A little background - Simon had the surgery for luxating patella last summer. His recovery period (the most critical time frame for successful surgery) was 10 weeks. You can read about Simon's surgery and recovery by clicking this link: http://vmills.hubpages.com/hub/Luxating-Patella-In-Dogs-Diagnosis-Surgery-and-Recovery.
Simon's condition was diagnosed as grade 1 - the mildest form. The surgeon did say we could wait, but the prognosis included arthritis and possible Anterior Cruxiate Ligament tear. We opted for the expensive surgery and the L-O-N-G recovery period.
Dr. Becker, a holistic veterinarian, is clearly conservative. She recommends the following:
"If your dog can’t walk or run normally without having intense pain, you need to consider surgery in correcting the knee cap issue."
In other words, if the dog has grade 3 or 4 luxating patella, then surgery is called for. If not, these are some of the the treatments Dr. Becker recommends:
- Maintain the dog's optimal body weight. See this post: How Do I Know If My Dog Is Overweight?
- Promote good muscle tone by keeping the dog moving.
- Give the dog oral medications to "rebuild and keep the cartilage resilient and strong, as well as to improve joint fluid." See your vet for the medications.
- Feed the dog a "species-appropriate, carb-free diet. This can actually help reduce the amount of canine inflammation associated with a luxating patella."
But should we have waited until the condition worsened?