MEDIAL PATELLA LUXATION (MPL) SURGERY COST – $1,095
Also called luxating knee cap or dislocated knee cap. (“Medial” – to the inside; “patella” – knee cap; “luxation” – out of joint)
Identifying Medial Patella Luxation in Dogs
There are many terms used to describe this defect that many pets are born with. It can be cause by trauma, but most often is there all along, not causing a problem until some form of trauma ensues or arthritis sets in. This defect is most common in small breeds of dogs, but rarely will occur in larger dogs.
The patella luxates out of the joint for one or more reasons: The groove that the patella rides in is not deep enough, the joint capsule that surrounds the joint is not tight enough to hold the patella in place, the medial thigh muscles pull the knee cap medially, and/or the defect in alignment of the bones above and below the patella pull it in the wrong direction. Some dogs have all four of these defects and some have fewer, but the goal is to repair all of the defects that exist in the knee.
Surgery to Repair Medial Patella Luxation
When the patella is luxated out of the joint, it rides against the bone instead of in the joint groove causing pain and eventual arthritis. Therefore repairing the knee when your pet is young will help prevent future problems.
Most pet’s knees have only the first three defects present and are easily repaired. The most severe cases involve the defect in the alignment of the bones above and below the knee and require bone to be cut, rotated and pinned to straighten the alignment. At Helping Hands, we do not offer pinning of bones, so are unable to help in these extreme cases. Luckily, many cases are not extreme and we are so happy to be able to help.
If you are unsure if your pet’s knee requires bone rotation for alignment (medically called “tibial crest transposition”), you can ask your veterinarian if they can palpate the alignment of the tibial crest or take an x-ray with the knees perfectly straight up and down to see if the bones are aligned.
The surgery itself is the easy part; the challenging part will fall on you to keep your dog somewhat quiet and still for 6 – 8 weeks post- op. The first 2 weeks require strict crate rest. A crate is the only way to ensure no jarring, jumping or pushing off motions occur. If, you choose to come to Helping Hands, your dog will leave our hospital with a repaired knee. It is you and your pet’s responsibility to keep it that way. Many pets having this surgery will benefit from post op physical therapy. Please discuss this with your regular veterinarian.
The first two weeks after surgery are 24/7 crate rest. The only time your pet should leave the crate during the first two weeks is when they’re on a very short leash where you’re controlling every step he/she takes keeping them calm and preventing them from pushing off of the leg or pulling you at all on the leash. After the first two weeks, an assessment of the knee needs to be performed by us or your primary veterinarian, in order to check the knee for stability. At this point, you should be given instructions for what to do from that point going forward.
IF*** and that’s a huge if*** everything feels stable at the two week point, we normally allow the pets to come out of the crate a bit while in the house, but still encourage owners to crate rest their pets whenever they’re not able to watch what they’re doing. More often than not, larger dogs will require an additional 2 weeks of strict crate rest depending on how much they’re using the leg at the two week point. Crate rest means STRICT CRATE REST. No bedrooms, baby gates or bathrooms. Going to the store? Crate. Checking the mail? Crate. Going to work? Crate. Crate, crate CRATE for up to 3 months while gradually returning to normal activity. Again, larger and/or more active dogs are typically crate rested for a bit longer.
Scheduling Medial Patella Luxation at Helping Hands
Bloodwork ($90) is required for your pet. The bloodwork we perform at Helping Hands shows us basic organ function values (kidney and liver) to help make the safest choices for anesthesia. The bloodwork we perform at Helping Hands is not diagnostic. It is always recommended that you discuss surgery and sedation with your primary veterinarian that has followed your pet’s health if you have any concerns. It is important to remember there is always risk when sedating any living animal. * E Collars ($15) Many animals chew or lick open their incisions after surgery. We STRONGLY recommend that every animal have an e-collar to help prevent this. If your animal opens his or her incision, you will be charged for closing the wound.