Willow went into the vet at 8am on Wednesday for her operation. The problem with a luxating patella is that the patella, or kneecap, keeps popping out of the trochlear groove between the ‘knuckles’ of the thigh bone and usually in small dogs it moves inwards on the knee. Willow’s operation involved three parts: firstly the vet cut a small ‘V’ shape out of the groove and put it aside, then she cut a larger ‘V’ shape out and reinserted the smaller V into this hole. This effectively deepened the groove that the kneecap sits in whilst ensuring that cartilage remained at the top of the groove, which is important for lubricating the movement of the kneecap. The next part of the operation involved slicing off the part of her tibia (lower leg bone) that the patella tendon attaches to and moving it slightly so that the tendon would no longer act to pull the patella sideways. The piece of bone was then pinned into its new position where it will hopefully grow and mesh into place. Finally, the joint capsule around Willow’s patella was tightened up to keep the patella pulled into the right place.
I have been using the same veterinary practice for nearly twenty years and they have always been excellent. After the operation the vet called me at about 1.30 to tell me that Willow had come round from the operation and was doing fine. I had another phone call the following morning to let me know that she had been on pain relief overnight but was recovering well and that she had gained quite a fan club from among the staff at the practice.
I had an appointment with the vet yesterday afternoon and she showed me Willow’s X-rays and talked about what she’d done. She gave me a bottle of Metacam for Willow’s continuing pain relief and a copy of the bill which thankfully was going straight off to the insurance company. She then fetched Willow. Despite a very lopsided, mostly shaved back half, a round foam collar and a general air of self-pity, Willow managed a feeble tail wag when she saw me.
There were more tail wags all round for each member of the family when she got home and when the children got back from school but most of the time she’s just been taking it easy resting on a big cushion on the living room floor. Going outside to toilet has also raised a few tail wags; she loves being outside, despite the indignity of having to be carried out to the lawn and back. In between resting she’s poddling around the living room and kitchen on three legs holding her operated leg in the air. She has been whimpering occasionally but generally in the 24 hours since she got home she’s getting better and stronger all the time.