Medial patella luxations in small dogs: what you need to know and who needs surgery.

A medial luxation of the patella is a common finding in the small dog.  Many are asymptomatic.  The ones who are not usually start to show signs between the ages of 1 and 3 years.  Most small dogs with a luxating patella are not lame but rather have an awkward skipping type of gait.  They are not usually painful (as opposed to the cat and large breed dog with this condition).  Diagnosis is based on the presentation (signalment and skippity gait) and palpable medial instability of the patellae.  Only those that are symptomatic should undergo surgery.