What is Patella Luxation?

This topic hits closer to home than other topics we have discussed. We have a Pomeranian and his patella is luxating. What does this mean exactly? The patella is the kneecap and luxation means dislocating. Our Pomeranian’s kneecap is dislocating. This can be painful and is sad to witness. It’s never easy seeing someone you love experience pain.

Big Dogs vs. Small Dogs

You may not have a Pomeranian, but maybe you have a small dog similar to the size of a Pomeranian. Small dogs are prone to patella luxation as often as big dogs. It’s not uncommon to think big dogs are more prone to patella luxation because of their size and weight. The truth is small dogs are more likely to suffer from it. Trauma can cause the luxation but it can also be genetic.

Pomeranian with Patella Luxation

Our Pomeranian is about 12 pounds and he is 11 years old. Over the years, he’d jump down from the couch and yelp. It wasn’t a constant yelp and there were no other symptoms. We’d examine him, check to see if everything felt okay and he was always fine. Recently our Pomeranian’s hind right leg has been shaking when standing still. He plays on it fine and shows no signs of pain. Laying down is no problem but he walks with his hind leg turned. This is a sign that he is favoring his discomfort. We have been concerned that his condition has worsened.

Patella Luxation - Pomeranians & Small Dogs

The problem with Pomeranian’s, and other small dogs, is that they are so small they often don’t show obvious or concerning symptoms of patella luxation. Our instagram friend, LuccathePom has had two surgeries on his patella. The first one didn’t work. He had his second surgery last week. When he went to the doctor, after limping one day, they discovered he already had stage 4 patella luxation. Vets are able to diagnose patella luxation by taking x-rays.




According to wagnwoofpets.com, There are 4 Stages of Patella Luxation.

  • Stage 1 – Kneecap can be manually moved out but easily slips back into place.
  • Stage 2 – Kneecap pops out on its own, but can be manually popped back in.
  • Stage 3 – Kneecap is out most of the time but can still be put back in.
  • Stage 4 – Kneecap is stuck outside, causing the dog to be most likely unable to use their leg at all.

What Can You Do About Patella Luxation?

By bringing our Pomeranian to the vet, we can get an x-ray to see the severity of his condition. Without surgery, a luxating patella cannot be fixed. But, if you are aware of the problem, you can limit damaging activities and give your dog supplements to help with joint care. The kneecap is considered an integral part of the knee joint. If you suspect that your dog is experiencing any sort of pain or discomfort, please consider bringing your dog to the vet. Knowledge is empowering, and the sooner you know the condition of your pet’s health, the sooner you will be able to treat or prevent their diagnosis.

Dog Lover Store
August 3rd, 2017
Updated on June 11th, 2019