Knee/joint question
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2082
    So, Conker has luxating patella in both knees. The vet didn't even know and doubted me when I told her, but after describing what's happened in the past and a thorough joint manipulation, she agreed that he does have LP but that its incredibly mild. So he does have a diagnosis, of sorts.

    Anyways, his knees only go out every once in a while, the right more than the left, but a lot of the time I have to put them back in for him. (Vet showed me how to do it right.) I've noticed that occasionally he will bite at his knee(s), usually sometime after the patella has slipped. Is this a sign of inflammation, or something similar? Right now he is not getting any joint supplements, but he does get fish oils. Would adding a joint supplement back in (I tried one before, never noticed the knee biting then) help with this?
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    Post edited by Losech at 2012-10-06 23:43:40
  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3386
    Get a balance ball and do strengthening exercises. I think muscles help more than supplements. I don't actually know much about supplements, but fish oil sounds good. My dogs don't have any joint issues, but they get salmon oil for overall health. As far as joint supplements, I think it could possibly help and certainly wouldn't hurt, so you may as well try it.
    Dogs: Rakka (shikoku), Sosuke (kai), Effie (bc/kelpie)
    Cats: Hester, Batgirl, Stephanie, Harley
  • ZinjaZinja
    Posts: 1033
    What activity is Conker doing when his patella goes out?

    I recently dislocated my patella in a freak dancing accident (after 5 years of parkour, this is how I get my first major injury.. ::sighs::) and I learned the best way to keep the tendons and ligaments in place are strength exercises as Heidi said. I do have a brace that I have to wear when I do physical activities to give my knee support.

    They do have stifle braces that might help.
    -Joe
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2082
    Conker is pretty active, we hike a lot, but his knees usually go out when he's being a freak (a.k.a. Shiba zoomies) and doing rapid direction changes. That rarely happens when we hike since he stays on the trail so if he does go bonkers for a moment, he's not changing direction rapidly like he does in the yard.
    I try to keep him in good shape since I agree that muscles and ligaments are better than supplements. I would add one in if I had to, I'd rather not (they tend to be expensive), but if upping his exercise and doing strength training with his legs will help, I'll probably go that route.
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  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 3449
    MSM is great for inflammation. He may be developing some arthritis
    Hokusei Kashinoki Hokkaido and Shiba Inu
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  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3386
    Yeah, it's the movements they don't do as often that cause problems. In our agility class, we do some strength exercises and they're pretty simple, but they just get the dogs moving in ways they don't normally. For instance, training them to walk backwards, or to keep their front feet on a balance disc while they rotate around it. There's the peanut to balance on, plus some balance boards and so on. They said lots of different tricks help, like "sit pretty" or "spin around." It just gets those lesser-used muscles.
    Dogs: Rakka (shikoku), Sosuke (kai), Effie (bc/kelpie)
    Cats: Hester, Batgirl, Stephanie, Harley
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3977
    That sucks about Conker having LP, Tikaani has it but so far his doesn't pop out too often. The supplement that is supposed to help is glucosamine, which I heard helps by building up the cushioning around the joints. Rear-end exercises, like what has been explained already, I do with both Tikaani and Miyu (she has HD), and I've noticed an improvement of flexibility. Also during our walks, I actually encourage pulling as that also creates more work in the muscles.

    Now, one major thing I've learned about LP is that the knee usually tends to pop out when the dog does activities that make them twist their bodies or fast pivots. The vets ( I wanted 3 opinions for Tikaani on surgery) all said that activities that cause the dog to twist will cause more popping and make the knee worsen, possibly tearing it. One vet gave playing fetch as an example, since the dog usually faces the person and twists around to chase the ball.

    Sadly, with this kind of joint issue, you may have to talk to your vet and fellow attendees about continuing Lure Coursing with him. Due to the twists and turns of lure coursing, he is at greater risk of popping his knee during a run. There may even be regulations against dogs will LP from participating in certain courses, so you may want to inquire about that as well. I know it is a fun and great activity that both you and Conker enjoy, and that he does very well in, but unless the course is a straight line it may actually do more harm than good.
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  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4055
    Lisa would know more than me but the one thing I know about is cruciate ligament tears. Dogs with LP are at a greater risk so I wouldn't allow pulling on the leash or quick turns.

    Arthritis is inflammation in the knee. Did you get X-rays? Of they show cloudiness then yes Conker has arthritis at some level. Dogs are so resilient to pain and prone to knee arthritis. That inflammation can cause tears of the ligaments and meniscus damage. Keep him on leash when he's showing any discomfort and give him down time.

    Fish oil is a natural anti inflammatory so is liquid yucca. Glucosamine with MSM (liquid kind) seems to be affective at strengthening the meniscus and tissues around the knee although there is no scientific proof.

    Jen recommended red velvet elk antler to me and it seems to do wonders on Koda. I actually ran out and got lazy ordering more and we had an episode with one of his knees two weeks ago that was pretty scary for me.

    All you can do is what you are doing. Stay on top of being aware of his discomfort level. If you notice limping take him to the vet and get X-rays. If there's cloudiness in the knee then get a prescription anti inflammatory. Sorry. Knee problems suck.
  • We've had to deal with the two with LP (Toby's sounds very like Conker's...except that I not had to slip Toby's back into place). Bel was the one with the serious LP problem AND the ACL tear. (And her other,non-operated on knee is bad....my vet recommended doing both legs, with a year in between, and I see her struggling with the other leg now).

    But Toby does not compare to Conker, give how inactive Toby is!

    Bel is probably a better comparison. So what I know from my experience with her and what our vet said is that yes, building muscle is good, but at the same time, a dog with LP is at higher risk of an ACL tear. I was told not to let her do a lot of running with fast turns in the yard (like I have much control over that). But as others have said, it's the fast turns and unexpected moves that cause the problem, and in this case, there is probably a very real risk of not just have the patella slip out, but of the ACL tearing too, which makes the whole surgery and recovery process much more complicated and expensive.

    (Bel bit at her leg a lot when she had the torn ACL. Of course she was mostly also not just limping, but carrying the leg in the air. I think the biting is a reaction to pain or at least something going on in there. Bel never whimpered or acted like she was in pain otherwise, though the pain must have been pretty bad in her case).

    Everyone had good suggestions. My vets swear by the glucosamine/chondoitran (and you can get it really cheaply at Walmart--just buy the human type) and it does help. Oskar gets it for his spine problems and we've seen less incidents of pain with him. It's supposed to help with the fluid in the joint capsule, thus allowing smoother gliding. I'd totally forgotten about the red velvet elk antler supplements, so thanks for that reminder, Tara, as we want to do that too. (It's pretty pricey though, but everyone I know who has used it has had rave reviews).

    I'd add the glucosamine, for sure. And yeah, sad as it is, I'd be super careful with the lure coursing. If the knee goes out (and especially if it takes out the ACL too) it's going to be a very expensive repair, and a slow recovery. (We paid $2000 which is significantly lower than most vets charge).
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4055
    I paid $7,000 for Koda's surgery and rehab. California prices you know.
  • ttddinhttddinh
    Posts: 1990
    I give Kaiju an elk antler supplement. He doesn't have LP, but it does wonders on his limberness!
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2082
    Thanks for the suggestions guys!
    I went out and got some more joint stuff and will be upping his fish oil. I've got plenty of junk lying around that I can use in place of a balance ball, so at least I don't need to go out and buy one of those.

    I haven't gotten any x-rays, I'm not fond of spending that kind of money unless something bad happens. I've known about the LP for a while, since he was about 8 months old or so, and every now and then it seems to "flare up" and slip out more often, usually when I slack off on the fish oils or run out of a joint supplement.
    I've noticed that he's got less muscle and more fat when he eats foods with protein levels lower than 30%, so I try to keep that up and feed additional meats when he's not eating straight raw.
    I'd never seen the knee biting until recently though, and figured I'd ask about it.

    Also... He is recently (for a few months) reluctant to jump up onto my bed unless I throw a treat up there first. He doesn't hesitate at all to jump onto the couch or natural things out on the trails (logs, rocks, old wooden benches, me...) but he'll stand there at the foot of the bed and whine in an obnoxious tone at me until I either chuck a treat or pick him up. I dunno if I accidentally trained that into him, or if his knees are actually bugging him enough that he doesn't want to jump up. Either way, I'm going to build him some stairs to take that stress off.

    I'm fine with dropping Lure Coursing, it was a bit expensive for my tastes. Fun as all getout, just expensive. I don't want to drop hiking if I don't have to, so I guess I'll have to be more careful with what he does out in the woods.
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  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4055
    Koda stopped jumping on the bed and won't jump into the car. That's how I really knew before the tear that his back legs were bad. :-/ I would just get Conker a ramp or stairs.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 3016
    I use this brand of elk velvet antler stuff. They're having 30% off sale at the moment and they do single orders or do autoship ones.

    One bottle has 120 tablets Saya gets two a day. normal price is $59.99 and auto ship is $54.99 the bottle lasts Saya for about 60days.
    http://www.natraflex.com/superflex.html

    I also give green lipped mussel supplement science of Vermont is the brand I get. I get this from amazon as they have a two bottle set She gets two a day too one am and one pm the price has gone up sadly amazon had the two pack for 29 or so when I ordered it last..

    Saya doesn't have any HD/LP at the moment, but she does have type of spinal issue so I want be sure I supplement her to be sure her joints stays good. Plus she gets walks to keep her fit.

    I also feed her chicken feet and now turkey feet as they are supposed to be natural condroitine or glucosamine she gets two chicken feet a week or one turkey feet a week well the turkey feet she gets half one day and another as turkey feet are long..

    Saya gets raw fish, caned fish and on weeks she doesn't get fish I give her fish oil.

    Saya likes the taste of the green lipped mussel supplement and the elk antler tablet she didn't like it at first, but now she likes it so must took a while to get used to it.

    I hid it easily in her food and she ate it fine.

    I don't know if the supplements helps her, but I do think it does she is pretty active and runs shiba 500 and chases Bella and Bella chases her..

    I agree muscle helps it too so exercises that helps is good to try too.

    I hope he's feeling better soon.
    Photobucket
    Nicole, 7year old Bella(Boxer), and 7year old Saya(Shiba inu)

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