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My dog’s “knee” pops out about 10 times a day. Can this be fixed?

Question:

My dog’s right knee pops out at least 10 times a day, and I believe this is called a luxating patella. I took her to the vet and they just gave her anti-inflammatories for the pain and said to take it easy. However, recently, she looks in horrible pain with both legs and walks awkwardly. Should she have surgery?

Answer:

Thank you for your question. You have indicated that your 10-month-old dog (breed not stated) has what we call a luxating patella, or a dislocating kneecap. You indicated that this is happening about 10 times per day. If it is happening that often, it is most likely a severe enough problem that surgical correction is indicated. These surgeries are generally very successful in restoring good function for dogs and can be performed on one or both legs.

I cannot tell you based on this history if there are other concurrent conditions in the knees or hips you should be concerned about, but that should show up during a physical examination and from X-rays of the legs. I would suggest talking to your family veterinarian and asking if a referral to a surgical specialist is indicated for help with your dog’s problem. In addition, this article on patella luxation might answer more of your questions.

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