Patellar Luxation

Description: Sometimes your pet's kneecap (patella) may slip out of place (called patellar luxation). You might notice that he runs along and suddenly picks up a back leg and skips or hops for a few strides. Then he kicks his leg out sideways to pop the kneecap back in place, and he’s fine again. If the problem is mild and involves only one leg, your friend may not require much treatment beyond arthritis medication. When signs are severe, surgery may be needed to realign the kneecap to keep it from popping out of place.

There are four grades to describe luxating patella, with Grade 1 being the mildest and Grade 4 being the most severe.
Grade 1 is when the kneecap pops out of place but also pops back in.
Grade 2 describes a kneecap that pops out but doesn't always pop back in and may require manual manipulation to pop it back into place.
Grade 3 is when the kneecap is out of position most of the time and can be manually placed back into position, but it doesn't always stay.
Grade 4, the most severe form of luxating patella, is when the kneecap is never properly in place, and will not stay even when manipulated.

While the movement of the kneecap often happens quickly and appears painless, the movement can cause a quick jolt of pain each time this happens. With repeated occurrences, the cartilage can wear down, leading to bone-on-bone contact and more pain for the animal.

What to Watch For: A sudden yelp while running, limping, lameness, refusal to put weight on the leg. You may notice this happening occasionally, with limping and refusal to bear weight on the affected leg, followed by regular walking and running.

Treatment: If your pet has Grade 1 patellar luxation, it is important to be proactive. Be sure that your furry friend is at a healthy weight because extra weight can cause more stress on the joint. If you have a dog, continue to exercise because maintaining good muscle tone will help to keep the kneecap in place. Other recommendations are oral joint supplements and feeding an anti-inflammatory diet, both of which you should discuss with your veterinarian. Luxating patella, if left untreated or more severe, can cause the grooves in the bones to gradually wear down, leading to more frequent occurrences and pain, and possible arthritis. Severe patellar luxation is typically treated with surgery. The femur may undergo trochlear modification in which the groove is restructured to better contain the kneecap. The kneecap may be tied down to prevent deviation in the future in a procedure called lateral imbrication.

Treatment Cost: Average cost is $600-$2,000+.

Example claim:

Total claim amount: $3,205.95

Deductible applied: $0.00

10% co-insurance: -$320.59

Trupanion repaid: $2,885.36

Breeds prone to Patellar Luxation include:


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