HomeNewsMay 24, Patellar Luxation: Understanding this problem, Causes, Solutions

    May 24, Patellar Luxation: Understanding this problem, Causes, Solutions

    by Janice Jones     |Last Updated 05-24-2023

    luxation, luxating patella, dislocated kneecap, trick knee, and floating kneecaps are terms that refer to a condition where the kneecap can move in and out of

    Patellar luxation, luxating patella, dislocated kneecap, trick knee, and floating kneecaps are terms that refer to the same condition.

    Patellar luxation occurs mostly in toy and small breeds of dogs weighing
    22 pounds or less, but can occur in dogs of all sizes. 

    In the majority of cases, luxation is a congenital condition
    and shows up as soon as puppies begin to walk. 
    In other dogs, it may appear some time later.

    It is most likely inherited though the exact mode of transmission is not

    Breeds Affected with Patellar Luxation

    Most breeds
    that are affected are tiny, small or medium sized dogs.  According to the Orthopedic Foundations of
    America, the breed most acutely affected is the Pomeranian with a whopping 37.2 percent affected followed by the
    Yorkshire Terrier at a rate of 24.4 percent affected.

    yorkshire-terrier-600.jpgPatellar Luxation is very common in Yorkshire Terriers

    Other small breed dogs that may be affected include:

    Less common, but still an issue, patellar luxation is diagnosed in these
    small breed dogs:


    A little dog
    could be having fun running around and playing. 
    Suddenly he stops and holds up his leg as if he can no longer walk. 

    The next instance, his leg is back to the ground,
    and he’s back to running and playing. 
    There is usually pain associated with the knee popping out and then again
    when it pops back in.  In young dogs, it’s hard to notice this pain because it is

    You might
    just see a
    short limp, even a skip as the dog runs or trots, or a sudden loss of
    support.  Some dogs sit oddly where their
    knee is placed outward rather than tucked in. 
    Any of these symptoms will be intermittent with the dog returning to
    normal within a very short period of time.

    Over time,
    the knee cartilage wears thin because of
    the frequent movement in and out of the grove. 
    At this point, there will be a bone to bone contact,
    and this is when the dog begins to feel severe pain.

    Some dogs
    may rupture their cranial cruciate ligament. Dogs Naturally Magazine reports
    that at least 15% to 20% of dogs with patellar luxation will at some point
    suffer from a cruciate ligament rupture. 

    Levels of Severity

    grade the degree of severity by assigning
    it to one of four levels:

    The Kneecap pops out and then pops
    right back in.  (The veterinarian can
    manually do this manipulating during a routine office visit) Often
    newborn puppies will show signs of abnormal hind leg carriage as early as when
    they start walking. 

    The kneecap pops out but doesn’t pop
    back spontaneously and may need help to manually manipulate it back into place.

    The kneecap rests outside the grove most of the time, but it can be manually set
    back where it will only stay for a small time period.

      The kneecap remains outside the grove
    and won’t stay in place even when
    manually put back in place. Often newborn puppies who eventually get
    diagnosed with Grade 3 or 4 will show signs of abnormal hind leg carriage as
    early as when they start walking. 


    will likely be able to palpate the knee joint and manually manipulate it in and
    out of place. 

    Sometimes sedation is
    necessary to do this.  X-rays or a CAT
    scan will be helpful and likely ordered if surgery is to occur.

    They are also done to rule out or identify other orthopedic problems that may also be affecting the dog.

    Treatment Options

    Surgery would be the last
    treatment of choice, especially if the
    dog diagnosed with a grade 3 or 4 luxated patella.  

    During surgery, the veterinarian will carve
    out a deeper groove at the end of the femur so that the kneecap can remain in
    place.  If there is a ruptured ligament,
    it can be repaired at the same time. 

    But before
    surgery is scheduled there are other things that you can do to improve the dog’s
    overall quality of life. 

    Most dogs with
    a mild problem will live their entire life without needing surgery.  A few life changes can keep the dog quite

    According to
    Dr. Karen Becker, there are several steps that you can do.  She recommends that dogs with this problem
    maintain a healthy body weight.  Less
    stress will limit any stress on those joints. 

    She also suggests that the dog should keep moving, which is in direct
    contrast to older thinking that recommended dogs remain as still as possible.

    Lastly, she encourages you to provide an oral joint supplement such as chondroitin/glucosamine.  

    Dr. Julie
    Mayer, a holistic vet, and owner of
    Integrative Pet Care and operator of Therapist
    in Chicago, recommends certain exercises
    that can help with the condition.    

    the treatments that she encourages includes swimming and underwater treadmills,
    going up and down carpeted steps several times a day and leg weights. 

    relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be prescribed and may make the
    dog more comfortable.

    Changing the
    diet or adding additional nutrients can also be effective.  The goal of supplements is to control inflammation
    and inflammation and prevent osteoarthritis. 

    At the same time, the diet should supply antioxidants, provide building
    blocks for the synthesis of collagen and promote healthy connective tissue. 


    Since this
    is an inherited condition, dogs that are
    affected should not be bred.

    Does This Article Deserve Your Thumbs Up?

    We always appreciate your support and encouragement.  Your thumbs up means so much to us.  Please like this article.

    If you find this page or any page on Small Dog Place Helpful, or Useful in anyway, I’d love it if you would click the small heart found on the bottom right of each page.

    You can also share or bookmark this page — just click on the:

    10 Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Dog Breed

    Free Monthly Newsletter

    Sign Up for Our Free Newsletter and get our Free Gift to You.

    my  E-book, The Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Dog (and how to avoid them)

    This article was originally published by Read the original article here.

    Must Read