Luxating Patella in Dogs

Three Minutes Apr 15, 2022

What is a Luxating Patella?

Patellar luxation occurs when your dog’s kneecap is dislocated from the groove of the thigh bone. The only way for the kneecap to return to normal anatomic position is for the muscles of the hind legs to relax and lengthen. Luxating patella is one of the most prevalent knee joint problems among dogs.

Breeds at High Risk for Developing Luxating Patellas

Luxating patellas are most commonly found in miniature breeds including:

Most of the dogs affected by patellar luxation are middle-aged. Female dogs are also more commonly found to acquire this condition than male dogs.

Symptoms of Luxating Patellas

The symptoms of the condition correlate with the severity of the condition. Generally, a dog with patellar luxation will exhibit difficulty moving the hindlimbs and sudden lameness. These symptoms may not be apparent at all times and often come in an “on again-off again” sequence. Pain may occur occasionally with this condition; primarily when the kneecap slides out of the groove of the thigh bone. This often occurs as your dog is running and you may notice her cry out in pain mid-run.

Over time, if the condition is not corrected, your dog may become increasingly lame and may eventually not be able to move at all. This is because the joint associated will develop arthritis and result in a permanent swelling of the knee. In order to prevent long-term effects, a veterinarian must be visited to conduct a thorough examination.

Causes of the Disease

Patellar luxation is most often a result of genetics although the condition may also be a result of trauma. Selective breeding is key in preventing this condition from spreading throughout the breed. If either of your dog’s parents had this disease, your dog is at a high risk for developing the disease throughout his or her lifetime.

Treatment of the Disease

Drug therapy is generally not effective with this condition. Surgery is often recommended to correct patellar luxation. Following surgery, a dog generally recovers within 30-60 days.

Protect your Dog

Enroll in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.