has begun to limp on her right rear leg. The year-old
toy poodle’s lameness at first was intermittent,
occurring maybe one or two times a day. Mandy would put
weight on the leg but not in full support. Two weeks
later, Mandy is walking on three legs.
after searching the Internet, has decided Mandy likely
has a luxating patella. She wants to know how to address
is certainly a possibility that Mandy has a luxating
patella. However, I do not believe that is the problem.
patella refers to a problem with the knee cap or patella
not wanting to stay within its normal alignment. The
patella is a bone contained within the tendon that is
formed by the confluence of the quadriceps muscle. It is
the tendon the doctor taps to test reflexes in your leg
during a physical. The patella normally rides within a
groove formed at the end of the upper leg bone, the
femur. There are two ridges on either side of this
groove that hold the patella in place. In cases of
patellar luxation, the patella rides outside the groove.
This can be caused by one or several structural problems
in the knee. This is most common in smaller-breed dogs,
Yorkshire terriers and poodles being higher-incidence
are dogs that have luxating patellas without any
symptoms, meaning that they don’t limp. Others will
hold the affected leg up when the patella luxates and
then use it again properly when it falls back into the
groove. Some dogs have a pronounced lameness, owing to
the pain caused by the patella riding outside the
groove. Patients that have a persistent lameness with
this condition usually need surgery.
consideration for Mandy’s lameness is Legg-Perthes, a
disorder that affects the hip joint. This disease occurs
when there is a loss of blood supply nourishing the head
of the femur (thigh bone) where it fits into the socket
of the pelvis. Sometimes this occurs with trauma and
other times without apparent incident.
blood, the bone tissue begins to die off. This process
is progressive and progressively more painful. I think
Mandy may be dealing with this problem, as luxating
patellas do not generally progress as described by
Nicole. Incidentally, poodles are a high-incidence breed
for this disease also.
will show a mottled appearance to the part of the femur
that fits into the hip socket (called the femoral head),
which occurs with Legg-Perthes. Surgery to remove the
femoral head will eliminate the source of pain. These
patients adapt quite well and usually return to normal
function of the affected leg.