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Q: How can I treat my dog’s stage 4 luxating patella and improve her mobility without the use of steroids?

Original Question: "My small dog (Maltese/Pomeranian mix) suffers from stage 4 luxating patella. She has been on Prednisolone since April 2017. She is currently down to 1.25mg every morning and an additional 1.25mg every third day. She also gets 1/2 a chew of Cosequin every day along with a multivitamin. This past week (since I have dropped the dose down again from every second day) she hasn’t responded well. What else can I do to get her off of the steroid and help her with mobility? She is about 14 pounds and 6.5 years old. She also had fluid removed from her front ankle once before. This is about the same time she started the steroid regiment." - Heath


Vet Certified Answer | Answered: February 10, 2018

Hi Heath,

Thank you for your submission.

It sounds like you really care for your little dog and want what is best for her. You have done a lot already from the sounds of it! If the current treatment is not working for you or your pet, then I suggest consulting with your vet about your concerns. This sounds like a complex issue. They will know your pet’s history best and can recommend alternative treatments or next steps. There are certainly options, but only your vet can advise you if they appropriate for your dog. If not tried before, you may want to consider a joint support diet, or perhaps adding omega fatty acids in addition to the other supplements you are giving. These are often helpful as adjuncts to anti-inflammatories for orthopaedic disorders.

Often, if the pain and mobility issues are not manageable with medications and supplements, surgery may be recommended. Of course, this again depends on your dog’s specific condition and overall health, and should be discussed with your vet. Another thing you may want to investigate is physical rehab therapy – this is a growing area of veterinary medicine and can help improve mobility for a variety of orthopaedic problems.

Hopefully this gives you some direction.

Dr. Kim Hester


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