Stool sample exams: Why is this important?
What is a luxating patella?
By Jennifer Sette
Patella is the medical term for the kneecap. So when someone has a luxating patella, their kneecap moves or dislocates out of its normal position. A medial patella luxation (MPL) happens when the kneecaps moves to the inside of the leg, and a lateral patella luxation when the kneecap moves toward the outside of the leg. Lateral patella luxations are less common than medial luxations.
Normally, the patella sits in a deep groove located at the end of the femur (the thigh bone). The patella glides smoothly within this groove over cartilage on the backside of the patella. Often in patients with a patella luxation, the groove is too shallow, which allows the kneecap to "pop out". As the dislocation becomes more frequent, the luxation can worsen as the cartilage underneath is worn away, and the tendons attached to the patella stretch and contract in the dislocation.
In many breeds, patella luxation is considered a genetic or inherited trait. Most patients with shallow grooves will have patella luxation by the time they reach 1 year of age, but they may not develop signs of a problem until later in their life. If a patient has a luxating patella but does not have limping, reduced use, or other signs of pain, we typically do not recommend anything to correct the issue. But once the pet has pain with the condition, surgical repair is recommended repair the groove and control the luxation.
There are several steps to repair a luxating patella. Every patient is somewhat different and some may require all steps while others only require one. When you meet with our surgeon he will discuss their plan for your pet and what specific steps may be required.
- Deepening of the shallow groove - this is achieved by surgically reshaping the width and depth of the groove using special instruments. This procedure allows the patella to rest deeply within the groove and move appropriately without the ease of "popping out".
- Medial Desmotomy - This step loosens the tissue on the side of the knee that is too tight and that helps to pull the kneecap out of place.
- Lateral Imbrication - This step tightens the loose tissue on the side of the knee and helps keep the kneecap in place.
- Tibial Tuberosity Transposition - If the bone below the knee is curved or bent the attachment of the ligaments may pull the patella in an inappropriate direction and be causing the luxation. In these cases the relocation of the tibial attachment is required to prevent luxation.
We expect 90% or greater of our patients after surgery to have dramatic improvement in limb function, the permanent relocation of the patella to the groove, and return to normal or near normal activity. The complication rate for these procedures is low. Infections uncommonly occur, and we work very hard to reduce the risk of these infections. When they do develop, they are usually resolved with proper treatment. Anesthesia carries small risks of complications. In any patient, young or old, problems can arise. At Hurricane Animal Hospital we take many precautions to make anesthesia and sedation as safe as possible. Our Registered Veterinary Technicians and Veterinarians take every anesthesia procedure very seriously and there is always a highly trained and dedicated nurse monitoring our patients at all times throughout the procedure.
After surgery your pet will need at home physical therapy for about 6 weeks, and off leash activity will be very limited. Inside the house, your pet should avoid stairs and slippery floors. No running, jumping or playing after surgery until the surgeon has released your pet for more activity. We will also use this time to provide rehabilitation that will reverse the muscle atrophy, joint scar tissue, and reduced range of motion that occurred during the joint disorder.
Many people ask, "What if I don't do surgery?" Patients will develop arthritis due to abnormal rubbing of the cartilage as the patella moves in and out of place. Progressive loss of limb function, muscle loss, and worsening of the luxation will occur. As the condition worsens the ability to return to normal function with surgical repair is also reduced. The surgery can be successful at any stage and the luxation controlled but the damage from arthritis progression and muscle atrophy will be limiting the full recovery.
My pet is allergic to house dust mites. What do I do?
By Jennifer Sette
We commonly run allergy panels to determine what is triggering a patient's immune system to react. But when the tests result come in, we need to be able to either sensitize pets to those allergens or control their exposure. It is almost impossible to remove all exposure to grasses and weeds from a patient's environment. Other allergens such as cotton or wool allow us a little more control over exposure. We can shop with more knowledge and find bedding and carpeting that avoid the use of these materials. Household dust mites is somewhere in between where control is possible but maybe not complete removal.
Hypersensitivity to dust mites is a common issue for people as well as dogs, and cats. Dust mites are microscopic so when usually don't realize we have a mite issue. They feed on dander, hair, and skin scales. Mites are usually found in beds and mattresses, carpets, and furniture. Dust mites can flourish in the temperature range of 60-75 degree and the relative humidity that we tend to keep in our home environments.
Controlling the number of mites in an environment can greatly minimize an allergic patient's discomfort. The following steps may help control the mite populations. Be sure to give special attention to sleeping areas of the allergic person, dog or cat:
- Bare floors (hardwood, vinyl, and tile) are best; if carpet is used. Low pile is preferable. Mites survive well in carpet.
- Use only synthetic material in the pet's bedding. Avoid feathers, wool, and horsehair stuffing.
- Wash bedding frequently in hot water. (wash the whole bed, not just the cover)
- If your pet sleeps in your bed, wrap your mattress and box springs in an airtight plastic. Seal the zippers with tape. Use washable blankets and mattress pads. The most dust free type of bed is a water bed.
- Change furnace and air conditioning filters frequently. Electrostatic filters may be more effective in filtering out dust, mites, and inhalant particles. No specific research has been performed though on these filters and their performance in controlling the signs of allergies in the dog and cat.
- Use air conditioning to control the temperature during warm months. Try to maintain the humidity levels below 50% (between 30-50% is ideal) since dust mites flourish above 50%. Dehumidifiers may prove beneficial.
- Vacuum floors, wet mop, and dust with a damp cloth daily. The room should be properly aired after vacuuming.
- Groom your pet frequently, preferably outside of the house environment if possible.
If your pet's allergens are severe, we recommend hyposensitization therapy (allergy vaccines) to help train his/her immune system to respond differently to exposure.
Phone: 304-757-2287 | Fax: 304-757-7227 | Address: 2120 Mount Vernon Road, Hurricane, WV 25526
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