Hello, Floyd here and I would like to tell you a little bit about a subject that commonly effects small dogs like me- patellar luxation. I am going to turn the floor over to Dr. Carlson to give you the details on this topic.
So what the heck is patellar luxation? A patella is the medical term for a kneecap, and luxation means the kneecap is slipping out of joint. This syndrome is very common in young small breed dogs, although it can occur in large dogs and cats also. Many dogs with patellar luxation are very mildly affected and have no symptoms at all. Others may exhibit the classic signs of a dog with intermittent rear leg lameness which occurs very abruptly and then disappears. These dogs may go from zero lameness, to carrying the leg up, and back to normal again, often within moments.
The most common cause is a congenital malformation of the groove that the kneecap slides up and down in. This can be accompanied by a twisting of the bone above or below the knee. Although the diagnosis is normally made in the exam room, your veterinarian will perform an orthopedic exam and usually take x-rays to ensure other conditions that cause lameness are not present also.
Fortunately, in dogs with lameness, this condition is very amenable to surgical correction. Multiple procedures are used and individualized to each dog’s condition and anatomy. Deepening of the groove, repositioning of the patellar tendon, and tightening or loosening of the capsule around the joint are most frequently employed.
Until next time,
Mark Carlson, DVM
Stow Kent Animal Hospital