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Bambi is a beautiful three-year-old Cocker Spaniel cross. After being thrown from the back of a moving van, she was rescued and taken in by the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) in Watford. From the start, it was clear that poor Bambi had trouble standing and walking. Initially thought to be trauma resulting from her fall from the van, radiographs taken at the NAWT’s first opinion practice revealed chronic, bilateral, luxating patellae.


Patellar luxation is a common condition in dogs. When functioning normally, the patella (kneecap) glides up and down within a groove in the stifle when the joint is extended. However, when suffering from luxation the patella moves outside of this groove, making it difficult for the patient to extend the affected joint. This in turn can cause lameness, pain and osteoarthritis. Patellar luxations are graded depending on the severity, and Bambi’s were classified as grade four meaning that her patellae were continuously luxated and could not be moved back into place manually.

Clinical Director and orthopaedic specialist, Michael Hamilton operated on Bambi’s worst affected limb (her right) first.


Surgery to correct Bambi’s patellar luxation involved cutting the tibia below the knee joint, moving a portion of the bone (the tibial tuberosity) and fixing it with pins into a position which realigns the movement of the limb.


Next, a block trochleoplasty was performed to deepen the groove in which the patella sits, providing further stabilisation.

Recovery from this surgery went very well, and Bambi’s left leg was repaired using the same technique just three weeks later. Aftercare involved rest and physiotherapy, carried out both at home and on site with our rehabilitation team.

Bambi has continued to make great progress with her health, and is now pain free and able to run, jump and play like any other dog. Additionally, thanks to the dedication of her foster carers Bambi has now found a forever home with them.

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