Braveheart Bourbon

Bourbon is about as cute as a dog can get. He is a lovely little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who worried his owners sick when he became very lame and uncomfortable on one of his hind legs at the beginning of September, It seemed to happen particularly if he had been on a long walk or after he had been resting.

On examination by vet Ian, there appeared to be a problem in Bourbon’s stifle (knee) joint. The patella, or knee cap kept popping out of place. This is unfortunately not uncommon in small breeds of dog and can usually only be repaired surgically.

Bourbon was booked in for surgery the following week and was admitted and settled in by the nurses. He immediately took to all of the attention and thought that the veterinary surgery wasn't actually the worst place in the world after all...! There was food and cuddles and a warm heated bed to lay on!

The surgery to correct this problem in a dog is very interesting. The kneecap sits in a groove on the bottom of the thigh bone and slides up and down in this groove when the dog bends his knee.

In cases like Bourbon’s, the groove which it sits in is very shallow and often the ligaments within the joint are weaker, allowing the kneecap bone, or patella to simply slip out of the groove where it normally sits. This can be very painful until it pops back in, as anyone who has had a dislocating kneecap will tell you! The surgery involves the deepening of this groove and the stabilisation of the area with metal pins and it usually very successful in preventing the kneecap ‘popping out’ ever again!

Glenn did a fine job of fixing Bourbon’s knee and post surgical x-rays show a much happier looking joint.

Obviously, this surgery is potentially very painful and so Bourbon was placed onto an intravenous drip which contained a continuous dose of painkillers. We find this approach to pain relief very successful in a lot of our surgical cases and so Bourbon was able to make a steady and most importantly, pain free recovery. It really wasn't long before he was up and about and wanting a tentative walk in the garden.

Bourbon was ready to go home after 2 days of careful nursing in the hospital. He was eating well and managing to walk even with the big dressing on his leg. His owners brought him back a couple of days later and after the dressing was removed, he started to improve even more. Bourbon had one minor setback a few days later when he was quite sore, probably from twisting the wrong way or catching the leg slightly but after a quick x-ray and examination to check everything was still OK, vet Glenn was confident that everything was going to plan and after some painkillers at home he felt happier.

The use of Bourbon’s leg is now really improving. He is still on restricted exercise as I write this but soon he will be allowed his full ‘off the lead’ freedom!

We are seeing him in a couple of months to see if his pin needs removing but he’s really through the worst of it now and he thankfully has a kneecap which should now stay where it belongs!

Throughout all of his treatment he has been a pleasure to have around. His happy little waggy tail greeting everyone he meets!

Congratulations Bourbon! 

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