Chihuahua Knee Problems – Patellar Luxation

Have you noticed your Chihuahua hopping while holding one of their back legs up? This type of knee problem is a sign your Chihuahua may have developed a condition known as patellar luxation. While some Chihuahuas can live their entire life without a luxating patellar causing them any discomfort, others will find it quite painful when any pressure it placed on the problem knee. Because of this, it's important for owners to watch for the symptoms and warning signs your Chihuahua has developed this condition.

What Is Patellar Luxation?Knee X-Ray

When a Chihuahua or other dog breed suffers from patellar luxation, their knee joint (known medically as the patella) slips or luxates out of its normal place. A healthy patella should remain in the cartlidge groove where the Chihuahua can freely move it back and forth without any discomfort. However, when the ridges that form the groove are compressed, there may not be enough room for the patella joint to freeley glide, in which case it can slide out of place fairly easily.

There are two primary types of patellar luxation - medial and lateral. A medial patellar luxation is identified by the knee joint slipping inside towards their body, while a lateral patellar luxation is when the join slips outwards and away from their body.

Symptoms of Patellar Luxation

One of the most prominent symptoms associated with patellar luxation is your Chihuahua skipping and holding one leg up while they walk. Many owners brush this off as simply a character issue with their Chihuahua, but nine out of ten times it's a sign their patella has slipped out of place. Owners may also notice their Chihuahua yelp or cry out in pain when picked up from the rear or jumping off the couch or bed. Pay attention to these symptoms and always be aware of what's causing your Chihuahua pain and discomfort.

If you suspect your Chihuahua is suffering from patellar luxation, contact and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. If it's left untreated, it could lead to early arthritis and cause your Chihuahua to lose the motor functions of the problematic leg.

Causes of Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is fairly common amongst small dog breeds, including Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, Toy Poodles, Jack Russel Terriers and Chihuahuas. Typically, this condition is congenital, meaning they are born with this trait. If either one of the parents possessed this trait, then it's likely their offspring will be born with it.

Because patellar luxation consists of the knee joint slipping out of place, Chihuahuas and other dogs can develop it during any point in their life. There are many cases of physical trauma causing this condition in dogs, as well as obesity. When a dog becomes too heavy, excessive force is pressed against the patella joint, causing it to slip out.

Chihuahua SurgeryTreatment

Treatment for patellar luxation will vary depending on the severity of the condition. For mild to moderate cases (grade 1 & 2), surgery is usually not recommend, as it may cause complications and make things worse. Instead, be watchful over your Chihuahua and try to avoid placing any pressure on the problematic knee. When you pick them up, do so gently and avoid touching their leg.

If your Chihuahuas condition is severe (grade 3 & 4), however, a veterinarian may suggest various surgical treatments to repair the patella and/or groove. A skilled veterinarian will take x-rays to inspect the knee and determine what the best course of action is. Surgery may involve deepening the groove, re-positioning the ligaments or tightening the capsules around the patella.

Video of Lola The Chihuahua With Grade 4 Bilateral Medial Patellar Luxation

Resources:

Patellar Luxation Overview

Patellar Luxation Surgery