Click here to learn more.
A. The patella is the proper name for the kneecap. In dogs, the knee is the first joint down from the body on the back legs, and when the patella is “luxated,” that means it slips out of position. In humans the problem is sometimes referred to as a “trick knee,” but it’s no treat to walk on, that’s for sure.
Luxated patellas are not uncommon in small dogs, and not unheard of in big ones, either. (Occasionally they show up in cats as well.) Mild luxation is often found by a veterinarian during a wellness exam, although more severe problems are often discovered exactly the way your dog's was: The pet carries the affected leg so as not to put pressure on the joint, or cries out when walking or running. The problem is not a misstep or twisted knee, though; it’s the result of a deformity of the joint.
Veterinarians rate the severity of the luxation based on the age of onset and the joint’s ability to slip back into a normal position. Typically, when the problem shows up early, it’s more severe and more likely to be addressed with surgery. Luxated patella is thought to be hereditary, which unfortunately means that once it's been diagnosed in one knee, your dog is likely to have problems with the other knee as well.
For dogs with mild luxation, whose kneecaps go in and out of a normal position, the condition may be able to be handled with rest, strict weight control (keep your dog at or slightly below normal weight) and pain management. Dogs with more severe cases will likely need surgery on one or possibly both knees. Your veterinarian will go over surgical options with you, or may refer you to a board-certified veterinary surgeon. In severe cases, surgery is needed to help the pet live a normal, active and happy life.
One further point: Because of the hereditary issue, it’s important that you have your pet spayed or neutered (if you haven’t done so already) to keep this condition from being passed on.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Manatees risk losing their endangered
status — and one organization needs
your help to prevent that from happening.
Hundreds of mourners gathered to pay
their respects to Kye, a police K9 killed in
the line of duty in Oklahoma City.
Jiff landed two Guinness World Records titles: fastest 10 meters on hind legs and fastest 5 meters on front paws.
Dr. Marty Becker shares feline breeds known for their brains and trainability, from the Abyssinian to the Siamese.
Patrick, who's believed to be the oldest wombat in the world, celebrated his big birthday at a wildlife park in…
The 274 experts we surveyed wouldn’t call these dogs lazy, but these pups may have better things to do than learn a…
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.