Patellar Luxation

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Toy Poodles

Patellar luxation is a common condition affecting dogs and is more common in smaller dogs.  Dogs with a bow legged stance are more likely to be affected.

The condition is primarily of genetic cause and is a consequence of selective breeding of dogs with a bow-legged form.

The patella (kneecap) is a small bone that is positioned immediately above the tendon at the top of the shin. The patella acts as a  normal extension of the knee joint. It glides up and down within a groove that forms the front of the knee joint. In some dogs, the patella dislocates out of this normal groove. The issue with the dislocation is an inability to properly extend the knee joint. As well as the lameness caused by the affected knee, there are varying degrees of pain and arthritis.

The luxation is graded from 1-4 with grade 3 & 4 requiring surgery.  

Body weight management and controlled exercise are therefore very important to reduce the potential of surgery.

2022: No current tests are available for this condition and its generally identified if your pet is in pain, joints are checked at the 8 week vet visit to confirm puppy does not have any pain when joints are manipulated.