A luxating patella occurs when the knee cap moves out of its natural position.
The patella (knee cap) lies in a cartilaginous groove at the end of the femur at the stifle.
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Large breed dogs prone to this condition include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Akitas, Malamutes, Boxers, Huskies and St. Apart from breed predilection, if a dog has poor conformation, such as no angulation in the hock, then this can also cause luxating patellae. The initial symptoms include occasional limping, an intermittent skip in the gait, sudden loss of support on the limb, abnormal sitting posture with the knee placed outward; all of which are usually intermittent.
Sometimes, chronic cases can lead to erosion of the cartilage on the femur from the constant friction, and eventually, to osteoarthritis.
There are a few exercises that you can do with your pet to help strengthen the muscles and improve the stability of the knee.