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Canine Patellar Luxation

The patella is the medical Latin term for the kneecap. The kneecap is located inside our quadriceps (and that of our dog). The quadriceps is the large muscle mass on the front of the thigh that enables us, and our dogs, to stand up, jump, do squats, run, and do other activities. And, the patella helps the quadriceps perform these functions by acting as a fulcrum that slides back and forth in a groove (the trochlea) on the front of our knee. Unfortunately, some dogs develop an alignment problem and the patella starts popping in and out of that trochlear groove. When that happens the cartilage of both the patella and the trochlear groove becomes damaged/worn and it hurts. Consequently, the misalignment should be addressed to get the patella to move smoothly back and forth in the groove without popping out of the groove. There are several different ways to do this including:

  • Deepening the trochlear groove so that the patella sits more deeply inside and is less likely to pop out
  • Shifting the alignment of the quadriceps mechanism so that it keeps the patella in place
  • Adjusting the ligaments that hold the patella in places
  • Straightening a malaligned (i.e. curved) femur

Our team is experienced and ready to help your pup!