Dog Luxating Patella
Dog Luxating Patella
Signs and Symptoms that your dog has a Luxating Patella
Most Toy and small breed dogs, fall prey to luxating patellas. However, dogs that have relatively weak muscles, ligaments and tendons, can also have a luxating patella; just as it can also occur in medium and large breed dogs that have kneecap grooves that are too shallow or constricted. If this happens, your dog’s knee will actually slip within the groove and will then lock up – which will prevent your dog from bending his leg at all.
The phrase ‘luxating patella’ is a rather elaborate term for a dislocated knee or a ‘trick knee’. It used to describe a situation where your dog’s knee, the visible joint on the front side of their hind legs, actually slips out of its own socket.
Each dog can be affected differently by a luxating patella. In most situations, your dog will simply keep his leg off of the ground for a short time, before putting it back down and running or walking around normally on all four legs. In other situations, your dog may prefer to keep his leg up off of the ground for a much longer period of time, such as a few days.
However, if your dog is experiencing a luxating patella on both of his hind legs, it will cause him to hop around like a rabbit. The pain and discomfort of a luxating patella will force some dogs to not walk around at all or, at the very least, it will cause them to walk solely on their front legs whilst they keep their hind legs behind them in the air. In either situation, a luxating patella, or dislocated knee, can eventually lead to arthritis in a dog’s senior years.
Treating a luxating patella
All dogs, especially very small breed dogs and very large breed dogs, should have their knees checked at least every two years by their veterinarian.
If you believe that your dog does indeed have a luxating patella, your first step should always be to try and keep your dog as still as possible. Definitely discourage any running around; at least until you can take him to see a veterinarian.
The veterinarian will probably prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, or perhaps a steroidal anti-inflammatory. However, it is best to remember that these medications contain harsh chemicals that are known to have horrible side effects and will usually only deal with the inflammation and not the actual problem of the dislocating knee.
For some dogs, surgery may be the only viable option and your regular vet will refer you and your dog to a qualified orthopedic surgeon. Keep in mind, however, that most knee surgeries are not 100% effective and that there is a 50% chance that the luxation will reappear sometime in your dog’s future.
A dog that has a history of a luxating patella should be kept trim and lean through eating a Dog Diet that consists of freshly cooked foods that contain plenty of vitamin C, as well as providing your dog with moderate exercise. A dog that is overweight will have a much harder time with a luxating patella because he will be placing unnecessary extra weight on his knee. Let your dog walk up a slight incline as this will help strengthen his muscles that surrounding his damaged patella.