Luxating Patella

 

This is a very common orthopaedic condition found in dogs where the patellar luxates or dislocates.  It is graded from I to IV with grade I being the least severe.

 

This condition is generally thought to be caused by a breed defect but can also result from a traumatic injury.   There is not one specific cause when looking at skeletal breed faults but most likely a number of issues will be involved:

 

  • Deformed tibia

  • Excessive angulation or torsion of the femur

  • Malformation of the hip – including a condition called Hip Dysplasia

  • Soft tissue tightness

 

You may notice that your dog:

 

  • Carries its limb all of the time or skip

  • Have a general lameness

  • Repeatedly stretches the hind leg in order to reinstate the patella in the femoral groove

  • Pull up sharply when moving

  • Yelp or cry with pain

 

It is also more common in the smaller or toy breeds.   There is also a likelihood that both knees will be affected if the condition is caused by poor breeding.

 

It is especially useful in Grade I conditions for reducing any tightness that may be found in the quadriceps muscles.  The four muscles in this group all need to pull at an equivalent strength to ensure that the patella runs as evenly as possible.  If one area is tighter than another then this can lead to maltracking.

 

It is also useful for addressing any areas of over-compensation that may be present due to the dog attempting to reduce the weight on the affected limb(s).