Health & Medical

Medical: Agh, Luxating Patella

Latte Westie Sleeping

It happened all of a sudden. That night, mama came home to my usual warm welcome. Little did I know that it would be different. Something snapped out of place in my left hind leg while I was jumping on mama (however futile my attempt was to reach beyond her knees) and I caught myself limping helplessly. My limited memory told me that this may have happened before but it never lasted more than a few seconds. I could feel the panic in mama as she kneeled down to check on my leg. To end mama’s worry, I tried my best to walk normally but the pain was just too much to bear. Failing the test, I heard mama sigh. That meant a visit to the vet again ๐Ÿ™

After a night spent tapping her fingers noisily on the silver machine, I heard mama mention “Luxating Patella” repeatedly to Lionel. I am generally uninterested in words that are not “apple”, “salmon” and “treat” so I went back to chewing my bone. At the clinic, my friendly vet, Dr. Yang examined my leg and told mama that my condition was pretty serious. She kept moving my leg back and forth, and each time, I would feel my knee snap. Then it was mama’s turn to do exactly the same thing while I stood at their mercy. I heard more words like “surgery” and “painkillers”. They didn’t sound exciting at all.

Later that day, my dinner came with a white round treat! It didn’t taste good but I would never turn down a special treat from the humans. After dinner, the pain in my leg disappeared! For the next 19 days, I had that white round treat in my bowl every morning. It would help with my pain for a few hours before I go back to limping again.

What really helped was when mama started giving me another treat that she calls “Glucosamine” every morning. It used to be given during lunch but my leg only got better when it became my morning treat. This treat doesn’t taste good as well, but it must be nutritious!

Though I still limp once in awhile, I have gotten better. The only thing that changed is mama doesn’t let me climb the stairs anymore. But that’s fine by me! They are tiring!

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Latte is the happy Westie behind Vanillapup, a website for dog lovers. Discover latest products and services, dog-friendly hangouts, helpful tips and advice, and exclusive perks.


  1. Lydia

    June 14, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    My dog has been limping and falls down while am walking her, I took her to the vet and said her knees were bad . I been giving her COSEQUIN for about 4 weeks and I really havent seen an improvement, I really dont want surgery. This morning I pick her up and massage her knee and I felt like something snapped, but she is walking and getting up better since that happen, She is a Maltese that should weight 5 pound because she a toy breed, she has gain 3 pound now she weights about 8 pound. I think her weight has a lot to do with her limping. I have put her on a diet and continue to give her the Cosequin. Has anyone out there had this problem with their dog? And do you thing the knee snapping put it back in place?

    • vanillapup

      June 14, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      Hi Lydia,

      Sounds like your Maltese has luxating Patella too. It’s really common amongst smaller dog breeds. Did the vet say anything about the reason for the limping?

      My vet showed me how Latte’s knee joint would snap in and out of place. Depending on the severity, the joint may snap in and out very easily. Once you learn to snap it back in place, you can help your Maltese whenever needed. You can google more about it.

      Latte doesn’t limp anymore even though her patella is still quite serious. I’m pretty confident that she wouldn’t need surgery as long as I’m careful.

      Here are some tips:
      1. Maintaining a healthy weight is the most impt so you are doing the right thing. Any additional weight would burden her knees.

      2. Do not let her jump/run too much or climb stairs/steep slopes. It would hurt her knees even more. However, do not eliminate exercise totally. She would need her daily workout to ensure the muscles around her knees are strong.

      3. I gave Latte Glucosamine and it helped her a lot. You may want to try it. It won’t cure the patella but it sure improved Latte’s condition. I read somewhere that a medication called Ruta Grav helps with Patella. We don’t seem to have it here in Singapore. You may want to ask your vet about it.

      4. I also tried massaging Latte’s knees gently when her limping was pretty bad. It helped relieve her of some pain ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hope this helps and may your Maltese recover soon!


  2. Yu Yin

    May 5, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Aww… I feel so sad for Latte… : ( U can try giving him a good massage to make Latte distracted from the pain. My friend’s westie’s condition was very bad ( as the whole leg got out of place and the bone was broken as she and her dog had an accident ). Hope my advice helps! Try tummy rubs too!

    -Yu Yin

    I’m pretty sure Prince, my dog (toy poodle 5 months old) wants to say hi!

    Okay, take care!

    • vanillapup

      May 5, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Prince and human! Thanks so much for your concern and advice ๐Ÿ™‚ I am better now, no more limping. Mama is proud of me!

  3. Dollissimo

    September 21, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Hi Latte,

    There is a FaceBook Open Group – WESTIES HEALTH — FROM EARS TO TAIL and it’s a great place for Westie “paw-rents” to discuss breed-specific topics.

    I found this recent thread on Luxating Patella -

    Hope this helps!

  4. Dollissimo

    September 21, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Hi Latte,

    A few of us are members on this FaceBook Group – [b]WESTIES HEALTH — FROM EARS TO TAIL[/b] . It is an open group!

    It’s a great resource for Westie Owners to share and discuss breed-specific health issues.

    This thread has some information on Luxating Patella

    • vanillapup

      September 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      Hi Dollissimo!

      This is a really good resource! Thanks so much for the links. My knee really isn’t doing very well. I limp very frequently and I’m pretty scared of going to the vet! Hope I will get better and be like the 14 year old (now 15) westie.

      Have also joined the group ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Priscilla

    September 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Hi my westie boy had similar case like yours, he was limping after 2 weeks I brought him home. His disease was genetic called Legged Calves Perthes. I brought him to Dr Dennis Choi from Mt Pleasant at Jalan Gelanggang

    • vanillapup

      September 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      Hi Priscilla,

      Thanks for sharing! How is your boy now? Would you recommend Dr Choi for this condition? I am really trying to avoid surgery though ๐Ÿ™

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