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The Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments For Pomeranian Patellar Luxation

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Pomeranian Patella Luxation Explained

Pomeranian patella luxation is a condition that affects the dog’s kneecap (patella). A traumatic injury can cause this condition but more often occurs from gradual changes in the bones and joints of the knee. It is essential to know that this condition can worsen if left untreated for too long. Another term for luxation is dislocation.

Patella means kneecap. Although dog kneecaps may not be as evident as human ones, they are all there. The patella of your dog is almond-shaped. The patella is in the knee joint, where the tendon from the quadriceps muscle groups joins with the top of your shin (tibia).

The “extensor mechanism” is composed of the quadriceps muscle and the kneecap with its tendon. These anatomical features should align. The groove is where the kneecap moves up and down when your dog extends or flexes the knee joint. This groove is known as the femoral groove.

What are the Key Points Dog Owners Should Know About Patella Luxation as it Relates to Pomeranians?

Pomeranian patella luxation is interesting because it affects one of the most popular breeds of dogs on earth – Pomeranians! There has been significant research into why this affliction is most common in Pomeranians, but the results appear to be inconclusive so far. 

The main symptom that owners notice in their Pomeranian pets is that they walk on their “toes” because the knee joint has dislocated. Many people think that this condition only affects males, but it can affect both males and females. Usually, affected pups are less than six months old, but there have been cases of older dogs being affected by this condition.

Deterioration from patella luxation could potentially lead to arthritis in the future if left untreated. This condition also often happens to other breeds of dogs, but no specific breed is more affected than the Pomeranian. It does not occur due to factors within the dog’s environment (such as lack of exercise or training). This condition may be hereditary, making it even harder to diagnose.

What is Patella Luxation?

Pomeranian patella luxation affects the dog’s kneecap. It can occur from a traumatic injury or gradual changes in the bones, joints, and knees. This condition can become more severe if left untreated.

two pomeranian puppies sitting in front of an orange background

Causes of Patella Luxation in Pomeranians

If left untreated, this could lead to arthritis. Although this condition can also occur in other breeds of dogs, it is more common in the Pomeranian. This condition is not usually due to factors in the dog’s environment, such as lack of exercise and training. It tends to be hereditary, which makes it harder to diagnose.

Patella luxation is most often a congenital condition that results in an abnormal alignment of the patella tendon. It is usually on the interior of the legs. As the dog grows, this problem may get worse. 

In some circumstances, an environmental event can be a cause.

What Predispositions do Pomeranians have to Patella Luxation?

Small breeds tend to have a predisposition to patella luxations. Pomeranians seem to suffer from this condition more frequently than other small or toy breeds.

The femur is the big bone in the upper leg. The groove that runs down the middle of the bone is where the ligaments and knee cap are. Your Pomeranian’s leg will slip out of the groove if there is a patella luxation. The reason for this is because the bone’s groove doesn’t reach as deep as it should.

What Environmental Factors Contribute to the Development of Patella Luxation?

A luxating patella, a canine congenital disorder, is most commonly caused by the hind leg’s poor alignment of bones and joints. It is rare to be acquired by trauma.

How Patella Luxation Can Affect Your Pomeranian

The most common symptom of a luxating patella is an intermittent hopping of the limbs when the patella pops out. Usually, the patella will pop back in itself, and the dog walks normally again.

The early stages of luxating Patella may not cause pain for the dog. A lot of the lameness is due to soft tissue pain caused by a misaligned patella.

Chronic slippage of the patella may cause cartilage wear or osteoarthritis. In this case, the joint pain and lameness will become more severe.

How is a Pomeranian’s Life Impacted by a Luxating Patella?

In the case of people with luxating patellas, they may have difficulty walking, running, or jumping and may require assistance for many daily activities.

Exactly How Severe Can this Health Condition Get?

A veterinarian will likely let you know how serious the problem is if your Pomeranian has a luxating Patella. A doctor will usually assign a patella luxation grade that ranges from Grade 1 (I), which is a mild condition that resolves itself, to Grade 4 (IV) for a persistent patella that does not ever resolve itself. 

pomeranian puppy running through the grass

Life Expectancy of a Pomeranian with Patella Luxation

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the average life expectancy of a Pomeranian is 12 – 16 years. 

There may also be an abnormal rotation of the femur and the tibia due to this abnormal movement. It is possible to put stress on the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in the knee due to this. In the case of chronic inflammation, the ligaments’ can fail because of the inflammation in the joint. Approximately 10-15% of all dogs with luxating patellas will also be afflicted with CCL damage.

Depending on how far the kneecap is from its normal groove, the groove will become shallower. In this case, the kneecap will more easily dislocate.

None of these events is a life-threatening event for a Pomeranian. For the most part, Poms are a breed that seldom suffers from many of the life-threatening conditions afflicting other breeds. The concern would be the quality of life, based on the luxated patella’s level of pain or discomfort. 

Can a Pomeranian Live as Long as its Breed’s General Life Expectancy or is it Limited by Patella Luxation? If it is Limited, How is it Limited?

Yes, Pomeranians can live with an average life expectancy of 12-16 years. However, you should monitor their quality of life if they suffer from patella luxations. The degree of pain, discomfort, inability to walk, and more would be considerations throughout the Pomeranian’s life.

How Can Dog Owners Accurately Determine if their Pomeranian has a Luxated Patella?

Initially, a dog owner will notice occasional limping or skipping, awkward walking, or sitting strangely. This stage is simply noticing symptoms. A veterinarian can diagnose a patella luxation and the associated degree of luxation by manipulating your dog’s joints. Remember that Pomeranians are small breed dogs already prone to patella luxation.

Patella luxation can be medial patellar luxation, lateral patellar luxation, or bi-lateral patellar luxation. In any of these situations, pain and lameness are significant concerns.

What Signs or Symptoms Should Dog Owners Look For?

Symptoms may not be consistent. One day your Pomeranian may walk perfectly fine, and the next day perhaps they are skipping or limping. Then all of a sudden, back to normal. It is those symptomatic moments you want to watch for. Particularly with Pomeranians, you should always pay particular attention to their joints. Patella instability will show ongoing symptoms or periodic symptoms.

pomeranian puppy running through the grass

How Will this Health Condition Progress Over Time?

Patella Luxation may or may not worsen over time. The more severe the Grade (I, II, III, or IV), the more likely it will continue to progress. A Grade I, however, may never worsen if properly cared for and monitored. 

Grade 1

Manual pressure can be used to treat luxation. This pressure is usually not painful. Grade 1 luxations don’t usually require any special treatment, but you should closely monitor for signs of worsening. Sometimes, pain medication may be necessary.

Grade 2

Patella luxation: Flexion and extension of the knee, but the knee returns to its original position.

Grade 3

Luxation with flexion, extension, and returning to the groove can cause significant pain and lameness (limping). Grade 2 and grade 3 luxations usually require surgical correction. Surgery involves realigning the patella tendon and deepening the groove where the patella is.

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Grade 4

Permanent patella luxation is a severe condition. Reconstructive surgery is usually the only treatment for Grade 4 luxations.

pomeranian sitting in the snow

How to Care For and Treat Your Pomeranian for Patella Luxation

If your Pomeranian has a congenital disability or inherits it from their biological parents, there aren’t many options to stop a luxating patella. There are some things you can do to prevent your Pomeranian from suffering any pain, or you need to slow down the progression of their luxating patella.

First, make sure your Pomeranian is not walking around with any genetic or congenital disabilities. Even though they are the most adorable thing in the world, it’s easy for people to forget about them. Because they are so low to ground, it can be difficult to see them. It is easy to step on them. It’s not uncommon for Pomeranians to accidentally end up under feet.

Be careful if your Pomeranian is allowed to play with children. Special care around children will help prevent your pomeranian from developing a luxating patella. Although the joy and love that a Pomeranian can bring to our hearts are immeasurable, unfortunately, the combination of the two is often not the best.

Children can step on Pomeranians and even fall on them. Unfortunately, this type of attack will not be easy for your Pomeranian and could cause more damage than just to their knees. It makes sense that children would like to roughhouse with a fluffy, cute dog. It’s almost like having a toy animal.

When your Pomeranian is with children, you must have high levels of awareness. It is also a good idea to have a separate area for your Pomeranian if you need space from busy children. 

There are many options available if your Pomeranian suffers from a luxating patella. The solutions are vitamins and braces.

It may surprise you to learn that supplements targeting your Pomeranian’s bone, hips, joints, and knees are available and can be very effective. These supplements can help rejuvenate the cartilage and joints of your Pomeranian with no side effects and are safe for your Pomeranian! They often come with similar ingredients, including glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), turmeric, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Funny enough, the ingredients are also present in joint supplements for people and were proven to be effective on our cuddly canine friends.

A knee brace can help protect your Pomeranian’s knees from potential pain and rapid deterioration. Although it may seem strange to your Pomeranian and may make it difficult to put on initially, this is an excellent way to keep your Pomeranian’s kneecap in place.

You can find many wraps and knee braces for your Pomeranian. They often make them in various sizes, so you can be confident they have the right size for your Pomeranian. It is essential to get your Pomeranian a brace to ensure their kneecap remains in place.

If your Pomeranian starts to walk strangely, you should only get a knee brace. You don’t necessarily need to spend money on anything if they start walking strangely. You don’t want your little one to walk around in strange ways because of the knee brace that you didn’t need.

Is There a Way to Reverse Patella Luxation with an Altered Diet?

When considering any dietary changes, it is recommended that anti-inflammatory diets be paired with joint supplements. There is no way to reverse patella luxation, but there is hope that it can be prevented from becoming worse. 

pomeranian sitting in colorful leaves

What Preventative Measures Can Dog Owners Take to Help Reduce the Likelihood of Their Pomeranian Experiencing this Health Condition?

First and foremost, be sure to maintain a healthy and appropriate weight for your dog. Any extra weight will add stress to your dog’s joints and will cause a patella luxation to deteriorate further. 

Since patella luxation will likely result in arthritis at some point, your dog must have an exercise program but not an aggressive one. Small short walks and mild activity are best. 

Some foods have natural anti-inflammatory properties. You can add papaya or alfalfa to your dog’s food if your vet feels it is safe. Turmeric, which has shown remarkable anti-inflammatory properties, has also become very popular in recent times.

Acupuncture is another effective option for your pet. Although it may seem strange that a dog would accept dozens of needles, the acupuncture trend is becoming very popular in the animal world. It has proven promising results for common canine ailments, including joint pain.

Physical therapy is not just for humans. It is quite effective in building up strength in a dog’s joints to support patella stability better. 

Massage therapy is also helpful, just as it is helpful in arthritis for humans. 

Chiropractic care is another option. It is crucial to remember that many natural supports available for you as a person are just as effective for your pet. The issue is finding a provider in your area that can work with pets in their specialty.

What Steps Must a Dog Owner Take When Faced with Patella Luxation?

When you have a dog suffering from patella luxation, you need to take steps to prevent further deterioration. 

Prevent Slips and Falls

The last thing you want your Pomeranian to do is slip and fall if they suffer from patella luxations. Scout out your living space and make sure there is a way for your dog to remain sure-footed. If you have tile, linoleum, or hardwood floors, consider area rugs or other methods to prevent your dog from losing its footing. 

Orthopedic Bed

Have you ever slept on an uncomfortable bed? If you have, even in your best health, you likely woke up with hip, knee, and back pain. Dogs are no different. If your dog struggles with a luxated patella, an orthopedic bed can make all the difference in the quality of life. 

Supplements

Incorporate supplements daily in your dog’s diet. Supplement options as identified above can help keep your dog in motion and comfortable. 

pomeranian sitting on a rock in the woods

What Treatment Options Are There for Patella Luxation?

Treatment options are more preventative measures more than anything. With Pomeranians being a high risk for patella luxation, it is essential to be as careful as possible from the earliest days with your puppy.

As a last resort, surgery is an option for a Grade IV deterioration, but your best bet is to do everything you can to not get to that point in the issue. 

How to Help your Pomeranian Live a Fulfilling Life with Patella Luxation

What Steps Can the Dog Owner Take to Help Their Dog Experiencing This Health Condition Live its Best Life Possible?

From the earliest of times with your Pomeranian be sure to feed a healthy diet and help your dog maintain a healthy weight. Keep your dog as comfortable as possible with an orthopedic bed and strive to prevent slips and falls as much as possible.