If the bandage is to stay off watch for drainage or discharge for the first week or so. Moist heat can be applied to the surgical area after the bandage taken off. Leave it on for fifteen to twenty minutes.
The Veterinarian will prescribe pain medication, antibiotics and an anti inflammatory to help with the healing process. An ice pack will help with the swelling. It is two cups of ice, one half cup of rubbing alcohol and one half teaspoon salt. This will freeze to a slushy consistency. Freeze the solution in doubled zip lock bags.
When applying the ice pack place a towel underneath it to protect the skin. The ice pack should be used for fifteen minutes two to three times a day for the first few days.
After the surgery for Medial Luxating Patella will be the recovery period. The first week following surgery should be a time of rest. If the dog tries to become too active keeping him in a padded crate will help. If it is a large dog try keeping him confined in a small room. His activity must be limited to allow for recovery time.
When you do need to take the dog out for potty breaks take him out on a leash. He can’t be allowed to run or jump. A sling made from a towel placed under his belly will help if the dog starts to fall. You will be able to keep him steady with out straining the knee.
Try to keep him on level surfaces. If there are stairs to go up and down he would need to be carried.
About a week after the surgery for the floating patella, the dog can be leash walked for about five minutes. Normally after about six weeks he can have longer walks. Then after fifteen weeks he should have a full recovery.
It is important to limit exercise for the dog during the recovery period. The dog needs to be leash walked only during the early weeks. His jumping, climbing, running or any stressful activity is to be discouraged. The period is up to sixteen weeks for a full recovery.
When the dog makes a complete recovery he should be able to resume his previous activities pain free.