Luxating Patellas – Slipping kneecaps
Chihuahua’s often suffer from what is called, luxating patellas. The kneecaps on the rear legs slip out of place causing pain, stiffness and difficulties walking. This can sometimes be a severe problem. It is a common condition for smaller breeds. If your Chihuahua suffers from luxating patellas you should have him checked out by the vet. In mild cases the dog will be fine without medical interference and should be able to live a normal life. In severe cases, however, your dog may need surgery to correct the condition.
Patellar luxation in chihuahuas can have both genetic causes, or environmental causes (luxation due to injury). If it appears at an early age, it’s likely to be due to genetic causes. environmental sources of injury can include too much jumping (i.e. jumping off furniture), or too much stress on the patella and surrounding ligaments (ie. when a chihuahua dances on its rear legs). This is especially dangerous when a chihuahua is a puppy in stages of early development.
Adult chihuahuas can also damage their kneecap by a forceful hit or blow. With age, looseness might also be recognized, especially in chihuahuas that are overweight as there is constant pressure on surrounding ligaments.
Symptoms of patellar luxation includes skipping, yelping when in pain, holding the rear leg up for a short time as they walk or run or rear-leg weakness. If left uncorrected, the condition will result in serious wear of the patellar ridges where the groove becomes very shallow resulting in both arthritis and in the more serious cases, permanent crippling.
If your chihuahua does have patellar luxation, see your veterinarian for options to help alleviate symptoms. The use of supplements such as glucosamine may be helpful and it’s recommended that you keep your chihuahua lean and exercised to keep the leg muscles strong.
Depending on how severe the condition is, it may or may not require surgery. If required, your chihuahua will recover quickly with complete recovery in as early as thirty days. Breeding chihuahuas with this disorder is not recommended. Chihuahuas affected still make for wonderful pets and those that do require surgery usually lead perfectly normal lives without any restrictions on activity.