Patella Luxation: What You Should Know

Patella Luxation: What You Should Know

Patella luxation is a condition RSPCA WA vets see regularly – especially in small dogs. 

If you’re wondering if this is something you should watch for in your furry friend, read on to find out the warning signs.

What is patella luxation?

Patella luxation is condition where your pet’s kneecaps dislocate suddenly or don’t stay in the correct place.  It is a common form of hind limb lameness in small-breed dogs, but can occur in dogs and cats of all ages and breeds.

Can it be fixed?

The severity of this condition is referred to in grades from 1 to 4.

Grade 1 being that the patella spends most time in the groove, but can be pushed out, and Grade 4 being that the patella is permanently outside the groove and can’t be pushed back.

Grades 1 and 2 may only require medical treatment for pain and swelling, depending on how the animal is coping, while grades 3 and 4 are often best corrected with surgery. 

Over time, if left untreated, patella luxation can cause joint problems and osteoarthritis.

It’s important to know the signs, as early intervention can save pets from discomfort and pain.

How do I know if my pet has patella luxation?

Signs include temporary or occasional lameness, possibly accompanied by a “hopping” motion. Eventually, your pet may hold their leg permanently off the ground. If both legs are affected, they may adopt a crouched gait and posture or appear bow-legged. 

If your pet is resistant to having their leg maniputaled, this could be an early sign of patella luxation (this may be noticeable during activities like grooming). 

If you notice any of these signs, it is best to get your pet checked by a vet ASAP.

Is there a way to prevent the condition?

Patella luxation is most commonly a result of genetic predisposition, but can also be caused by injury. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight and making sure they are fed a high quality diet, like Hill's, helps to make sure your pet is in tip-top condition. Regular vet checks are the best way to catch patella issues early.


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