According to Vet Surgery Central, the best way to help a dog recuperate from a luxating patella surgery is to restrict the dog's activity. The pet should only be taken out on a leash to eliminate for the first few weeks. About three weeks after the surgery, physical therapy should begin.
Suitable post-surgery physical therapy includes swimming and hydrotherapy. Range of motion exercises should also be performed. The goal of these therapies is to encourage the dog to use the recovering leg, to rebuild muscle and to prevent stiffening of the joints. If both knees need surgery, Dr. Hines, DVM suggests having surgery done on one knee and then waiting for eight weeks before having surgery on the other knee. Most luxating patellas are corrected through reinforcement of the lateral collateral ligaments, which allows the ligaments to once again pull the patella back into its normal position. The surgery should be performed before arthritis has a chance to develop. Luxating patellas are usually caused by a congenital defect that allows the patella to shift out of its normal location. Symptoms include an intermittent skipping gait, lameness and pain. If not corrected surgically, the problem can lead to debilitating arthritis in the knee joint.