A luxating patella can be a painful condition for dogs, but it is also very treatable. In severe cases, surgery may be required, but in many cases a dog brace can suffice.
What is a Luxating Patella
The term luxating means out of place. The patella is a dog’s kneecap. A luxating patella means a dog’s knee cap is dislocated. Patellar luxation is a very common orthopedic condition, especially for smaller dog breeds, but large dog breeds can also be affected. The most common larger breeds to experience patella luxation include:
- Labrador Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- St. Bernards
While the condition is often genetic, it can also be caused by trauma such as car accidents.
- Intermittent limping
- Sudden intermittent loss of support in the rear legs
- Sitting in an abnormal position
In severe cases, a luxating patella can lead to cartilage erosion due to constant friction, or lead to a cranial cruciate ligament tear, the dog version of a torn ACL.
Luxating Patella Brace Options
Many pet owners turn to knee bracing as a surgery alternative when the condition is mild. Bracing the knee allows the dog’s soft tissue to stabilize and gain the elasticity it needs. There are several rankings of luxating patella that define the severity, so be sure to talk with your vet about your dog’s specific needs.
Dog braces for luxating patellas typically come in two options.
Rigid knee braces hold the patella firmly in place and do not allow for any movement of the knee cap. Over time, the lack of movement can cause muscle loss and atrophy if used incorrectly or for too long. Rigid knee braces require a custom fit and can be on the pricier side.
Flexible braces hold the knee cap in place to a limited degree while also allowing for better overall mobility. Flexible braces also tend to be less expensive than custom brace options.
Ortho Dog’s specializes in kneed braces for larger dog breeds. Our cruciate care knee brace is a flexible and adjustable brace option for larger breeds suffering from a luxating patella.
As always, speak first with your vet about what options are most suitable for your pup. Your vet may also recommend supplements to improve joint support and/or specific exercises.