Hopping hounds

By Connie Orcutt • Published: September 1st, 2013
Category: Animal Airwaves

If your dog has a hitch in his or her gait, it could signal a problem called patellar luxation.

Patella is another word for kneecap. When the patella pops out of position, or luxates, it causes an odd gait or posture. Patellar luxation is seen most often in small-breed dogs, where it develops later in life. But certain large breeds can inherit the problem as pups.

In the onset of patellar luxation, dogs hop; then, their gait normalizes as the patella pops back into position. Later, a breakdown of soft tissue resulting from skeletal changes causes a crouching stance. The patella remains out of position and the dog is chronically lame. Dogs with sudden bilateral luxation might not be able to stand at all.

Surgical treatment is an option before the disease progresses too far. So, if you have a hopping hound or a canine with other orthopedic complaints, contact your veterinarian.