Luxating Patella in Dogs | Signs, Causes, Treatment and Prevention
Luxating patella (or “lax”) is a very common problem in dogs. It is usually caused by a combination of genetics, injury, or degeneration of the patella tendon. This is the most common knee problem in dogs, but unfortunately, it is often misdiagnosed or ignored. Read on to discover the most common causes, symptoms, and treatment options available.
What Are Luxating Patellas in Dogs?
The first step is to define what a “luxating patella” is. Basically, a “luxating” means that the patella (kneecap) has become unstable due to a weakening of its ligaments (tendons). Sometimes the ligaments are so weak that the patella is completely displaced from its normal position. This is usually the most common condition, but other times the patella still can be found in the knee socket. If you don’t notice your dog moving the knee very much when he bends it or straightens it, it might not be a problem yet. If the patella isn’t displaced, but the knee is unusually floppy, it’s possible that the patella is not “lax” but simply “meshed.
Signs of Luxating Patellas in Dogs
The symptoms of patellar luxation in dogs are fairly typical and there are several different types of symptoms to look out for: Fever Walking difficulties Euphoria Chronic lameness Stiffness Constipation Difficulty with the movement of the leg and/or joint Grooming issues Manicore Compensating or compensating behaviours Nonspecific lameness How to Diagnose Luxating Patella in Dogs A joint exam will be the first step in diagnosing a puppy or young dog with luxating patella. There will be pressure in the joint, which is not there on the human joint. A visible lump can be felt in the tissue of the patella, with a caliper measurement needed to diagnose it as luxating.
Causes of Luxating Patellas in Dogs
There are a number of different causes of a dog with a luxating patella. The most common are: Abnormal wear and tear of the patella tendon. Ligament injury. Collapsed patella. Overuse injuries. Symptoms Luxating patellas can cause pain and swelling in the front of the dog’s knee. Sometimes, the top of the patella may appear concave, and the dog will appear to be about to sit on its “knees.” If the dog is at rest, this condition can quickly become painful. The dog may not display any outward signs of pain, such as limping or barking in pain. Risk Factors There are a number of risk factors that increase the risk of developing a luxating patella. The two most important risk factors are: Patellar curvature (caused by musculoskeletal disorders).
Treatment of Luxating Patellas in Dogs
In most cases, a dog will recover completely if it is treated promptly and thoroughly. The most common method of treatment for this problem is surgery. If you are treating a dog for the first time for a common knee problem, I recommend having the dog examined by your veterinarian and having it professionally x-rayed (for cost reasons). The most accurate way to diagnose the issue and recommend the best treatment is to obtain a full set of x-rays of the dog. Luxating patella occurs in nearly every breed of dog, and it is not always the cause of the problem. However, if your dog is at risk of developing the condition, you should discuss all treatment options with your veterinarian before the dog undergoes any surgery.
How to Prevent Luxating Patellas in Dogs
The biggest risk factor is old age. Dogs that are age 15 or older are at a significantly higher risk of developing luxating patellas than younger dogs. There is no way to completely avoid developing the condition, but there are some things you can do to minimize your dog’s risk. Age – The older your dog, the higher the likelihood that they will develop luxating patella. If you have older dogs, keep an eye out for any signs of pain and swelling in the joint. – The older your dog, the higher the likelihood that they will develop luxating patella. If you have older dogs, keep an eye out for any signs of pain and swelling in the joint. Hypermobility – Your dog has one of two different types of hypermobility.
Luxating patella can be a very uncomfortable, painful condition in dogs. Luckily, with the right diagnosis and treatment, most dogs can lead full and happy lives.