Does your pet occasionally hop, skip, or have difficulty bearing weight on their back legs? This could be a sign your pet is suffering from kneecap displacement, also known as patella luxation. Patella luxation repair is an orthopedic surgery that can correct your pet’s dislocated knee and help ease their pain!

What is patella luxation? 

When the patella (kneecap) pops out of its natural groove, it rides against the bone which can cause pain, discomfort, and eventually arthritis. The kneecap may dislocate toward the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) of the leg or move in both directions. Medial luxation is the more common condition that occurs mostly in small and miniature breed dogs, such as chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Pugs, and toy poodles. 

Signs to watch for: 

While hopping, skipping, or avoiding putting pressure on the leg are the easiest signs to acknowledge, there are several other signs you can look out for. 

● Limping 

● Abnormally carrying leg or legs 

● Inability to bend the knee

● Pain when moving the leg 

● Will not run or jump 

● Refusing to exercise 

● Swelling 

● Weak legs 


In general, the goal of orthopedic surgical procedures is to bring your pet’s limb back to a normal or near-normal state, and a patella luxation repair is no different! Every case is different, so to ensure your pet receives the best treatment, we will do a thorough examination and assess the joint using x-rays. Typically, the groove in which the kneecap rests will be deepened to help the patella stay in place. The joint capsule will be tightened, which acts like an internal brace, stabilizing the kneecap. In more severe cases, the piece of bone holding the tibial attachment of the patellar tendon (where the tendon attaches to the shin bone) may be cut and moved to better align the patella with the groove. This will be secured with two small pins. This additional step (called a TTT) helps realign the knee joint to prevent the likelihood of future dislocations. In the most extreme cases, your pet’s knee may be so deformed that it requires the thigh and shin bones to be cut, rotated, and plated for alignment. It is often recommended to repair sooner than later to prevent future problems. 

At Animal Works, we are committed to doing everything possible to prepare you and make the procedure a smoother experience for both you and your pet. If your pet is limping or recently diagnosed with needing a patella luxation repair to help restore mobility, feel free to give us a call. A referral from your primary veterinarian is recommended but not required for this procedure. Call us today or visit our website to learn more about patella luxation repair surgery and pricing.