THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO PATELLAR LUXATION IN DOGS

May 14, 2019

Frenchie PATELLAR LUXATION in frenchies a complete guide

The complete guide to Patellar luxation in dogs:

Patellar luxation is one of the leading causes of lameness in dogs. Although it is rarely caused by injury, it can result in significant pain and suffering for your pet if allowed to degenerate. It is important to get the condition checked right away by your vet as this condition will only get worse in time, not better as some may believe. In order to help you understand just what patellar luxation is and what risks it holds for your dog, we decided to create this guide. It explains exactly what you need to know about the meaning, causes and symptoms of patellar luxation in dogs and French Bulldogs in particular and how to treat this condition.

WHAT IS PATELLAR LUXATION IN DOGS?

Patellar luxation occurs when a dog’s patella slides out of place in the knee, usually far to one side or the other. It is also referred to as a "trick knee". The term is made up of two separate words: patella and luxation. The patella is simply a dog’s kneecap. Every dog has two knee caps, one on each rear leg. Luxating on the other hand means “out of place” or “dislocation”. Ordinarily, a dog’s patella sits at the front of the stifle joint, what passes for a dog’s knee joint.  When it functions properly, the patella should ride smoothly in a groove along the femur which allows better joint flexibility and leverage for the knee.

But when the groove is too shallow, it can cause the patella to slide out of place and move to one side or the other. When the patella slips out of the femoral groove and rests on the inner side of the dog’s leg, it is regarded as a medial luxation. When it rests on the outside, it is a lateral luxation. The disease is most commonly associated with young dogs, but it often only becomes evident as the dog grows. According to Prevalence studies the disease occurs more in female dogs than male dogs and may be seen in cats as well.

 

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT GRADES OF PATTELLAR LUXATION AND WHAT DO THEY MEAN?

Patellar luxation in dogs usually occurs in grades. These grades determine the seriousness of the affliction and how much treatment the dog is likely to need. There are generally four grades.

  • Grade I: For this grade of the disease, your dog may only exhibit minor symptoms that will be difficult to discern. At this point, the patella can be manually moved out of normal position but it will return when released.
  • Grade II: At this point, the patella will luxate when the dog flexes the stifle (knee joint) or on manual manipulation. It will however return to its normal position after the stifle is extended or if it is manually returned. So, the dog will only be occasionally lame at this stage.
  • Grade III: When the condition is at this stage, the patella will be continually dislocated. Even though it is manually replaced, it will move out of its normal position when manual pressure is removed.
  • Grade IV: This last grade will be diagnosed when the patella luxates continually and can no longer be manually replaced. The dog will appear permanently lame and will most probably need surgery.

 

WHAT DOG BREEDS ARE PRONE TO LUXATING PATELLAS?

As patellar luxation is basically hereditary, it is useful to know if your dog is one of those associated with the disease. The dog breeds prone to the disease include the following:

  • French Bulldog (or a Frenchie )
  • Other Bulldog types (such as English Bulldog, Australian Bulldog American Bulldog etc...)
  • Poodle
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Pomeranian
  • Chihuahua
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Shit-tzu
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Bichon
  • Pug
  • Yorkshire Terrier

 

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF PATTELLAR LUXATION IN DOGS?

Studies indicate that patellar luxation is mostly genetic or congenital, with dog breeds passing them down from generation to generation. It rarely happens due to trauma or injury to the dog’s knee.It is a developmental disorder that results in prevention of an adequately deep and wide femoral groove. This is usually caused because the dog has a patella ligament that is attached too far inward. The patella ligament runs from the bottom of the patella to the tibia. When the thigh muscles, which are attached to the top of the patella contract, it pulls the patella ligament which then straightens the knee joint.When it is attached too far inward, it causes the patella to pull against the femoral groove. After a while, the constant movement will wear down the groove and cause the patella to luxate.

 

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR FRENCHIE OR DOG HAS LUXATING PATELLA?

Depending on what stage your dog’s patella luxation has degenerated to, you may be able to tell if they have the disease.Unfortunately, it’s quite unlikely that you’ll find out until the patella has started to dislocate. You can usually tell from your dog’s sitting posture or how the dog walks. Due to the pain cause by the dislocated patella, an affected dog’s movement would be accompanied by a hopping motion. Eventually, the dog may refuse to put any weight on the leg, holding it permanently off the ground.If both legs are affected, the dog may move in a permanently crouched gait or may even walk with both legs off the ground.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T TREAT YOUR DOG'S LUXATING PATELLA?

Untreated patellar luxation in dogs can lead to severs disability, it will not improve with time as some may assume. Every time the patella dislocates, it damages the cartilage lining the inside of the joint, leading osteoarthritis. This will also cause your dog a lot of pain. Continuous rubbing of the patella on the outside of the groove will eventually expose bone and this can lead to infection. In puppies, serious deformation of the limb can occur from the constant dislocation.In all dogs, the continually abnormal position of the patella will eventually destabilize the knee and cause a rupturing of the cranial cruciate ligament. 

 

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR LUXATING PATELLA IN PETS ? 

Thankfully, it is possible to treat patellar luxation in dogs and cats. You may consider natural remedies which may include supplements and physical therapy or invasive treatment such as surgery. It is important to mention that you may not have many options if your dog’s condition has degenerated far enough.

 

AU NATURAL - HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT LUXATING PATELLA IN DOGS

It is possible for you to adopt homeopathic, alternative medicine non-surgical treatment and care if your dogs' condition is still mild.

You can try a range of natural remedies including but not limited to:

  • Weight management - Ensure that your dog is not overweight. Excess weight will stress the dog's joints and allow arthritic changes to the knee happen much faster.
  • Adopt a raw or homemade diet for your dog which will greatly help improve cartilage and joint condition of your dog.
  • Give your dog glucosamine and chondroiton supplements to help improve the cartilage and potentially joint fluid.
  • You could also try acupuncture from a veterinarian that specializes in treating knee conditions.

 

INVASIVE - SURGICAL TREATMENT LUXATING PATELLA IN DOG

For cases from grade 3 to 4  you may be limited on treatment options other than surgery. When done correctly, and early enough, surgery will help rehabilitate your dog’s knees and repair any damage to the ligaments.Surgery will ordinarily entail moving the patella ligament and fixing it to the proper position. The femoral groove will also be deepened so the patella will stay in place. The capsule around the knee will also be tightened.DID YOU KNOW ? Frenchiestore helps dogs worldwide one harness at a time.Since January 2019 we have launched the Frenchiestore Back 2 Health Program which gives one free Health Harness to any dog that is recovering from surgery, going through physical therapy, water therapy or any other health related issues.

 

CAN YOU PREVENT YOUR DOG FROM DEVELOPING LUXATING PATELLA?

Unfortunately, patellar luxation in dogs is genetic and difficult to prevent. Although exercise can help prevent or reduce the impact on the dog’s knees but it may not prevent the condition. Keep your dog's weight down with the proper amount of exercise and diet to give your pet the best chance at a healthy pain free life.

 

We write our informative Pawsletters due to questions we get daily. If you have a particular question or subject you want us to address please write us at hello@frenchiestore.com, DM on Instagram or leave a comment below.





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