If your dog has a luxating patella or a knee joint that dislocates, is surgery the only option?
While surgery is certainly a good option in extreme cases, they are other measures you can take first before, which should include proper nutrition, supplementing with vitamins and minerals and homeopathy.
Before we look at any of that, it is important to know what a luxating patella is and why it can be problematic. Symptoms include difficulty walking, stumbling, falling down, walking in a strange way, the appearance of skipping, and in some cases, you may even see the kneecap slide out of place and slide back in.
Luxating patellas can be problematic because when the knee moves out of its normal groove it can also causes the tibia to rotate differently from the femur. That can stress the cranial cruciate ligament in the knee, which can cause inflammation in the joint, eventually causing the ligament to break down (Source: Dogs Naturally).
There are 4 grades of luxating patellas:
Grade I – the kneecap can be manually moved out of its groove when the knee is extended. But it goes back to its position on its own.
Grade II – the kneecap rides out of its groove occasionally, but can be manipulated back into place.
Grade III – the kneecap rides out of its groove permanently. It can be manually moved back into place but will pop back out again.
Grade IV – the kneecap is permanently out of its groove and can’t be manipulated back into place.
(Source: Dogs Naturally)
Your vet will be able to confirm/diagnose a luxating patella during a routine exam. If your dog is diagnosed, I would highly recommend consulting with a board-certified orthopedic surgeon for dogs to consider all of your options.
If your dog has been diagnosed with a Grade III or Grade IV, surgery will most probably be recommended. Depending on the severity of the luxating patella, you may be able to avoid surgery by focusing on proper nutrition, supplementing with vitamins and minerals and homeopathy.
In terms of nutrition, you want to feed a nutrient dense diet that is species-appropriate and comprised of protein, vegetables and some fruit. A healthy diet like this not only contains the vitamins and minerals your dog needs and will help your dog remain at a healthy weight. The more overweight your dog is, the worse this condition will get because the body is literally weighed down and excess weight makes it harder to move. For more on what to feed your dog, click here.
Minerals including manganese, magnesium, selenium and calcium are essential for collagen synthesis, reducing inflammation and promoting bone health. These minerals are naturally found in real food, not kibble. Organ meat and cruciferous vegetables, often found in high-quality raw-food is the way to go if your dog has this condition. Add in golden paste and fish oil to provide additional antioxidants to help ease inflammation and prevent osteoarthritis.
In addition to a healthy diet, acupuncture, short walks, massage, swimming and homeopathy can support the management of luxating patellas without surgery. Two excellent homeopathic remedies for luxating patellas are Rhus Tux 30c and Ruta Graveolens 30c.
Swimming, exercise on an underwater treadmill, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and laser therapy could also be incredibly powerful in treating a luxating patella as well as many other mobility issues.
On a personal note, I took our bulldog, Sheldon to the vet because I noticed his gate was off slightly. The vet we saw informed me that he would definitely need surgery because his were grade 3. I consulted with a board-certified orthopedist and he was honest. He told me that Sheldon did have a minor luxating patella, not grade 3, and did not recommend surgery. For most of Sheldon's life, when I learned about how to properly care for him, he ate a raw diet and golden paste, exercised regularly and maintained a healthy weight. His luxating patella issues were non-existent for the rest of his life.