Patellar Luxation in Dogs
We all love our dogs and we don’t want them to have any problems, but the ugly truth is that some of our favorite furry friends have some health problems. One of the most common health concerns is luxating patella in dogs.
What exactly is patellar luxation in dogs?
The “luxation” part of the name can be best described as “out of place” or “dislocated”, and the patella is a part is actually a kneecap. The patella is located at the end of the biggest thigh bone - the femur, and just above the knee. Patellar luxation in dogs can be described as a dislocated kneecap or a kneecap that moves out of its predefined place.
How can I know if my dog has patellar luxation?
The first step to noticing any health problem your dog might have is to keep a close eye on them. One of the worrying signs should be if you notice your dog limping or walking on three legs. Sudden loss of leg support or an unnatural sitting position with the dog’s leg placed in an unnatural position. Luckily, this condition is usually detected rather early and there are many procedures you can take to help your dog.
Is a luxating patella painful for my dog?
The best short answer is - it can be. Patellar luxation in dogs is graded from I-IV, depending on how serious the dislocation is. Some dogs can endure this condition their whole life, without the need for any serious intervention or medical procedures while others can feel different levels of discomfort and even severe pain.
Some of the biggest problems a luxating patella can cause are the damage of the knee cartilage, inflammation, and tearing of the ligaments. If your dog is diagnosed with this health problem, ask your vet how severe the situation is and what would be your best options?
How to treat patellar luxation?
The treatment method for a luxating patella is decided based on the Grade and how much discomfort it is causing your dog. “Easier” or “lighter” cases are usually not being operated but can be managed with alternative methods.
Grade I is the least serious condition and the kneecap usually pops back in its place by itself. It can be managed with supplements and exercises.
This level of patellar luxation in dogs is a bit more serious. In Grade II the kneecap becomes dislocated a lot more often and can cause long-term knee damage. If it is a milder case and the dog does not show signs of pain, surgery will not be recommended right away but if a dog is showing pain or the patellar luxation occurred because of physical trauma, surgery will most likely be recommended.
This grade is a serious medical issue. The dog’s kneecap is mostly outside of its predefined position and the dog had problems walking. The dog will not use the affected leg or will use it unnaturally and its leg will be slightly twisted. Surgery is the only way to deal with this problem.
This is the worst-case scenario when dealing with patellar luxation in dogs. The kneecap is permanently out of its normal position and the bone beneath it is severely twisted. In this case, the dog is unable to use its leg. Major surgery is the only way to help your dog and the recovery process will be long.
We certainly hope that you will not encounter such a problem but if you do, now at least you know what you are dealing with. Keep a close eye on your dog and provide them with enough exercise and a healthy diet so it can remain active and healthy for as long as it can.
World Dog Finder team