Patella Luxation is when your dog’s kneecap no longer slides up and down smoothly in your dog’s thigh. When your dog has luxating patella, they can limp occasionally or consistently, depending on how severe their condition is. They will also show signs of stiffness, for example not being able to get out of their bed easily or only walking short distances. Dogs with a Luxating Patella need to have their kneecap supported, to help stabilise their patella as well as reduce the chances of sustaining a more severe injury to the luxating patella.
A Luxating Patella in dogs
A luxating patella, also known as a floating kneecap, is a common orthopaedic condition that affects dogs. It occurs when the patella (kneecap) becomes dislocated from its normal position within the groove of the femur (thigh bone). This displacement can cause varying degrees of lameness and discomfort for the dog.
It is a genetic condition that can affect any dog breed but more commonly toy and miniature breed dogs such as Poodles, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers and Pomeranians. The condition will sometimes only affect one leg but can be seen in both knees in around 50% of dogs.
Signs and symptoms of a luxating patella
Symptoms of luxating patella in dogs can vary, depending on the severity of the condition, however some common symptoms are:
- A ‘skipping’ or ‘hopping’ lameness where one or both legs are held up for several steps while running, then return to normal
- Where both legs are affected, you may see ‘bunny hopping’ or dragging of the legs for short periods as well as a stiff and awkward gait
Difficulty extending the affected leg or reluctance to bear weight on it
- Pain or discomfort, especially when the patella is out of place
- Swelling or thickening around the knee joint