What is it?
Patella luxation occurs when the patella (kneecap) dislocates from the groove along the front of the stifle joint, preventing normal extension of the joint. This is often caused by bone and muscle abnormalities.
Who is affected?
This is a disease is common in small dogs, such as chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers and Pomeranians. They can start showing signs as puppies or young dogs with 7% of puppies being diagnosed; however, it is common in mature dogs as well.
What are the signs?
The common signs of luxating patella are a ‘skipping’ lameness, curved leg stance, a continuous lameness, stiffness, reduce hindlimb muscle mass, lowered head carriage and occasional pain signs.
What can I do?
Your veterinary surgeon can diagnose patella luxation in a routine health check followed up by X-rays, and CT scanning or MRI if needed. After diagnosis, conservative or surgical management can then be discussed with your vet. After they have recovered from surgery or if you have chosen to treat them with conservative methods, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy is very important to increase joint range of motion, reduce stiffness and muscle tension, prevent contracture, and increase muscle mass and endurance.