Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation in pets is the result of a kneecap becoming dislocated. The patella, or kneecap, is normally kept in place by ligaments. However, in some cases, these ligaments can weaken due to such factors as injuries or congenital abnormalities. This condition is quite common in small breed dogs and some cats.

Patellar Luxation

How it Affects your pet

As stated above, a luxating patella can be the result of an injury or congenital abnormality. Congenital abnormalities on pets include legs that turn inwards or malformations of the trochlear groove. This is the groove that the patella slides into, and if it is too shallow, the kneecap will luxate when the knee joint bends. Luxation of the patella can also occur if the patellar ligament's distal attachment is medial, rather than central. When patellar luxation occurs in dogs or cats, they will have difficulty carrying any weight on their leg until the ligament becomes properly aligned again. Typically, only one knee joint is affected, but the condition can also be bilateral, affecting both knees.

Common symptoms

Symptoms of a Luxating Patella: Limping or Hopping When Your Pet Walks or Runs, Difficulty Jumping On or Off Furniture or Stairs, Intermittent Lameness and Displacement of Legs. These symptoms are often intermittent and can occur at varying times. The lameness your dog or cat experiences, is known as mechanical lameness. This means that the pet is lame because its kneecap is causing an abnormal pull on its leg, preventing normal movement. Additionally, the lower part of the leg will push out a bit to the side while the kneecap is dislocated. This is typically temporary, and when the kneecap returns to its normal position, the leg will return to its normal position as well. In most cases, the kneecap will pop back into place on its own. However, over some time, the condition can worsen.

Treatments

There are four grades of luxating patellas, and treatment varies depending upon the grade that each pet is diagnosed with. Grade one is the mildest form and typically does not require any treatment or immediate cause for concern. However, in moderate to severe cases, surgery may be required. Surgery will help ensure that the patella stays within the patellar groove of the femur, and it can also prevent osteoarthritis from developing. Limiting physical exercise is also recommended after surgery. Joint supplements, special diets and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication may be necessary as well.

Breeds Affected

While luxating patellas can affect any breed of dog or cat, the most common domestic animals affected are small dogs. The following list includes some of the pets most commonly affected by Luxating Patellas: Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Toy Poodles, Maltese, Pekingese, Yorkshire Terriers, Pappillons, Devon Rex Cats, Abyssinians and Domestic Shorthairs.

Patellar Luxation Affects

  • As stated above, a luxating patella can be the result of an injury or congenital abnormality. Congenital abnormalities on pets include legs that turn inwards or malformations of the trochlear groove. This is the groove that the patella slides into, and if it is too shallow, the kneecap will luxate when the knee joint bends. Luxation of the patella can also occur if the patellar ligament's distal attachment is medial, rather than central. When patellar luxation occurs in dogs or cats, they will have difficulty carrying any weight on their leg until the ligament becomes properly aligned again. Typically, only one knee joint is affected, but the condition can also be bilateral, affecting both knees.

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