Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Tale of Two Knees

When I first got adopted, Mom noticed right away that I had a luxating patella. She could tell this by the way I hip-hopped sometimes when I ran or after I squatted to pee. Mom had seen this before because her other basenji girl, Trixie, had the same problem.

In case you're wondering what a luxating patella is, I will now explain it. "Patella" is just a fancy word that means "knee cap." And "luxating" means that the tendon thingy that holds the knee cap in place keeps slipping out of its groove. I can't explain why this happens. I just know that whenever your knee does that, it hurts!

Actually, it turned out that I had TWO luxating patellas, which is the maximum number that any one dog can have. The right one was worse, but then one day when it was winter, I slipped on the ice and hurt my left knee. This made me limp a whole bunch. So Mom took me to a veterinary surgeon who is called a "specialist," which means he can charge very special fees for his work. This doctor wiggled my knees around and made x-ray pictures of them, and then he said I needed to have surgery on both knees. So Mom decided we should do all the surgery at once and get it over with, which is what we did.

After the surgery, I could not walk very well at all, so Mom had to carry me outside to potty. Then she would put me down and I had to hobble around the yard until I found the exact right place to potty, which it always takes awhile to do. And this was in December, so it got snowy and icy and Mom didn't like walking around out in the yard because she was afraid she would fall down on the ice.

There were all sorts of rules I was supposed to follow after my knee surgery, like no running, no jumping, no climbing stairs, no playing, no licking my incisions. I had to stay in a crate most of the time so I would not hurt myself. Luckily, I am not crate-phobic like Barry is, but still I will admit that being cooped up in a crate is no fun.

Mom felt sorry for me, so she let me out sometimes and put me on the sofa, so I could sleep there while she was watching TV. Then she did a dumb thing and left me there while she went upstairs to her office. She thought I would just stay there. But no! I wanted to be upstairs where Mom and my brothers were. So I jumped off the sofa and started going up the stairs, but it was really hard because my knees hurt, and I fell partway down the stairs.

The next time we went back to see the vet, he said I had messed up my right knee, so he would have to operate again. Mom and I were not happy about this. Mom was really mad at herself for letting me out of the crate because she had to pay for having the surgery done again, and it was expensive enough the first time.

So after my second surgery, Mom made sure I stayed in the crate, even while we were watching TV. It was a very sad state of affairs, but at least I finally got healed up and could run around again. The only time my knees bother me now is just a little bit after I squat down to potty, when I still do a little hip-hop dance with my right knee.

I guess that's all I have to say about luxating patellas. I have heard that small dogs get them more than big dogs. I don't know why this is so. Anyway, if you ever have them and you want them fixed, you will have to get surgery. I recommend not having them in the first place because surgery is NO FUN!


  1. Well...Piper....apparently you and I share somewhat the same knee problem...although my orthopedic surgeon didn't dianose it as a luxating patella! Ha. Sorry for the hee-hee; I know it's not funny. I'll be having surgery soon too - ugh! Glad to know you are well enough to be back online!
    Your friends - Patty, Dodi, Di

  2. oops - just realized I typed diagnose incorrectly...I doubt you really care!

  3. Dear Aunt Patty,
    I'm sorry you will have to have surgery on your knees, too. It is no fun at all, but afterwards, when you can walk again, it seems like maybe it was worth all the pain. My knee surgery was several years ago, so I don't think about it much anymore. I just got reminded of it by the skin cancer surgery I had recently. On Monday I will get my stitches out! Yay!
    Your friend,

  4. Hi Pipper! I had TWO bad hurting thing. One was I had bumps on my eyelids. I had a surgery. I was a little cracky afterwards. The seond was this May! My neck hurt ALOT I could not bund my neck and when I was at Disney World I had to go to the hosptill! For 3 days!