Meet Alfie, a 10-month-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
When Alfie came into the clinic for his first visit and vaccination, it was discovered his left kneecap could dislocate easily, this is called a luxating patella and would be something we would need to monitor.
Luxating patellas are more common in small breed dogs. A common sign is when a dog is walking along it may hold up the leg for a step or two or do a little hop/skip. As Alfie continued to grow he became increasingly uncomfortable on the leg, so it was decided surgery would be the best option.
The patella (kneecap) sits in a groove and slides up and down the groove as you walk. A few reasons why a kneecap would dislocate would be that the groove the kneecap sits in is too shallow, or one side of the groove sits higher than the other forcing the kneecap towards the lower side dislocating it. Or, in Alfie’s case, the part of the tibia where the kneecap is attached via a tendon is off center, pulling the kneecap to one side and dislocating it out of the groove.
There are different surgical procedures to correct a luxating patella depending on what is causing the patella to dislocate. To correct Alfie’s type of luxating patella we needed to move where the kneecap tendon attached to the tibia (shinbone) more towards the middle of the tibia. To achieve this, the bone where the kneecap tendon attached to the tibia had to be cut and moved to the center of the tibia rather than to one side.
Two pins were placed through the section of the bone that was moved and into the tibia to keep it in place while the bone healed together.
A pressure bandage was placed on Alfie’s leg overnight to help reduce swelling after surgery. Alfie was off home the next day to start his recovery and to be pampered by his mum and dad.
Ten days after surgery Alfie was back in the clinic having a check over and getting his stitches removed. Dr. Robert O’Connor was pleased how Alfie was doing and how his patella (kneecap) was tracking in the groove.
After two more weeks of cage rest, Alfie would be allowed to do more exercise such as lead walking out in the sunshine. We absolutely loved having Alfie as a patient, he is such a loveable little lad with an amazing personality.
We are looking forward to watching him grow over the years when he comes in for his visits.