Luxating Patella in Dogs
“Luxating Patella” is a term you may have heard from your veterinarian or breeder. It is a bit of a mouthful, but ‘luxating’ means to move out of its usual groove and the ‘patella’ is the knee cap. So a luxated patella means that the knee cap has popped out of place. This condition commonly affects small dogs such as Pomeranians, Dachshunds and Toy Poodles.
The typical scenario occurs when your dog is playing or running around then they suddenly hold up one of their hind legs, yelping in pain. Sometimes the knee cap pops right back into place and the dog simply shakes it off. Other times it may take longer for the knee cap to move back into the correct location. The luxation is commonly caused when the grooves in the knee joint are not deep enough so the patella bone easily slips out of place, but it could also happen due to trauma.
Shallow bone grooves will wear down further from chronic luxation of the patella. Wear and tear on the joints make the grooves shallower and susceptible to developing arthritis. Dogs that suffer from chronic problems may be good candidates for surgery. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s knees if they experience this condition to see if your vet feels surgery would be helpful. The vet can go in to surgically tie the knee cap in to place and prevent it from slipping.
Anatomical defects of the knee are usually passed genetically, so if your dog suffers from a luxating patella it would not be responsible to breed them and thus pass on this painful disorder to their puppies.