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Luxating Patella on my 6 month-old shiba
  • jadenyjadeny
    Posts: 9
    After a visit to the vet today, I was told that my 6 month-old shiba needs "mandatory" surgery on his back-left knee.

    I called up a few places in town and got a few estimates. Some of those surgeries cost around $4,000. Being a student, I simply cannot afford that.

    My question is for anyone with experience in these kinds of situations: what will happen if my dog doesn't receive proper treatment? I'm not saying I'm not thinking about giving my shiba surgery at all, but I was just wondering what the consequences would be if my dog didn't get his much needed surgery.

    I'm sure I'm not the only one here who thinks four grand on a pet surgery is somewhat outrageous, but I would like to hear some opinions from you guys who have shibas that has gone through this kind of thing.

    Thanks so much.
    Post edited by sunyata at 2012-08-09 10:04:34
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    4 grand IS too much. LP surgery does not need to be that spendy. It also depends on the style of the
    approach the vet uses. Worst outcome if not doing surgery: chronic pain, snappy, inability to walk or run
    without pain. What grade is the LP?
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    I'm afraid I don't know the answer to surgery cost, or consequences of doing or not doing the surgery. Hopefully other members can chime in, as I know several members have had to deal with LP, some more severe than others.

    One thing I would recommend is that you check the contract you got with your breeder, and notify them. Let them know they are breeding puppies with LP that is bad enough to require surgery. Some health guarantees are better than others, providing some assistance with surgery costs, while others are just a sham. And I don't know if it helps in the long run, but I think at the very least, the breeder should know.

    Sorry to hear about this...
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • hwebb10hwebb10
    Posts: 46
    Milli has this, she has her whole life. if yours doesn't show signs of pain don't worry about. they can grow out of it. The only thing I notice about mill is she's not as fast as she could be , so when she plays with other dogs she just changes direction a lot.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8587
    I agree with Lindsay... $4,000 is a bit much for LP surgery. Although, I guess it could depend on where you are located as well.

    I have not had any personal experience with LP, but Nola has Hip Dysplasia. While currently, hers is not bad enough to require surgery, I am sure that eventually she will need to have it done. I have talked with a couple of vets and a local vet school about it, and the most expensive was less than half of what you have been quoted for LP surgery.

    I would take her to another vet, preferably one that specializes in orthopedic problems. Get a second opinion. If you have not noticed your pup limping or in pain, then the LP may not be bad enough to require surgery. If surgery is suggested and you determine that your pup needs it, then check around for a vet school. You may have to drive a few hours, but it could save you more than 50% off the cost of the surgery. If there are no vet schools within driving distance, then check at some vet offices in different areas. If you live in a city, you may be able to find a vet that offers the surgery for less in a surrounding rural area.

    There are many options for having the surgery if you and your vet determine that your pup needs it.

    Hopefully some of this has helped. But the first step would be to definitely get a second opinion and go from there.

    Good luck!
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • Casas4Casas4
    Posts: 10
    My mom's shiba also was just recently diagnosed with LP. Dakota (my moms shiba) has LP grade 4 in both legs. Basically his knee caps aren't even sitting on his knee anymore they are off to the side. Dakota is almost 4 and I would guess he has had this problem since he was born but because he didnt really show any signs of being in pain or discomfort we didnt notice. All the signs (sitting funny, bunny hopping, and not being able to jump on the bed) were there we simply just didnt put all together until we noticed he was severly limping and showing signs of pain. The surgery cost for both his knees (assuming they can fix it we are still in the stages of seeing a specialist) is between 3500 and 4000 dollars. This may be on the high end because it is so sever and the fact that we are limited to vets who can do the operation (I live in Wyoming and have to travel to nearby citeis like Denver) The doctor said it would be approximately 8 weeks of a "long and hard" recovery. When dakota was younger he showed basically no signs of LP and the vet thinks it progressed from a 1 or 2 grade to a sever 4. Dakota is grumpy and becomes very aggressive when you get to close to his back/tail area. He sometimes gets aggressive and attacks other dogs when he is playing with them (Once he was diagnosed it all made since). He is also very lathargic and lays around a lot. (all of this is understandable cause he hurts) This has progressively gotten worse over the years. For now the vets have him on doggie pain meds, a special mobility diet, and glucosamine. Some days are better than others but it wont get any better. If the vet specialist doesnt think he can do anything and if we cant find the money and cant do anything the vet said odds are Dakota wont live as long as other Shibas simply because we cant let him be in pain. However, as long as he appears to be comfortable and the medicines and diets are helping he will be ok for now. My advice is if you can find some way to do the surgery I would before it progresses and gets more sever (especially if it’s only a 1 or 2 grade) from what I have recently seen with Dakota it only gets worse. Im sorry it’s a crappy thing to deal with I totally feel what you and your pup are going through. Good Luck!
  • My Shiba has LP too. It was mild, but she injured herself in the deep snow, and now it is very very bad (we think she may have damaged the ligament too and now that the ligament is even less able to hold the patella in place). She must have the surgery. My vet will charge me $700 for the surgery, which granted is pretty cheap even for where I live. Most people (in different parts of the country) seem to have paid around $1200 to $1500.

    I'd suggest you see SEVERAL vets for price comparisons on the surgery. Really you could save yourself quite a bit of money. Do talk to your breeder. This is a genetic issue, and in such a young dog, I would think they are responsible, though I know most contracts are useless on this, as they often say they'll replace the dog (rather than pay medical bills) and of course you don't want to do that--who would?

    It does only get worse, so you likely will have to do it. They start simply not able to walk well, not able to sit, etc, and then pretty soon they are pretty serious pain. My girl is in the hopping around, not able to sit, not able to jump stage. I don't think she's in a lot of pain right now (like most Shibas she is pretty stoic, though), but she isn't able to put weight on the leg. I'd like to do the surgery for her next month, but even at the much lower price I'm paying, I still have to save up for it, so we're likely going to do it in March or April. I hope she's not in too much pain in that time...

    Anyway, it really does suck, and I'm sorry for anyone who has to deal with it.
  • I am sorry to hear this, it can become very painful over time as if it gets worse. Around our area usually the procedure is around $1500 per knee so I could possibly see that quote if they are talking both legs. I would get more than one opinion and also see what they say, find out how each plans to perform the procedure. I would hope the vet would not do both at the same time.

    Usually they repair the weakest leg with extended therapy for many weeks to regain strength, and then in 6 to 8 months repair would begin on the other. It is a long process with continued rehab work and recovery so be prepared for the long haul.

  • I felt that this LP thread was the most relevant to my issue with 10 month old Hiro. I think he has a Stage 1 luxating patella, his back left one. I was wondering if there are any therapy's we can do to strengthen his joints while he's young. Swimming, leg weights, going up and down stairs, walking? For those that know, Hiro is from a mill and I got him knowing that this might be an issue so I've been watching for it and trying to prevent it the best I can. I am also a college student as I've mentioned before so hopefully I can avoid surgery with therapy or prolong the time before he actually needs surgery.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8587
    @hayley - Has Hiro been diagnosed by a vet? Self diagnosing can be a VERY dangerous thing. I suggest a vet visit ASAP if you feel he has some joint issues/pain.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • @sunyata Yes, the vet was doing a full body exam while we were there for a cough and said that the back right one was nice and tight but that the back left one was able to be moved out of place. I realize now in my previous post it sounded like I had self diagnosed him but the reason I said I think was because she didn't mention the stage so I was saying I think it might be stage 1. I can follow up with the vet about what stage it actually is but she said it moved back in to place pretty easily. One more thing, he doesn't seem to be exhibiting any pain yet from it.
    Post edited by hayley at 2015-09-09 08:19:21
  • Have you thought about getting insurance for your dog? Insurance covers almost half the vet bill costs.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8587
    @ohmyyikes - Pet insurance usually does not cover pre-existing conditions, so would not be applicable in a situation like this. However, as a general rule: if (for whatever reason) purchasing a puppy from less than reputable sources (or rescuing a known puppy mill/byb dog), pet insurance can be a good idea.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • @ohmyyikes @sunyata I do not have a job and therefore could not afford pet insurance and when I suggested it to my boyfriend who does he would rather save money monthly to put in to an emergency vet bill fund over paying the monthly fee for pet insurance.
  • KeikoKeiko
    Posts: 18
    Our shiba Keiko alledgedly has stage 3, she was diagnosed at about 10 months, our first vet may have missed it. We went to a specialist who confirmed the news, and wanted to schedule surgery that week (he seemed a little to eager for our liking). We did a lot of reasearch on the potential downtime, and we just didn't have the heart to put her out of commission for that long; the recovery time is significant. We found a different surgeon, with great reviews and will most likely bring her to that vet when we decide to do the surgery.

    However, at 1.5 years now, she still runs like the wind, and currently show no signs of a problem (knock on wood). My wife and I know potentially overtime the knee will wear down, but we are waiting for signs of her pulling up on the knee or even the slightest sign of pain. You never know if the surgery itself will even work, I have read a few nightmare scenarios. So to us it just isn't worth the risk, and her long misery during the recovery period until she shows some signs.

    PS - $4k seems high, most of the estimates I have seen is in the 2-3 range.
    Posts: 48
    @Keiko Hmm... I have to mostly disagree with your comments and suggest you do the surgery. However, since this comment above was from Sept 2015, maybe things have happened since the?

    We fixed our dog's knees (both grade 3) at a year old. The younger a dog is, the easier and quicker they will recover. If you do surgery at what is now 2 years, your dog will recover much better than if you do it at 7-8 years, etc.

    Also, being active on a grade 3 LP is really going to wear out the joint. You are sacrificing future mobility at the expense of not wanting to put the time in for recover today.

    Shibas are super stoic dogs and will not show pain or discomfort until it is severe. Your girl is probably just used to the discomfort of her current knee, and knows no better. $4k does seem high for one knee. We had an excellent specialist do the surgery for us and the cost was about $4k including post-op meds and initial X-rays, etc. That was two knees though (more time under anesthesia).

    Also, LP surgery is one of the surgeries that most often does have good results. The nightmare scenarios are really the exception.
    Post edited by EJH at 2016-02-26 15:56:41
  • We just found out that Zoomie has LP even though the paperwork we got from the breeder said she had been checked and didn't have it. I'm so angry today that this breeder lied to me. The more research I do, the more it looks like a puppy mill. We know other people who got Shiba's from her, so thought she was ok.
  • ZenkiZenki
    Posts: 396
    @ColtyHan if she doesn't offer health guarantee then she is definitely not a reputable breeder. Puppy mill or backyard breeder is just semantics after that point. People who operate such businesses deserve a special place somewhere. hehehe... anyway, how is Zoomie? is he gonna need surgery? :-(
    Black, Tan and Awesome
    Instagram: @ShibaZenki

    “Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”
    – Ann Landers

  • We are going for a follow- up visit with the other vet in our office that specializes in orthopedic issues. From what we saw in the first x- rays surgery is definate. Just not sure if the local vet can do it, or if we need to go to the university for surgery.
  • ZenkiZenki
    Posts: 396
    does Zoomie walk funny? like any visible indication of LP? I think I read they would bunny hop due to dislocation while running/playing. I guess what I'm asking is how did you guys know to check.
    Black, Tan and Awesome
    Instagram: @ShibaZenki

    “Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”
    – Ann Landers

  • She would limp after playing hard. We noticed it never really got better so we mentioned it when we had her in for shots. The second vet confirmed Grade 4 LP.
  • Well, we got the call from the vet. No surgeons in our area feel they can fix Zoomie's knee. Now we are discussing amputation. This really sucks. She knows I'm sad and keeps coming over for cuddles.
  • I'm sorry to hear about Zoomie's knee! ): I had a MinPin growing up that ended up with LP at around 6 years old. No one in our area thought they could fix it either, not that my parents could afford it anyway, let alone all the physical therapy that would have to follow. She lived the rest of her life with (what I assume was low grade) LP, but when she got older it seemed to affect her less because she wouldn't run as hard as she would as a young dog. If it ever slipped out we'd massage it back in and she'd go about her business. Didn't seem to bother her very much, whichever grade it was. The vets never even suggested amputation though. ): That really sucks.
  • Zoomie has a grade 4 L.P. that means the kneecap is permanently out of place. Plus her other bone structure is not right, so all of the vets say they don't have the experience to fix it. The only one was at Kansas State. But they said it would cost $2500-$4000 and it's not guaranteed that it will be fixable.
  • Oh yikes, yeah hers was not nearly that bad. I'm so sorry. ): If you do end up having to amputate I've seen a lot dogs bounce back really well and live pretty normal lives. Not that it wouldn't still suck...I'd be so frustrated in your position. I hope it works out for you and Zoomie. ):
  • Sorry to hear about bad knee results :(

    If you end up doing the amputation I would worry (at least discuss with vet) how it would affect the remaining leg. I remember that a big % of dogs that have one patella operated need to have same to be done to the other leg after a year. Even when the other knee was graded 0 at the time of first operation. The seemingly "healthy" leg has to do so much more during the healing process than when the dog has two good back legs. With amputation this would be rest of the life.
  • LP Surgery is expensive, absolutely, but I'd really recommend getting other opinions aside from amputating. It might be worth the trip to a Vet in a different State (or Province if you aren't too far from the border).

    Also consider trying a Go Fund Me or something to help with the cost of the surgery. There's a lot of info on this site about LP surgeries, some of them very severe and some not so much, talking about the outcomes and processes. We've dealt with it with Rhyz and had the surgery done on both of his knees, and those threads were an indispensable resource for us both pre and post operation. I hope you read through them and find inspiration. :)
  • Our vet sent the x-rays to several Board Certified surgeons. None were willing to take the case, other than Kansas State University.
  • Did the Vet explain to you that it's never guaranteed to work, even on grade 1, 2, 3 LP?

    Just because it's a grade 4 doesn't mean there isn't every chance the surgeries would be viable and significantly improve Zoomies life. May only be for a few years, other issues may come along later in her life, there's no guarantee for any of us that the surgery will be even a temporary fix, let alone a permanent one, but it's the best chance so we do it anyway and hope like hell it works. The risk of recurrence is there, along with increased risk of arthritis and tendonitis, so I wouldn't let the lack of a guarantee influence your decision here.

    Have you spoken with the surgeons at Kansas State?
  • It's more the fact that there is no way I can afford a $4000 surgery. I can't just have her constantly living in pain either. It feels like an impossible decision. My vet is the one recommending amputation as the option that will give her the best quality of life.
  • Your Vet's also admit they aren't qualified to do the surgery, I'd get in touch with those surgeons and be getting their much more qualified opinions.

    I understand the money part, it's really expensive, but I wouldn't discount it on that alone as being not an option. Try Go Fund Me (I would donate), try asking the surgeons if you can set up a payment plan, beg your family or friends, fundraise in your community and get your kids involved (bake sale/rummage sale type things) could even be a possibility. The point I'm trying to make is don't get hung and overwhelmed by the financials, just focus on finding the best solution and then figure out how to make it a reality. Maybe the best solution IS amputation, but I wouldn't make that conclusion before speaking to the team that agreed to take the case.

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