A Primer on Patellar Luxation in Dogs

Patellar luxation is hereditary and especially common in small and toy breeds of dogs.

Affected animals may also have other leg or joint problems. The patella (or kneecap) lies in a “track” on the front of the leg, where it functions in joint movement, sliding up and down easily as the knee bends and extends. In some dogs and less commonly in cats, the patella does not stay in its track, occasionally slipping (or luxating), usually to the inside of the leg. When this happens, it is called patellar luxation.

A Primer on Patellar Luxation in Dogs

What does it look like

Signs of patellar luxation in dogs vary depending on how severe the problem is.

Most dogs tend to skip or hop when walking or especially when running, but some dogs and cats may hold the leg up completely.

Damage caused by the kneecap slipping in and out of its track can eventually lead to arthritis in the knee.

How is it diagnosed

Your veterinarian can generally diagnosis this problem by palpating the knee joint, but x-rays are often recommended to look for arthritis or other problems.

How is it treated

Many dogs with patellar luxation do fine without any treatment or with only occasional pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medication.

Surgery may be needed in more severe cases or in overweight dogs that typically have much more of a problem when the patella slips. Getting your dog’s weight under control is important in the management of this condition in overweight dogs.

Related articles:
Canine Luxating Patella: Surgical Repair Options for Patellar Luxation in Dogs

Further reading:
Kneecap Dislocation in Dogs

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