Medial Patellar Luxation

                            By: Dr Tony Luchetti

A medial patellar luxation (sometimes called a trick knee) is a very common problem in toy breed dogs.  Many owners will notice their dog “skips” for  a few steps on the affected leg, and then all of a sudden starts to walk or run normally on the leg again.

The process which is actually occurring is the knee cap (also called patella) has slipped out of the smooth groove in the thigh bone (femur) which it normally slides up and down in.  In some dogs we may notice this slip of the kneecap, also called a luxation,  in the exam room, and the owner hasn’t seen any skipping or limping with the dog.  In these cases, we usually elect to just monitor the situation.

However in other dogs, the limping can be severe when the patella slips out of the groove.  In these situations surgery is usually the best option.  In surgery, we usually deepen the groove that the knee cap sits in, and sometimes perform other procedures which help to keep the knee cap in the groove.  Most dog’s recovery time is 6 to 8 weeks.

Many dogs will have patellar luxation in both knees.  Once again, if the dog is not having any limping issues, we just monitor the situation.  If the dog is having limping issues we usually perform surgery on the most severely affected leg first, and then perform surgery on the other leg 8 weeks later.

If you have any questions about this condition or any other condition, please don’t hesitate to call.