Yorkie

Yorkie Luxating Patellas or LP in Yorkies

Luxating Patellas also referred as Yorkie knee problems, which is where the knee cap dislocates. This does occur in Yorkshire Terriers and other dogs, especially the toy breeds. Patellar luxations can be caused by either of two situations. Accidental which is those caused by some type of Injury and can affect any pet, or Congenital which is Inherited and which exists from the birth of the puppy. When the patella luxates, then lameness can occur because it's causing an inflammation at the joint, but quite often will get better on it's own when the inflammation subsides. Diagnosis can be made by your vet and can be confirmed with x-rays if the patella is dislocated at the time the x-rays are taken. In all honesty though, a good vet can use a hands on to feel for a luxation. All animals with LP can develop arthritis as they get older.

The patella is located in the lower femur bone called the trochlear groove and the patella moves up and down in this groove and if the the groove is too shallow it can cause it to luxate as the leg is used. Quite often the extensor muscles are often aligned to the inside or outside of the leg which is a problem also. The degree of patella luxation is graded from I to IV by OFA standards depending how easily they luxate.

Grade I is the mildest and grade IV the most severe.
Grade I and II patella luxations may be completely asymptomatic, meaning you don't even realize there is a problem and the dog has never been lame. These grades should rarely require surgery.
Grade III may have problems, and Grade IV luxations are usually lame on either affected leg, or in most cases both legs. A great deal of Grade lV's will require surgery.

The decision to have surgery on a dog with luxating patellas is one each owner has to make on their own, but based on the above, you need to look at whether the dog is lame or not, meaning does it spend a lot of time holding a leg up off the ground because it obviously hurts. In most situations the dog lives an entirely normal life. Just like most people whose knees are not the best either.

Many toy dogs live their whole lives with luxating patellas and are never lame. Luxating patellas also referred to as a trick knee which can pop out of place if injured by jumping off furniture, bouncing too much, or injuring the leg outside, or something similar. Toy dogs can be prone to this because they are small in size. No matter how firm the knees seem as puppies, toy dogs are liable to injure their knees over time. Since the grooves in the knee can sometimes be shallow it can allow the knees to pop out. The taller more fine-boned dogs seem to be more prone to this kind of injury.

If you are one that lets your dog jump on and off furniture, provide them a stool to get up and down from the furniture to prevent as much trama as you can happening to those knees. A couch is double a toy dogs height, that is a long way to jump without suffering a lot of pounding on those knees over time.

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