Kneecap Dislocation Average Cost

From 27 quotes ranging from $800 - 5,000

Average Cost

$3,000

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What is Kneecap Dislocation?

A patellar luxation occurs when your dog’s kneecap is dislocated or slides out of its normal position. Dislocated kneecaps are usually due to a congenital defect, but can also be the result of trauma. This condition is the most common in young, small, or toy breeds, including:

  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Pomeranian
  • Chihuahua
  • Boston Terrier
  • Pekingese
  • Papillons
  • Jack Russell Terriers
  • Maltese
  • Miniature Poodles

Certain large breed dogs are also predisposed to the patellar luxation, especially if they suffer from hip dysplasia. Treatment alternates according to the severity, or grade, of the luxation, but the prognosis is typically good.

The kneecap can dislocate for a variety of reasons, usually because of a congenital defect that prevents the patella from staying seated in its groove. Many cases of patellar luxation are mild and do not require surgical treatment, though, in more severe or persistent cases, surgery will be needed to prevent future complications.

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Symptoms of Kneecap Dislocation in Dogs

Symptoms of patellar luxation vary according to the severity of the condition and include:

  • Limping or lameness
  • Reluctance to place weight on the limb
  • Discomfort

The clinical signs are often intermittent and sudden. Your dog may exhibit an irregular gait for a few steps, usually with one limb raised from the ground, before resuming a normal walk.

Types

There are two types of patellar luxation in dogs: medial and lateral:

  • Medial luxation, which is the more common form, occurs when the dog’s joint slips towards the opposite leg. This prevents the dog from extending its knee normally though often times the kneecap will slide back into position by itself after a few steps.
  • With lateral luxation, the kneecap slips to the outside of the leg, away from the body. This form of patellar luxation tends to impact the dog more severely and is more common in large breed dogs, where hip problems may lead to misaligned bones in the legs.

Causes of Kneecap Dislocation in Dogs

Patellar luxation transpires when the kneecap slips out of the groove in which it normally sits. This groove is shallower in many small or toy breed dogs, such as Chihuahuas, Maltese, and Yorkshire terriers, resulting in a genetic predisposition for the condition. A kneecap can also become dislocated as a result of trauma, and there has been a rise in occurrences in larger dogs, including Akitas, Boxers, and Golden Retrievers.

Diagnosis of Kneecap Dislocation in Dogs

Most cases of patellar luxation in small dogs are diagnosed early on when the puppy begins to show irregularities in its gait. If the kneecap is dislocated at the time of your office visit, the veterinarian can easily diagnose the condition with a physical examination of the affected limb. The diagnosis can be confirmed via x-rays, which also help determine the extent of the condition and reveal the shape of the bones.

Patellar luxation is often graded based on severity, with levels ranging from 1 to 4. With grade 1 luxation, the kneecap sits normally but can luxate under slight pressure because of the shallowness of the groove. Grades 2 and 3 are more severe though the joint can typically still be replaced manually. A luxation is classified as grade 4 if the joint sits outside of the groove at all times and will not stay seated if replaced. Treatment depends on the severity of the luxation, so it is important that the veterinarian receives enough information to grade your dog’s condition appropriately.

Treatment of Kneecap Dislocation in Dogs

Treatment varies according to the grade that the veterinarian diagnoses.

Supportive Treatment

If your dog is diagnosed with grade 1 luxation, surgery is not recommended. Instead, you can help prevent the kneecap from sliding out of place with regular exercise and supportive nutrients. It's critically important to reduce stress exerted on the knee by ensuring that your dog is at a proper weight for its size, and strengthen the muscles surrounding it through daily exercise. Nutritional supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, provide support to the joint and its surrounding tissues.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is usually recommended for luxated patellar graded 2 or above and is necessary for grade 4. There are different types of operations available though the goal is always to replace the kneecap to it's suggested, normal position and prevent future slipping. This can be accomplished by deepening the groove in which the patella sits or by tightening the joint capsule to prevent slippage. In more severe cases, the leg bones may need to be rotated back into the correct position as part of treatment.

Recovery of Kneecap Dislocation in Dogs

Most dogs recover fully once the kneecap has been replaced though you will need to restrict your dog’s activity until the surgical site has healed. Provide a quiet place where your dog can rest, and make sure that it doesn’t bite or chew at the incisions. If the veterinarian prescribed antibiotics as a preventative measure against infection, be sure to administer the full course.

Your dog will most likely begin to use the affected leg again in one to two weeks following surgery. If your dog is still reluctant to place weight on the leg several weeks after treatment, contact the veterinarian, and ask how you can retrain your dog to use that leg. Follow-up exams may be necessary, depending on the treatment. In all cases, continue to monitor your dog for signs of a displaced joint, as the condition may recur or arise in a different knee.

Kneecap Dislocation Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Sadie
Maltipoo
11 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Approximately 5 years ago I took my Maltipoo to the vet because she started holding up one of her back legs. They said it was a dislocated knee cap but on X-ray it was in the correct spot. Took her for a second opinion and upon feeling her knee they diagnosed her with a torn ccl. Given her small size it just healed on its own with scar tissue. She is now 11years old and is limping again after running for 30seconds. Sometimes she will lightly use it, other times she holds it up. Do you think this is a patellar issue or ccl? She doesn’t seem to be in any pain

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2499 Recommendations
This could be either one really, without examining Sadie it is difficult to say; one problem with patellar dislocation (or luxation) is that the patellar may only ‘pop out’ every so often and mild cases can be difficult to detect. Given the time frame since the last examination you should visit a Veterinarian for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.acvs.org/small-animal/patellar-luxations

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CoCo
Pomeranian
6 Months
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

lameness, limping

Hi - My pet is not able to stand on left leg since 2 weeks ago. I spoke with vet and he performed manual examination and X-Ray. He says: I don't see her kneecap and that is serious matter.
Do you think she needs surgery? I know that patella luxation requires surgery to fix the issue but don't know if kneecap is not exit, what we should do. All family members are concerned about prognosis of this health issue. Pleas share what you think.
Thanks - Mohammad

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2499 Recommendations
The absence of kneecaps is a rare congenital condition and I would highly recommend visiting an Orthopaedic Specialist for advice on this since this is a very rare condition. In the meantime try to restrict movement and keep CoCo comfortable. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

We met surgeon yesterday and he assessed CoCo and came to us with grade 4 patella luxation!!! She will need a surgery to return patella to her original location . Surgeon will deepen the groove and will fix soft tissues around patella. Next Thursday will be the surgery day with almost $3300 to 4000 cost. Pray for her...

Appreciated Dr. Callum.
We've got an appointment to see a surgeon this week and see what he will diagnose on CoCo. Most likely, Patellar Luxation grade 1 or 2...

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Arlie
Mixed (Likely a Border Collie, Cattle Dog mix)
2 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Knee giving out
Loud popping noise
Shows no obvious pain

Ever since my dog has been a puppy, think 8 months or so, one of her knees has popped when she stands up from laying down for an extended period of time. !5+ minutes I would guess. Recently, her knee has been popping every single time she stands up from laying down. She does not show that she is in any discomfort at all when this happens, not even holding her leg up. I mentioned it to my vet as soon as I noticed it when she was younger but the vet was not concerned. She just turned 2 and this week I started to notice that her knee was giving out on her every now and then. She has also started to hesitate when going onto a higher area (bed, couch, car) and instead of jumping, she will climb. My dog is a very fit dog, I have always made sure she was not overweight. Is it safe to do muscle building exercises? Should I supplement her food?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2499 Recommendations
If there is a luxating patella, the ligaments are ‘loose’ which allow for the patella to jump out of the groove; muscle building and supplements are not going to help this. Most of the time surgery is required in severe cases when luxation is often and it is causing pain or discomfort; you should return to your Veterinarian for another examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.acvs.org/small-animal/patellar-luxations

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Koa
Teacup Yorkie
6 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

holding leg straight
Hopping
Shaking
Limping
Swelling

Im not sure if anyone else has had this odd issue but my teacup yorkie fell off my bed and yelped and began to lip. He was taken to the vet imidatley and they did their thing but from what I am hearing from my mother the vet did nothing at all when it comes to his patella and just said, "Both of his knees are dislocated and charged us $500. I was wondering about what to do if both of the patellas are not right right.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1080 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Patellar luxations are common in small breed dogs, and can cause instability in the knee. The luxations can range from very minor to quite severe, and treatment ranges from not needing any treatment, to pain medications and joint supplements, to surgical repair of the knees. Without examining Koa, I'm not sure where he lies in that spectrum - it would be best to follow up with your veterinarian and ask what degree his knee problems are, if he needs ongoing medication, or if you need to consider surgical repair for him. I hope that he is okay.

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Prince
Maltese mix
3 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Limping

Medication Used

none

Hello! My dog was sprinting the other day and he tripped over one of his toys. After that, he held up his right hind leg for a few moments and started to walk a bit oddly but he neither yelped when he injured his leg nor he is when he walks or runs on it (and I can't tell whether he's in pain or not! He eats and plays normally too and does not seem to be in any distress whatsoever!). As time passed, one cannot clearly tell whether he walks differently, only sometimes (but even then not always) when he walks up stairs or jumps down from beds and sofas (which we try to prevent him from doing..) he doesn't like to use that leg, after he runs too fast (after which he holds up the paw for a second and then continues), or sometimes he has some trouble walking backwards? His vet said that he needs surgery for a dislocated patella but (we will get a second opinion anyways) because otherwise his leg will shorten with time?! I was wondering whether it is necessary to put him through the stress and pain of surgery even though he seems fine most of the time! Is there any chance his kneecap will slide back by itself? :( Thank you very much in advance!

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2499 Recommendations
The patellar will go in and out of the groove itself in some cases (there are different grades of severity), it is likely that sometimes the patellar pops back into place and Prince can walk normally and other times it luxates causing him to limp and have trouble walking. Surgery is usually the best option especially when the patellar pops out regularly which would cause pain and with time the ligaments may stretch making the issue worse. Visit another Veterinarian for another opinion, it is good to get another view point especially if you are unsure. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.acvs.org/small-animal/patellar-luxations

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Sandy
Mixed (perhaops corgi, begal, basset)
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

less activity, more sitting
holding leg off ground after sprint

My dog had surgery for an anterior luxating patella. After surgery she still refused to keep the leg down. We had her back to orthopedic who said that he felt the pin needed to be removed, so more surgery to have pin removed. Still not better. Any advice as to what our next step might be. We have lost confidence in vet who recommended the surgery in the first place.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1080 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. It is actually somewhat common for dogs to not use that leg after surgery, as they have been painful on that leg for so long that they just often prefer not to use it, and have gotten used to getting around on the other 3 legs. Since I haven't examined Sandy, I can't comment for sure that the surgery site is healed and that she should be using the leg at this point, but if your orthopedic surgeon felt that the surgery was healed after the pin was taken out, you can do some physical therapy to help her start to use the leg again. It would be a good idea to have her examined, either by the orthopedic surgeon, or your veterinarian, to make sure that there aren't any problems with her muscles that need to be addressed, and if everything is okay, they may be able to refer you to a physical therapist who can give you exercises to strengthen that leg and get her to start using it again. Things like walking up stairs can help, as that is hard to do on three legs. I hope that she returns to normal function soon.

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Gunner
Lab Rottie Mix
4 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Limping
No pressure on leg

Gunner has been limping and babying his leg ever since he was fetching his tennis ball last, it's been about a month since then and nothing has gotten better. Today (12/27/17) I noticed a big bump on the inside of the left hind leg (the one he babies) and after some research I found that's where his knee is and this is a possible diagnosis.. the only problem is we do not have the money for an x-ray, or surgery.. but it just kills us watching gunner limp and unable to do anything he loves. even a simple walk causes his limp to become 10x worse. We just don't know what to do or where to go because we don't have the money for the vet.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1080 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Gunner does need to see a veterinarian, if not for x-rays, then for pain control. If he has injured his knee, that is a painful condition. Many clinics offer a "free first exam" that you can take advantage of, and most clinics offer Care Credit for unexpected expenses. He needs to be seen. I hope that he is okay.

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Tilly
Newfoundland
1 year
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Limping

Medication Used

none

My Newfie is 1yr., 5 months old. Still growing. Weight is approx. 105 lbs. She has patellar luxation (which began about 3 weeks ago). It only occurs when she is rough housing with our other dog. Question: How is the grade of patellar luxation determined? Is it determined via x-ray? If she is Grade 1 or 2, is there a brace that could be used until she finishes growing?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2499 Recommendations
There are four different grades of patellar luxation and are described below (from Merck Veterinary Manual - Link below): “In Grade I, clinical signs are mild and infrequent, and the patella can be manually luxated but easily returns to the trochlear groove. In Grade II, the patella luxates during flexion of the joint and is repositioned during extension, causing animals to have a resolvable skipping lameness. In Grade III, the dislocated patella is more frequently out of, instead of in, the trochlear groove, and lameness is consistent. Bone deformities are evident in these animals. In Grade IV, lameness and limb deformations are most severe.” Generally the grade is determined by physical examination (can it be manipulated out; does it pop out during flexion and returns during extension etc…) and x-rays (to determine the integrity of the joint. In a large dog like Tilly we would also be concerned with hip disorders and other joint issues so comprehensive x-rays would be needed. The use of a brace is debatable, we generally recommend rest so the joint isn’t stressed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/musculoskeletal-system/arthropathies-and-related-disorders-in-small-animals/patellar-luxation-in-small-animals www.acvs.org/small-animal/patellar-luxations

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Freddy
Toy Poodle
2.5 years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

holding leg straight
yelping
slight limping

Medication Used

Metacam

Hello. I would appreciate a second opinion. My toy poodle was diagnosed with a grade 1 luxating patella when I took him in for his first ever vet visit as a puppy. He is now 2.5 years old. Over the time I've had him, he's only had 1 or 2 occasions where he holds his leg up like you would if you had a cramp. He recovered almost instantly and was fine.
A couple days ago during his before-bed pee break, he was running in the back yard when he suddenly yelped. He held his right rear leg up and for the next hour before bed, he was walking gingerly on it, not wanting to put a lot of weight on it. Sometimes he would run on it and seemed fine. Almost like he never hurt it. As a precaution, I took him to the vet the next day. I noticed in the morning that he was still walking gingerly on his affected leg and limping a little. After talking with my vet, I opted to crate rest my dog rather than do surgery. The vet graded his luxating patella at a 2 on both knees. He also said that it was not progressed far enough that my dog needed immediate surgery. If his condition doesn't improve within the 2 weeks, then we're probably looking at surgery.
We're on day 2 after the event and when I do let him walk around for potty time, he seems to be walking on his affected knee ok. Sometimes he limps, sometimes he doesn't. I've been reading online that some recommend crate rest like we're doing, and some say crate rest is the worst thing you can do. Basically that's it better to strengthen the muscles instead by keeping up normal activity. What is your opinion on this?
Also, if/when we do opt for surgery, should we do both knees or just the one? This is a cost consideration and also it's me not wanting to have to put him under more than we need to. When he was neutered, he didn't recover so well. It took him about 6-8 hours to be back to normal. He was groggy and lost control of his bladder. Both knees are a grade 2. I've also read that doing both knees at the same time makes the recovery harder/longer.
Thanks

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2499 Recommendations

There are various possible factors which may contribute to patellar luxation and the primary underlying cause would determine whether cage rest is warranted or not; but in most cases cage rest is best. The different factors affecting a patellar luxation include: ligament laxity, angular deformity of the hind limb, rotation of the femur, malformation of the tibia, deviation of tibial crest, shallow groove or tightness / atrophy of quadriceps muscle (this is where cage rest isn’t recommended if the muscle is atrophied). Surgical correction is normally performed for grades II or more; approach to surgery would be at the examining Surgeon’s discretion to determine the most appropriate procedure to achieve the best result including whether to correct one or both knees at the same time. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
www.acvs.org/small-animal/patellar-luxations

I forgot to ask...how useful are glucosamine and chondroitin to prevent the kneecap from popping out?

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Boo
Chihuahua
7-8
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Hardly puts any weight on left leg
Shows no obvious pain

I have a 8 year old chihuahuas. I am almost positive her knee cap has moved out of place. It has done this once before about 7-8 months ago. But it also went back in place by the the end of the day. It happened again sat and has yet to go back. I have tried to stretch her leg gently to put back in but hasn't helped. She doesn't seem to be in any discomfort. I took her to the vet before but it had already gone back in but he told me she needed surgery to fix ($3800). Several weeks later I took her to the vet i used to work for (6 hours away) and he tried to pop the knee out to see how loose it was and he couldn't get it to go. He said she didn't need surgery now at least. So I guess my question is, if her knee won't go back in by itself, does that mean she will need the surgery?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2499 Recommendations

It looks like the patella luxation is infrequent, so if your Veterinarian is able to manually manipulate it back surgery may not be immediately necessary; however, if there is more laxity or the luxation becomes more frequent, then surgery may be indicated. This problem is common in smaller breeds. I would visit your Veterinarian to see if it can be manually placed back. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Pompuppy
Pomeranian
3 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Wabble

Hello Doctor.
I just purchased a 3 months old white pomeranian puppy few days ago, and I found her walking funny when we brought her home. She loves to run and play, but she looks like she is wabbling.We took her to the hospital and took x rays. Doctor said she has luxating patella grade 3-4, but she may get better since she is only 3 months. My older dog had surgery for patella, and I thought patellas always get worse, never better. Are there possibilities For her to get better, since she is so young?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2499 Recommendations

With cases of patellar luxation, as with many orthopaedic conditions, it is always best to allow the dog to grow (as long as the condition isn’t causing unnecessary pain or additional damage) more before attempting surgical correction. Some mild cases, grade 2 or 3, may improve but if the grade is 3 or 4 I would imagine that surgical correction would be required. Below is a link to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons page on patellar luxation with some interesting information and images. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
www.acvs.org/small-animal/patellar-luxations

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Denahi
Alaskan Malamute
1 1/2
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Screaming
Crying
Yelp

My dog had his knee slip out tonight twice. It went towards his other knee or leg. He's a large bread Alaskan malamute 115 pounds. He's in good condition muscle and body wise he's not fat at all just a big dog. I know rehab is a good thing I'm just worried if it's a severe tear. Would you recommend me just trying rehab first or to just make an appt Ik the surgery is pricey that doesn't bother me. I just feel horrible for my dog.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2499 Recommendations

Patellar luxation is a condition that typically affects small dogs, but larger dogs are being affected too; normally patellar luxation in smaller dogs travels towards the other knee and in larger dogs travels away from the other knee, although there are exceptions. Patellar luxation occurs when there is laxity in one of the ligaments surrounding the knee; depending on severity and the size of the dog, different treatment by be attempted. I would recommend visiting your Veterinarian to grade the luxation and to recommend a treatment or surgical plan. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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