Luxating Patella Surgery

Like humans, animals are subject to injury and illness that sometimes requires surgical intervention. While our skeletons are quite different in shape, proportions and prone to different stresses, there are many similarities as well. At Pleasant Valley Veterinary Clinic in McMurray, PA, our veterinarians and animal surgeons are well trained and practiced in several surgical procedures for pets. One such surgery that is quite common, especially for small breeds of dogs, is Medial Patella Luxation (MPL) surgery.

Why does my pet need MPL Surgery?

Medial Patella Luxation is an injury or condition in which the "kneecap" does not stay in its proper position. There is a groove at the end of the femur which, with the help of muscles, tendons, and other connective tissues, keeps the kneecap where it belongs. However, sometimes the knee cap can become displaced and pop out or luxate.

MPL can be caused by physiological or anatomical abnormalities. When this happens, MPL surgery is needed. Medial Patella Luxation is most common in the smaller dog breeds, and especially among the "toy" category of dog.  This does not mean that larger animals cannot suffer from this condition, but it is much less common.

Signs of Medial Patella Luxation

MPL can be difficult to notice at first. It is usually most readily apparent in the first six to twelve months of a dog's life when the bones and connective tissues of the legs and knees are still not yet fully formed.

A typical sign of MPL is an inability to bear weight on the affected leg or legs. The condition will often develop over a period of time, making it more difficult to detect. In cases where the condition comes on suddenly, pet owners will notice a dramatic change in the way their dog or cat moves and behaves.

Sometimes, the condition can come with a degree of physical pain which the animal may or may not readily show. When a dog is in pain, they will often whine or favor the affected area. Cats have a stronger instinct to hide their pain, and will not show signs of an injury if they can help it.

What is MPL Surgery?

MPL surgery includes multiple techniques to get the kneecap to stay back in the femoral groove.  Deepening that groove, translocating a portion of the tibia and tightening up some soft tissue are some of the techniques used.  During the entire process the dog has pain medications to manage pain and discomfort to allow healing to happen more comfortably due the post-op period.  

Pet Surgical Services in McMurray

It is important to have your animals checked out regularly at your local animal hospital. If your pet shows a sudden onset of symptoms, you should bring your pet in to be seen by the trusted veterinarians at Pleasant Valley Veterinary Clinic in McMurray. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call us today at 724-941-5484.


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