The most common dog kneecap problem is a slipped kneecap, or what veterinarians refer to as Luxated Patella or slipped stifle. Smaller breeds, such as Miniature Poodles and Maltese, are far more susceptible to Luxated Patella than larger breeds, and females experience a much higher incident rate than males. It hasn’t been determined why female dogs are more susceptible than males, but some researchers feel it could be related to the different gene or hormone makeup between female and male dogs.
Luxated Patella is caused when the dog’s kneecap becomes dislocated toward the inside or outside of the leg, or when one or more of the dog’s kneecaps move in both directions. While slipped kneecaps can and do result from a direct blow to the knee, they more often occur because of congenital birth defects. The crippling effects of a patellar luxation are related to the severity and duration of the luxation. Severe cases cause intense pain in and around the knee, which in turn causes limping.
Many techniques are available to treat Luxated Patella, depending on the severity of the condition. Treatments range from rest and the administration of pain relieving drugs in mild cases to complete surgical knee reconstruction in the most severe cases. Satisfactory results are usually obtained if the joint degeneration has not progressed too far. Once treated, most affected dogs make a satisfactory recovery, except reoccurrences are common when dog’s don’t undergo surgical treatments.