Patellar Luxation in Dogs

Patellar Luxation in Dogs

A patellar luxation occurs when a dog’s kneecap gets dislocated from its normal anatomic position from the groove of its femur, or thigh bone. This condition is one of the most common knee joint abnormalities in dogs, and when this dislocation occurs, the only way it can be reset back to its usual position is when the hind legs of the canine relax and lengthen. Because of this, most dogs who had suffered a patellar luxation will hold up their hind legs for several minutes.

Which Dog Breeds Are Commonly Affected by this Condition?

Patellar luxation is most commonly seen in these breeds:

• Yorkshire terrier
• Pomeranian
• Pekingese
• Chihuahua
• Boston terrier

Please note: female canines are more likely to suffer from this condition.

What Are the Symptoms of a Patellar Luxation?

Depending on the severity and persistence of the condition, specific symptoms of a dislocated kneecap may vary. Usually, a dog with a dislocated kneecap will display prolonged abnormal movement of the hindlimb and may occasionally skip around or experience sudden lameness. Dogs will rarely experience pain or discomfort when the kneecap is out of position and may only feel pain when the kneecap slides out of the thigh bone’s ridges.

What Are the Causes of a Patellar Luxation?

This condition is usually caused either through trauma or it is a genetic malformation. Clinical signs will normally start showing around four months after the pet is born.

How is this Treated?

Since medical treatment for a dislocated kneecap has little effectiveness, surgery is the preferred method of treatment for the more severe cases, as it can correct not only the affected structures but also the kneecap movement. After surgery, dogs will recover from the lameness and dysfunction approximately 90 percent of the time.
Another option will be to fasten the kneecap to the outside of the bone to prevent it from sliding towards the inside. Or, the groove of the thigh bone can be deepened to better hold the kneecap.


If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms or you have further questions about this condition, please contact us at 907-479-0001.