Luxating Patella







What is a Luxating Patella in a Dog?


In a normal dog knee, the patella or knee cap is supposed to slide up and down the front of the knee joint as the leg is extended or flexed. In cases where the patella luxates, or moves to the side instead of up and down over the front of the knee, the patella is slipping out of its ‘track’ or the groove in the femur. The dog may or may not be uncomfortable when the patella is in a luxated position and your dog’s knee may appear to be painlessly locked in a flexed position for a few steps. This condition is successfully managed with surgery.


Patella Surgery for Dogs At Animal Medical of New City


During a patella surgery, the doctor deepens the groove of the femur in which the patella moves.  The surgeon may also make positional adjustments to how the patellar ligament, a strong band that attaches the patella to the tibia, pulls on the patella to ensure that the patella is pulled in an optimal manner.


Dog Breeds Prone to Patella Problems


Small breeds are most at risk for the condition known as patella luxation including Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, Pekingese, Chihuahuas and Boston Terriers,  The condition can be diagnosed in dogs as young as one year of age with a physical examination. Left untreated luxation issues may cause secondary problems with the cruciate ligament and cause a build up of inflammation and arthritis in the knee joint over time.


Cost of Patella Surgery for Dogs at Animal Medical of New City


Patella surgery for dogs involves working in an extremely sterile environment to avoid bone infections. Approximately 800 dollars worth of equipment is used to perform the surgery and roughly 500 dollars worth of materials are used in the surgery itself. This is not inclusive of the cost for materials and support team time before, during and after the surgery. Total cost of patella surgery for dogs at Animal Medical of New City starts at $2900, but can be as high as $4000.00. Of course our medical and administrative team members are always on hand to help you find a solution to manage the cost of cruciate surgery.

Rehabilitation at Animal Medical 


We’re lucky to have rehabilitation services right here at the practice. Led by Dr. Lisa Schenkel and her team in our Physical Medicine Department, both you and your pet will be under the careful direction of an experienced veterinarian and licensed veterinary technician throughout your pet’s recovery.


Want A Diagnosis or Second Opinion?


The Animal Medical Veterinary Team has more than 30 years of experiencing treating luxating patella problems in dogs. Left untreated, your pet’s knee issues will worsen. Your pet will experience chronic downward spiral of joint inflammation, arthritis, irritation, joint inflammation, more arthritis and so on.

Surgical repair of the luxating patella is a practice that has been around for decades now. Our team at Animal Medical is very experienced with this type of surgery. Your pet will be safe in our care and his or her pain managed very well.



Animal Medical of New City can offer you a second opinion or provide surgical options to correct a luxating patella in your dog.




If your dog walks a few steps while holding its back leg up or sometimes appears to have its back leg ‘stuck’ in a flexed position, he or she may have a luxating patella.  It’s a condition that can be corrected surgically.

My dog Pixie was diagnosed with a luxating patella in both legs when she was still quite young.  Dr. Schenkel, who also runs the Physical Medicine Department, recommended that I get both of Pixie’s legs fixed  before Pixie experienced complications.  Dr. S was with us every step of the way.  Pixie recovered from the surgery very well (both times) and in both cases her pain was managed very well.  Now 1 year later, she is a happy, normal, very active little dog.  You would never know that she had corrective surgery.  I should also mention that it’s a good thing to get pet insurance as soon as you get your dog. Because we had insurance before Pixie was diagnosed, the plan paid for 90% of her bill including her rehab therapy!

Toby Bilkowski

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If you were referred to Animal Medical from another veterinary office, please request a complete copy of your pet’s medical records from your existing veterinarian(s).  If the record is extensive, you can have it sent directly to us so that one of our doctors can review it completely prior to your visit.


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