Causes of Patellar Luxation
Patellar luxation can be congenital (present at and existing from the time of birth), or it can be acquired later in life. Hereditary and developmental factors, such as poor hind limb musculoskeletal conformation and/or cranial cruciate ligament instability, can contribute to luxating patellas by altering the alignment of the long hind leg bones as they meet at the knee. Trauma to the femur or to the soft tissue that supports and surrounds the patella can also cause acquired patellar luxation. Most cases of patellar luxation in domestic dogs are thought to have a strong genetic component.
Preventing Patellar Luxation
The best way to prevent patellar luxation is to remove affected animals from the breeding population. Conscientious breeders typically will not breed affected dogs, nor will they repeat sire-dam breedings that resulted in one or more affected offspring. Short of that, at-risk dogs should be carefully managed in terms of weight and exercise regimens, and they may require surgical intervention to return to pain-free function.