Medial Luxating Patella
What causes luxating patellas in dogs?
The patella (knee-cap) is a small bone buried in major tendons of the leg, and sitting in the groove of the thigh bone. Luxation means that the knee-cap is slipping out of the groove, usually when the knee flexes. This is an extremely common condition in smaller dogs. It may affect one or both legs. Genetics plays a major part in this happening, although trauma can sometime contribute. Some dogs are affected more than others. One of the common signs that you would notice is your pet suddenly carrying one back leg up for a few steps ("skipping").
Mild cases may sometimes be treated with medicine. However, many affected dogs can benefit from surgery to correct this problem.
How do we surgically fix this problem?
1. We enter the knee and deepen the femoral groove so that the knee cap sits deeply in its normal position and doesn't slip out.
2. Sometimes we also tighten the tissues on the outside of the knee and loosen the tissues on the inside of the knee, to help pull the knee cap into place.
3. In really bad cases, we also need to realign the tibial crest, which is the bone that the patellar tendon connects to.