Large breed dogs like the Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound and Saint Bernard can also develop the disorder, but their kneecaps more frequently slip to the outside of the leg, which is called a lateral patellar luxation (LPL). In some cases, only one leg will be affected, but about half of the time both legs develop symptoms of the disorder.
The symptoms of patellar luxation vary depending on the severity of a dog's condition. Most commonly, an owner will notice that while his or her dog is walking, trotting or running it will suddenly hold up a rear leg for a few strides and may cry out in pain. Eventually, the dog straightens out its leg and runs off as if nothing happened.
Veterinarians rank patellar luxations according to their severity based on physical examination. Exam findings include:
Patellar luxations develop either because the knee did not develop correctly, in which case genetics may play a role, or because of injury to the joint. The kneecap normally rests in and slides up and down a groove at the end of the femur.
The groove is supposed to be deep enough to prevent the kneecap from spontaneously popping out to one side or the other. But if the groove is abnormally shallow or if an injury has damaged the joint, the patella can move out of the groove causing the leg to "lock up" until the kneecap returns to its normal position.
Treatment for patellar luxations depend on the severity of the condition.
Several different surgical treatments are available. A veterinary surgeon will determine which is best depending on the severity and exact details of a particular dog's condition. In all cases, the goal of surgery is to keep the patella from popping out of its normal position.
It is not possible to prevent cases of patellar luxation that originate because of abnormal development of the knee. If you are picking out a puppy from an at-risk breed, it does not hurt to ask if any of the puppy's relatives have symptoms of patellar luxation.
Otherwise, make sure your dog does not become overweight as this increases stress on his knees. At the first sign of any problems, have him evaluated by a veterinarian.
Consulting Veterinarian: Jennifer Coates, DVM
With such a long list of breeds to choose from, some people have no clue what breed would fit their needs. If that describes you and you just want a nice family pet, adopting a dog from a local shelter or Humane Society may your very best option..
On the other hand, if you know exactly what you want and why, you should locate a reputable breeder who can help
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