Dog Health: Slipped Knee Cap (Patellar Luxation)

Dog | Slipped Knee Cap (Patellar Luxation)

An Introduction to Slipped Knee Cap (Patellar Luxation)

Dr Erin Coomer - Veterinarian

July 2013

The patella is the knee-cap. At the top (proximally), it attaches to the quadriceps muscles, and at the bottom (distally) it attaches to the top of the tibia bone. The patella allows the quadriceps muscles to straighten the knee joint. Normally, the patella sits within a groove in the femur bone.  It should ride up and down within this groove, as the leg moves.

Dog Slipped Knee Cap (Patellar Luxation) information

Causes of Slipped Knee Cap (Patellar Luxation)

In some dogs, the patella can abnormally move out of its groove.  The movement is most commonly in a medial direction – meaning, towards the other leg (to the inside).  Lateral/outward luxation can also occur, but is more common in large breed dogs.

This is a chronic problem for your dog, which may...
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Symptoms of Slipped Knee Cap (Patellar Luxation)

Affected dogs most commonly show one of the following signs:

•  Skipping/hopping gait (they pick up one leg every now and then)

  Running on 3 legs

  Bow legged appearance

Many dogs do not appear overly painful

Symptoms/limp may have been present for months/years. 

Commonly bilateral (on both sides)

Normally small...
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Treatment of Slipped Knee Cap (Patellar Luxation)


Your Veterinarian will examine your dog and collect a detailed history.

During the physical examination, your Vet will watch your dog walk and also palpate the knees.  He/She will be able to quickly determine if your dog has patellar luxation(s). The degree of movement is often graded on a scale from 1 –...
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