Skip to main content

Insight Into: Luxating Patellae

By September 1, 2023No Comments

Hello pet owners,

A common orthopedic condition that can affect our furry friends is a luxating patella, also known as “floating kneecap.” This condition primarily affects dogs, but can also occur in cats.

What is Luxating Patella?

The patella, or kneecap, is a small bone that sits in front of the knee joint. It slides up and down in a groove as the knee bends and straightens. In pets with a luxating patella, the kneecap dislocates from its normal position, either temporarily or permanently.


Watch for these signs that might indicate your pet has a luxating patella:

  1. Intermittent Lameness: Your pet may occasionally limp or show lameness.
  2. Skipping Steps: You might notice your pet hopping or avoiding using a specific leg while walking or running.
  3. Pain or Discomfort: Your pet may show signs of discomfort, such as reluctance to jump, stiffness, or vocalization when the affected leg is touched.
  4. Abnormal Leg Movements: You may see your pet kicking their leg out to the side when they walk, indicating an attempt to realign the patella.


If you suspect your pet has a luxating patella, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian. They will perform a thorough physical examination and may also recommend X-rays to assess the severity of the condition and determine the best course of action.


Treatment options depend on the severity of the condition and your pet’s overall health. They may include:

  1. Conservative Management: For mild cases, your veterinarian may recommend weight management, exercise moderation, and joint supplements to alleviate discomfort.
  2. Medications: Anti-inflammatory medications can help manage pain and inflammation associated with the condition.
  3. Surgery: Surgical intervention may be necessary to realign the patella and stabilize the joint. This is often recommended in the intermediate stages to decrease likelihood of arthritis in the future.


While genetics play a role, maintaining a healthy weight and providing regular exercise can help reduce the risk of luxating patella. It’s essential to choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and conformation of their animals.

If you suspect your pet has a luxating patella or is displaying any of the symptoms mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend the best steps to ensure your pet’s comfort and well-being.