Patellar dislocation in dogs and cats - Degrees I, II, III and IV

The world of veterinary orthopedics deals with dislocation of the patella on a daily basis: a very common problem in the lives of active dogs and cats and which can greatly impair the mobility and health of animals. Also called patella, the patella is the knee bone of the animal that has its alignment with the quadriceps muscle as its main function and, therefore, when this portion is dislocated, the joints in the region of the affected animal's knee occur - causing from a lot of pain for the animal to a great loss in its level of mobility.

With orthopedic surgery as the main and most efficient form of treatment, the dislocation of the patella it begins to show very clear signs as the condition progresses, and lame walking is one of the first and main symptoms to be noticed in animals affected by the complication. Although it can affect dogs and cats of all breeds, this problem is most commonly seen in small dogs and in obese or very active cats; compromising their mobility in a very significant way.

Just as in the case of the vast majority of diseases or complications (orthopedic or not) that can arise in the lives of dogs and cats, patellar dislocation is a problem that has a much greater chance of effective treatment when its diagnosis is made early. - since, in this way, the surgical procedure can be performed when the level of evolution of the problem is still low; ensuring that greater damage does not develop in the region of the kneecap and, consequently, that complications can be reversed in a simpler, faster and more efficient way.

Bearing in mind that the problem of dislocation of the patella in dogs and cats can cause a lot of discomfort and greatly affect the mobility - and, consequently, the health - of the animals, stay tuned to the main symptoms, causes, means of diagnosis and treatment of this problem, which is more and more frequent nowadays.

Patellar dislocation in dogs and cats

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Being a congenital disease or that develops due to trauma, patellar dislocation can only be prevented in the life of dogs or cats when it originates in some type of accident; since, in cases where the animal is born with the pathology, there is no way to prevent its development as the animal grows - it is up to its owners, just, to wait for the symptoms to appear before starting an appropriate treatment and castrating the animal so that we don't have more descendants with this congenital pathology.

Although, in the vast majority of cases, patellar dislocation affects small dogs, this is a problem that can also affect large dogs that have the problem due to a genetic origin. In the feline world, however, the complication is usually caused by jumps or falls that cause some type of trauma to the patellar region - and therefore usually affects pussies that have a very active life.

However, cats who suffer from obesity problems may also end up developing the complication; since, due to the excessive weight, the feline's knees can also end up suffering trauma and facilitating the appearance of patellar dislocation.

While, in the canine world, small breeds such as Poodle, Yorkshire, Shih Tzu, Dachshund, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Pomeranian Lulu, Chihuahua, Bichon Frisé and Pug, among others - and larger dogs such as Cocker Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever can also present the painting (not counting dogs of mixed breed). In the case of felines, the appearance of the disease is more closely linked to the level of activity (or sedentary lifestyle) of the animal than to its breed; despite this, Bengal cats are among the ones that most often manifest this type of complication.

As it is a bone that is located in the central part of the animal's knees (inside the patellar groove), the patella is largely responsible for aligning the knee with the muscles that are around it; when there is patellar dislocation, the displacement of this bone occurs frequently - making the animal feel a lot of pain and no longer have sufficient firmness in its mobility.

Due to this problem (which manifests itself in four different levels of severity), other types of orthopedic complications can develop in the lives of the affected animals, including arthrosis, for example. Bearing in mind that the mechanics of the patellar region alters the entire functioning of the animal's limb, it is possible to conclude that, due to this type of dislocation, problems such as hip dysplasia and even hip dislocation can be triggered, which makes the animal not even able to support its leg on the floor anymore .

From the beginning of the picture of patellar dislocation, the tibial deviation of the animal also begins to occur; whereas in cases of medial patellar dislocation, the crest of the tibia begins to turn towards the middle of the legs - while in cases of lateral patellar dislocation, the tibia starts to move outside the limb. Due to this deviation of the tibia in relation to the femur, the meniscus (joint structure in relation to the bones) is severely damaged and, as a result, a great level of pain starts to affect the animal.

Although there are exceptions, the type of patellar dislocation most common in small dogs is the medial, while larger dogs, most of the time, suffer from the lateral type of the problem. Therefore, as previously mentioned, it is essential that; when you notice the first signs of patellar dislocation in your pet, he should be referred to a veterinary professional as soon as possible - avoiding the development of the problem and the appearance of new complications.

Symptoms and severity levels of patellar dislocation

Highlighting the surgical recommendation as a treatment from the 2nd degree on, the patellar dislocation can have four different levels of severity, and the higher the number, the greater the wear and tear in the affected region and, consequently, the lower the chances of a complete recovery. Check below the different degrees of patellar dislocation and the main symptoms that may arise as a result of the development of this orthopedic complication:

  • Grade I
    The patella leaves the place with the help of the veterinarian's manipulation and, when released, immediately returns to its place of origin.
  • Grade II
    As of the second degree of the problem, the recommendation is already surgical, and the patella is already leaving its normal position alone - returning to the correct place, too, without the need for help.
  • Grade III The patella leaves the place alone and only comes back with the help of a veterinarian's manipulation or through the dog's own action - which usually stretches its paw to put the patella back in the patellar groove.
  • Grade IV In this phase of advancement, the animal's patella is locked outside the patellar groove, and even the manipulation of a veterinarian or the action of the dog itself is not able to place the portion in its correct and original position - being the surgical procedure the only alternative to alleviate the situation and, in this degree, even with surgery, there is great difficulty in returning the limb to its normal function.

Although the dogs or cats affected by this problem do not always show evident signs of the complication, there are a series of symptoms that usually appear in pets that suffer from problems with the patella and, among them, we can mention the following:

  • Intermittent claudication (lame walking), which comes and goes in the animal
  • Irregular pains (which also appear in colder times)
  • The animal becomes stretch your leg back while walking
  • The animal limps with one or both hind legs
  • The dog or cat starts to avoid leaning on one of the paws when making needs
  • Swollen-looking joints
  • The animal loses the ability to jump or even jump normally
  • Lower part of the limb rotates towards the side where it is dislocated (medial or lateral)

Diagnosis and treatment of patellar dislocation

The verification of a veterinary professional by means of palpation is the main means of diagnosing the existence of a patellar dislocation in dogs and cats - however, it is always important that the clinical diagnosis is accompanied by imaging tests such as radius -x; ensuring that the level of degeneration of the patellar region can be investigated and that the conditions of the animal's hip joint can be investigated (excluding or not the possibility and dysplasias or hip dislocations).

As previously mentioned, the only form of treatment for the problem of patellar dislocation in dogs and cats is surgery - where the patella is replaced in its original place, allowing the animal regain its mobility and support. Normally, about two months after surgery the animal is already able to return to its normal activities - however, there are dogs and cats that may need physical therapy in the post-surgical period in order for the recovery to be complete, and this varies according to with the animal in question, individually (and not with the level of development or the degree of complication).

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