Oh, no!! Knee problems - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, no!! Knee problems

My darling little Benji is 6 months old now. He started limping intermittently. I took him to the vet who diagnosed him with both back knees having patella luxation, grade 2..The vet could feel the knee caps slip out of the proper place. No xray was done. I was flustered and barely able to get any questions out. I asked and was told no need to confine or restrict his activities. The next day I called to ask about pain meds which had not been given. Benji is going off by himself to hiding places ( behind the couch, behind a planter, etc) He used to hang around me most of the time. I thought this meant pain. The vet agreed to prescribe 3 or 4 days of pain meds and then I"m to call back. He did not prescribe them at the time of the visit because he didn't think Benji was in pain. The pills have not made a huge difference. The vet tech told me this condition doesn't usually cause pain.. maybe he's just weirded out by it. Sometimes he seems fine and runs around, and plays... but he is still limping some of the time, and going off by himself a lot.
I wonder if I should get another opinion. Any thoughts on this?
I notified the breeder, who I believe is a reputable breeder, by email. She responded that she is sorry, that none of her pups have ever had this, and to keep her posted.I know this can happen even to good breeders. However, I was just interested to hear if typically there would be any other response other than sorry.
I am so very worried for my little guy. I can hardly bear to think of him in pain...
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 03:58 PM
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My darling little Benji is 6 months old now. He started limping intermittently. I took him to the vet who diagnosed him with both back knees having patella luxation, grade 2..The vet could feel the knee caps slip out of the proper place. No xray was done. I was flustered and barely able to get any questions out. I asked and was told no need to confine or restrict his activities. The next day I called to ask about pain meds which had not been given. Benji is going off by himself to hiding places ( behind the couch, behind a planter, etc) He used to hang around me most of the time. I thought this meant pain. The vet agreed to prescribe 3 or 4 days of pain meds and then I"m to call back. He did not prescribe them at the time of the visit because he didn't think Benji was in pain. The pills have not made a huge difference. The vet tech told me this condition doesn't usually cause pain.. maybe he's just weirded out by it. Sometimes he seems fine and runs around, and plays... but he is still limping some of the time, and going off by himself a lot.
I wonder if I should get another opinion. Any thoughts on this?
I notified the breeder, who I believe is a reputable breeder, by email. She responded that she is sorry, that none of her pups have ever had this, and to keep her posted.I know this can happen even to good breeders. However, I was just interested to hear if typically there would be any other response other than sorry.
I am so very worried for my little guy. I can hardly bear to think of him in pain...
I would DEFINITELY get a second opinion. I would not be satisfied with leaving my dog uncomfortable enough that they are limping regularly. Many dogs with grade 2 patellar luxation are NOT in pain, but they also don't limp much. You might see them moving their leg around in a funny way to get the knee back in the right place, or some of them will be sound at the walk or trot, but then run on 3 legs.

I also wouldn't want a dog as young as that on long-term pain meds, though, either. If that was necessary to keep them comfortable, I'd bite the bullet and pay for the required surgery.

As far as the breeder's response is concerned, you'll have to read your contract. MANY contracts only cover "life threatening" defects, which this clearly is not. Many others offer a replacement puppy, but very few people really want that option. (the defective puppy is either found another home or put to sleep, at the discretion of the breeder)

A FEW breeders have contracts that will pay up to the purchase price of the puppy toward surgery to correct a problem like this. But there is no "normal" or "usual". It is up to the buyer to read the contract carefully before buying a dog, and feel comfortable with the terms. Have you looked at your contract?


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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Karen, thank you so much for your reply. I will get another opinion. He does this thing whereby he stretches his back legs behind him when he gets up from lying down. The vet believes that is Benji popping his kneecaps back in place himself. When I had his first exam when I got Benji, I specifically asked the vet to check for patellar luxation and he said he didn't have it and they were good and sturdy legs. I had thought of it because he was "bunny hopping".. My latest vet visit was with a new partner in the group.
Do you think that going off by himself, to hiding spots , means that he is in pain? Or could it be part of normal development to need less time near me as he gets older? I am really second guessing myself here.
As for the breeder contract, there are no specifics spelled out re: in the event of a defect. It makes reference to..." we cannot guarantee the health if your puppy is not checked by your vet within this ( 10 day) time period". I am completely committed to Benji, no matter what.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 06:32 PM
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Karen, thank you so much for your reply. I will get another opinion. He does this thing whereby he stretches his back legs behind him when he gets up from lying down.

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Do you think that going off by himself, to hiding spots , means that he is in pain? Or could it be part of normal development to need less time near me as he gets older? I am really second guessing myself here.
Going to hide is concerning… it is not normal for a happy, healthy Havanese, and not a sign of maturing. OTOH, it didn't get much better with pain meds, and I can't see why he would be in pain when he is resting anyway. If there is pain with luxating patellas, my understanding is that it would be when the dog was moving, not at rest. So it could also be that the hiding has some behavioral cause that has nothing to do with his patellas. You might want to have a good local trainer come in to watch him and assess that behavior at home… It's not really possible for us to say long-distance.

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As for the breeder contract, there are no specifics spelled out re: in the event of a defect. It makes reference to..." we cannot guarantee the health if your puppy is not checked by your vet within this ( 10 day) time period". I am completely committed to Benji, no matter what.
Then, unfortunately, you don't have anything to fall back on with your breeder. I wish we could catch everyone BEFORE they buy a puppy and get them to really read their contract. Unfortunately, you are not the first or the last to fall for one of these cute, furry faces and not read the fine print.


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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 08:46 PM
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I am sorry to hear about Benji. Could his knees have gotten injured from jumping? Do you let him jump off things?

I am not sure that he is in pain. It's not painful but more uncomfortable. The dogs gets used to it. Unless he torn something due to his loose knee caps. Fred had bad knees as a puppy. He once was running on the tile and slipped. He screamed and was limping. He was on crate rest for 2 weeks and then he was fine. He live with his bad patellas for years. He had no trouble going on 2-3 mile hikes. In fact that was good for him. I've kept Fred very lean over the years so there was no added weight to stress out his knees. He finally had to have surgery on one of his knees at 7.5 years old. I noticed he wasn't putting pressure on his leg. He was having more bad days than good. His other knee is still holding strong……It's about a grade 3.5-4. Don't know how long it will hold out. He still goes on long hikes with no problem.

I would say if his initial vet check as a wee pup came back fine, the breeder isn't going to honor luxating patella now…Since everything checked out fine as a pup.

Don't rush into doing surgery unless he has more bad days than good in one month. You can walk him doing hills to strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the knee. Also give him daily supplements. I use Coeiquin DS.

Good luck! Please keep us posted!





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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 02:22 AM
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You should also check into your state's laws protecting pet buyers. Florida has fairly aggressive statutes that allow buyers to recover portions of their vet bills as well as other remedies if a dog is diagnosed within the statutory time limits (up to a year old for congenital defects I think). It's been a long time since I've bred dogs so I'm not up to date on new statutes, but you should at least check into your states laws in case you end up with big vet bills and the breeder isn't responsive.

I hate to sound like I'm assuming that your breeder isn't reputable or won't work with you on this because I'm not, but that's the reason that Florida enacted stricter guidelines for people who sell pets. So many backyard breeders and puppy mills have taken advantage of dogs, cats and their buyers!

That said, I also used Cosequin DS as a daily supplement for a dog I had with hip dysplasia. It definitely helped him with both pain and mobility without the adverse effects of having to take pain meds or steroids on a long term basis.

Last edited by DawnH; 03-14-2014 at 02:33 AM.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 02:31 AM
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I would say if his initial vet check as a wee pup came back fine, the breeder isn't going to honor luxating patella now…Since everything checked out fine as a pup.

Don't rush into doing surgery unless he has more bad days than good in one month. You can walk him doing hills to strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the knee. Also give him daily supplements. I use Coeiquin DS.

Good luck! Please keep us posted!
Linda, can they actually tell when puppies are really young that they'll have the problem? I asked my vet to check Manny for LP on his checkup the day after I bought him at 11 weeks and she said she didn't feel a problem but that he would have to be older to give a definitive answer.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 05:25 AM
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Hmmm. I'm not sure. I got Fred when he was 13 weeks and my vet said he had luxating patellas then. They were only like a grade 1-2 then. Bella's and Scudders knees checked out fine as pups and they are still good today at 9.5 and 7 years old





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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-15-2014, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate all the input.. Linda, about the jumping. The only thing I am aware of is about a month ago he was sitting with my husband and managed to jump down from the foot part of a reclining chair. It is only about a foot and a half off the ground. My husband said Benji kept on running after jumping down, didn't show any sign of pain or any problem at that time.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-15-2014, 12:43 PM
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I don't think that little jump would damage his knees. I bet he was born with them and the first vet missed it...





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