Samba, a little Miniature Pinscher, had a couple of conditions that are sadly super common to a lot of dogs. She had 3 surgeries doen to fix these problems!
- She had breast tumours. Dogs have a scary high incidence of breast tumours if they are not spayed – by middle age, about 6 years old, their incidence of breast tumours is 25%! Think about it, that is one out of every 4 unspayed dogs. Samba was not spayed until just before her rescue, at age 6.
- She had a kneecap problem, called Medial Patellar Luxation, in BOTH of her knees.
So what is Medial Patellar Luxation?
This is really common in small breed dogs, and we can look at it in three parts:
Hips: The problem actually goes back to the way the hips are put together. Their hips are shaped so that their back legs want to rotate out a little (think “Charlie Chaplin” legs); but the super strong thigh muscles resist that, and pull the kneecaps back towards the midline.
Thighbone (Femur): The kneecap is meant to ride in a groove at the end of the thighbone (femur); it is the “pulley” that lets the force of the thigh muscles pull around the bend of the knee. This is how the muscles can pull on the shin and straighten the knee joint. With this condition, the kneecap no longer seats into the groove – it is pulled to the midline, up and out of the groove. Without the force of the kneecap riding in it, the groove gets more shallow, making it even more easy for the kneecap to slip out.
Shinbone (Tibia): With the pull of the muscles always being toward the midline of the body, the tendon attachment at the shin bone reshapes to be more toward the midline too. This makes it even less likely that the kneecap will slip back into the groove where it should be.
Why fix it?
This re-shaped knee joint does not bear weight or move in the way it was designed to. The abnormal wear and tear lead to breakdown of the joint cartilage and formation of bone spurs (osteoarthritis); and the abnormal pull on the ligaments that hold the knee together can lead to their breakdown (cruciate ligament rupture).
How is it fixed?
The surgeon actually reconstructs the joint back into its intended shape!
- The groove at the end of the femur is cut out as a V-shaped piece; the part under it is cut out so that when the cartilage-containing top part is put back in it sits more deeply.
- The bony site where the tendon attaches to the shinbone is cut out, and re-attached back on the front of the shin where it was meant to be.
Samba had her breast tumours removed and her left knee repaired last month, and her right knee repaired this month.
I am doing Laser Therapy on her now to help her right knee heal faster.
If you would like to meet Samba, come along to one of Dog Tales’ Open Adoption Sundays, 10am-6pm! Open Adoption Sundays