Patellar luxation is a dislocation of the kneecap often seen in small and toy dogs. It is considered to be hereditary. A fall or a twisting injury may aggravate the already existing condition. Pet owners often see this as a “skipping” gait – their pet may ‘miss’ several steps on the affected leg.
The kneecap is generally dislocated medially (toward the inside of the leg), where it locks and then may release spontaneously when the leg is straightened. The animal carries the leg with the knee turned inward. Often the patella can be manoeuvred back into position by careful hand pressure. One or both legs may be involved.
To prevent crippling arthritis and deformity, surgery is usually necessary. Several different techniques for the correction of patellar luxation have been developed and your veterinarian will describe the one he feels will help your pet.
Breeding of affected animals is not recommended.
Medication must be fitted to the particular needs of your pet.
Limit your pet to short leash walking for toileting only for 3-4 weeks after surgery. Prevent running and jumping as much as possible. Also, keep your pet away from slippery floors.
Some surgical corrections require a splint or bandaging for a variable time after surgery. If your pet is wearing such an apparatus, keep it from getting damp or wet by covering it with a plastic bag when your pet is outside. Notify the veterinarian if your pet chews or damages the splint or bandaging.
Unless the incision is covered, check it daily and report any abnormalities to the veterinarian.
NOTIFY THE VETERINARIAN IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING OCCURS:
• There is swelling, redness or drainage at the site of incision.
• Splints, supports or braces become dirty or bent or change position.
© Forrest Hill Vets (2000) Ltd