:Physical therapy for dogs prone to luxating patellas

Here’s that information I mentioned yesterday:

Special care for the dog with knee problems:  All puppies’ knees are evaluated prior to placement, including a grading of each patella. Your Gompa Lhasa Apso may be prone to luxating patellas. A great deal of increased strength and comfort can be obtained through appropriate exercise.   Marty Peace, Physical Therapist with Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado (Englewood, Colorado), makes the following recommendations for dogs with luxating patellas (knee problems):·         Regular daily walks of 10-15 minutes, or more than that if the dog can tolerate greater length.  Two short walks may be better than one long one if the dog gets sore; if your dog limps, you’ve overdone it.  A steady, maintained walk on the leash (rather than run and stop, run and stop) is excellent therapy because the dog makes use of all four legs symmetrically.·         Going up steps strengthens the quadriceps. Walking uphill and walking on uneven terrain (off the sidewalk) are also good strengtheners.·         Standing on the back feet and “dancing” 5-10 steps for 10-30 seconds, two times a day, helps considerably.·         Going over small obstacles and walking in figure eights or through cones or weave poles will help build strength and flexibility.·         Swimming in a deep tub or Jacuzzi (moderate the temperature to mid-80s) strengthens the muscles without the strain of bearing weight; start with 5 minutes with a goal of 30 minutes.·         Massaging the front of the thigh or holding above the knee and stretching a leg back can help relieve discomfort. How do you know if your dog has a knee problem?  A veterinarian can make the diagnosis, but you may see signs on your own, such as an odd “skip” in the dog’s gait, or “bunny-hopping” to protect the loose knee joint.  The dog may be carrying up to 90% of its weight on the front legs instead of an appropriate 60-70% of its weight on the back legs. In severe cases where the dog is in continual pain, surgery may be warranted. Take care if you know or suspect your dog has knee problems, but if your dog is asymptomatic, don’t limit activity, since exercise is good at warding off problems.  Keeping your dog on the lean side is a good idea, since excess body weight stresses the joints, and it’s also a good idea to give your dog glucosamine supplements to support joint health.

2 Comments on “:Physical therapy for dogs prone to luxating patellas”

  1. Great info, Debbie. From experience, others may know, but don’t ignore those “skips”. My older Lhasa, Taz, had a TPLO several years ago. That knee was “difficult” to diagnose, lots of complicating factors, took 7 different vet visits to get it. We did the TPLO, first one on a “little guy” my Univ. of Minn. vet had done, as they thought would have less “arthritic changes” later on, trying to avoid meds on an IBD stomach. Last couple years I started noticing a skip again, on the other leg, and really wanted to ignore it due to his age of 10. He tore this second knee completely last fall. We went with the easier filament repair. Tough first few days but he rallied and put up with all the therapy I did with him. He runs so much better now. I think his front legs took the brunt of the weak back leg; he was really compensating and showing sore front legs, and a cranky disposition despite pain meds. Taz was a pretty hardy play hard guy when he was young, lots of fast running, frisbee and I think that wore on his knees. I can’t say I think one repair was easier or better. Both had recovery and therapy time. And I can’t say one was better for the IBD. I wish I hadn’t ignored the second one so long, think his front legs would be in better shape. He’s still a bit cranky but that goes with the senior Lhasa title, at least in my house. My vet was amazed at his recovery rate with this last surgery, especially with his age. Strengthening, massage are all important. So… don’t ignore the skips.

  2. Susan says:

    When I started thinking about easing any issues Raji might have with ageing (in her case, I don’t think luxating patella is an issue), my trusty groomer, Kathy, suggested a product she has given her dogs for years. All of mine now get it daily. I get it online from Amazon. It’s called Synovi G3 Soft Chews and contains Glucosamine, MSM, Creatinine Monohydrate, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Antioxidants, Vitamins and Minerals.
    I grate 1 chew up every morning, and mix it in with their Nature’s Variety…..Goes down easy and seems like an excellent source of the Glucosamine. I myself take Glucosamine every morning. I use straight powder (1/2 tsp) and sprinkle it on my granola along with all the other stuff an old broad needs to stay healthy (calcium, magnesium, etc, etc, etc).

    Anyway, here’s the link if you are interested

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