How is a Patella Luxation diagnosed?
If you suspect your pet may have a luxating patella, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian because early detection can help your pet recover more quickly and can prevent other problems such as lameness and arthritis.
Your veterinarian should perform a physical exam and check for any instability in your pet’s kneecap and identify any signs of pain. Watching your pet walk may help your veterinarian observe any abnormalities associated with your pet’s gait.
X-rays may also be taken to help confirm and assess the knees for patella luxation. The X-rays will help identify the severity of a patella luxation as well as any other underlying or concurrent problems.
Does a Patella Luxation cause any long-term problems for my pet?
This depends upon the grade of the luxation and whether both legs are affected to the same degree. There are several degrees of patella luxation, graded from I-IV. In affected pets, one or both kneecaps may luxate, sometimes to a different degree. Approximately 50% of affected dogs have both knees involved while the other 50% have only one knee involved. Some pets may tolerate this condition for many years, even for their entire life.
However, patella luxation can predispose the knee to other injuries, such as cruciate ligament tears, other muscle or joint pain, and arthritis. The weight-bearing stress on the leg is altered by having a patella luxation and can lead to changes in the hips, thigh, and shin bones. In addition, as the pet ages, arthritis will develop and can result in decreased mobility and joint pain.