Last updated Mar. 18 2019 | 2 min read
Luxated Patella: Should You Take Your Dog To The Vet Just For The Occasional Limp?
You are playing fetch with your 2 year old Chihuahua when all of a sudden, he cries in pain and you notice that he starts to limp with his lower back leg.
He skips on the other three legs for about 2 to 5 strides and then starts to run normal again as if nothing happened.
This incident occurred two to three more times in the last couple of months, but is becoming more frequent…
Should You Take Your Dog To The Vet?
The answer is yes, definitely! Your dog may be suffering from luxated patella.
Luxated patella, also referred to as ‘trick knee’ or ‘slipped kneecap’, is a hereditary condition in which the kneecap (patella) regularly dislocates or moves out of position (luxate), especially toward the inside. The condition often occurs in both legs, but usually to a different extent.
The patella is found in the center of the knee joint. In a normal knee, the kneecap rests in a rather deep groove where it slides up and down in a usual, controlled manner. But when the groove is too shallow or out of shape, the patella pops out of the groove and shift to the sides, usually toward the inside of the patella. This result makes the leg lock up while the foot is held off the ground, causing your dog to yelp in pain and limp.
Luxated patella mostly occurs in smaller breed of dogs, although it can affect medium and larger sized breeds. When it strikes, this condition causes lameness and pain for your dog. In minor cases, the patella slides out of the groove and then slides back without any enduring discomfort or lameness. Your dog will yelp in pain, hold his leg up for a few seconds, then feel fine again when the knee moves back into place.
In other cases, the patella pops out for longer periods or more frequently, causing damage to the knee capsule. The pain lasts longer and the dog usually appears bowlegged.
Luxated patella is a congenital disorder, meaning that the condition is present at birth. But the presence of this problem does not make your dog disabled. He can still live normal and happy, with the ability to do all of the activities he loves to do, and for the rest of his life.
Keep in mind, however, that without any treatment or if treated improperly, having a slipped kneecap causes the knee to become susceptible to worse injuries, such as a torn ligament.
As your dog ages, a slipped kneecap can also lead to diseases of joints and bones, which can result in arthritis.