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Luxating Patellas in dogs

Luxating patella is a common condition in dogs where the kneecap slips out of its regular position. It most commonly affects small and toy breed dogs, but it can occur in large dogs and in cats.

Most of the time it is inherited, occasionally it can happen after an accident or injury to the knee joint.

Luxating patella causes lameness in one or both back legs.

A symptom people often notice first is a skipping gait, your dog may hold up their hind leg for a few steps, then walk or run normally again.

For some dogs it doesn’t seem to cause any pain, but for others it can be more severe. It can get worse with age, as arthritis develops in the knee joint.

Signs of luxating patella include:

  • Hind leg limping
  • Skipping or hopping with one hind leg raised
  • Pain or discomfort around the knee
  • Difficulty jumping up on furniture or into the car
  • Loss of muscle mass in one back leg compared to the other
  • Swelling or thickening of the knee joint

It’s best to visit your vet and get your dog checked out if you think that they may have a luxating patella, because there are a number of conditions that have similar symptoms.

The treatment for a luxating patella depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, no treatment may be necessary, and your pooch will lead a happy life without any issues. Some dogs need help with occasional flare-ups of pain and others will need surgery to correct the problem.

There are things you can do to help your pup if they have knee problems like luxating patellas.

  • Regular exercise to help strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the knee joint.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce stress on the knee joint
  • Avoiding activities such as jumping from high places or rough play that can increase the risk of traumatic injury to the knee joint.

Acupuncture can help with mild cases of luxating patella, helping reduce the pain and improve mobility.  Acupuncture can also help with the recovery after surgery, and with managing the arthritis that has occurred due to abnormal movement in the joint.

If you’d like to chat about your dog with knee problems, please give us a call.




Image by Grace Brauteseth on Unsplash

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