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I got a new dog about a month ago (9yo yorkie) and I took her to a new vet and they said that she has a luxating patella and recommended that a $3,172.44 surgery be done to fix the issue or else she'd be looking at arthritis.

My question is... how legit is this?

The dog is always jumping up on her hind legs. If she's in any pain neither I or my roommate see any evidence of it. Also, the veterinary records I got from her old vet (which she had been going to since 2014) make no mention of it. The records mention recommended treatments and says if they were declined (presumably if it doesn't say they were declined it means that they went ahead and did them) so overall it just makes me skeptical - like the vet is trying to line their own pockets by performing an unnecessary procedure.

Does a surgery to fix a luxating patella seem like a legit expense?

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    I recommend getting a second opinion from another vet.
    – SerenaT
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 19:46
  • Animals are good at hiding pain; it's a legit expense if the animal does have a luxating patella, so as @SerenaT said, get a second opinion.
    – Allison C
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 20:54
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    What grade of luxation does your dog have? The need for treatment will depend on it. See ofa.org/diseases/other-diseases/patellar-luxation
    – Cucamonga
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 21:22

2 Answers 2

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Though I am not any sort of vet, I think it's reasonably likely the diagnosis is correct due to the following facts:

  1. It's a common condition in toy breeds which includes yorkies.
  2. The dog might not show pain. Some sources even claim it is rare to show pain.
  3. The condition might only present itself as the dog ages.

However, whether you should jump to expensive surgery possibly depends on the severity of the problem. As people have mentioned in the comments, ask your vet about the grade of the luxation, (a grade 1 being the least severe, and possibly does not require surgery), and ask other vets for their opinion on whether the dog requires surgery.

As your vet said, the condition can lead to problems like arthritis. It also increases the risk of injury to the affected knees. So even if there is no obvious pain now, a surgery may be necessary to ensure the dog has a happy life down the road.

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I'd recommend a second opinion too! Sounds like it all may be a "money grab" but, vets have a way of knowing what may or may not be needed down the road. Remember that they are just people too and can be wrong too. If this were my dog, I'd be taking them for another evaluation by a vet and specifically, a board certified one at that. If need be...and I wondered, I'd be seeking out a 3rd/tie breaker if necessary. Do NOT go on one opinion only though. That's a lot of money for even the average person and that doesn't touch upon the dog's discomfort either. In "fixing one thing...they can break another" as a doctor (human doc) has told me and boy can I ever attest to that! It's uncomfortable for the pet and takes dedication by the pet parent too. Whew!

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