Yorkie Terrier Dog Limping – Is it Slipping Kneecaps Known As Luxating Patella?

Have you noticed your Yorkie Terrier limping? If your Yorkie just recently jumped from a chair or maybe off of the bed, that could be the reason for the limp. Hopefully, the injury is not severe. Check carefully that there is nothing stuck between his toes or onto his pads–you should be able to quickly tell if you need to seek a veterinarians assistance.

If none of the above seem to be the problem, does your Yorkie have a condition known as Luxating Patella–meaning his back leg kneecaps dislocate or slip? This happens because the groove in the femur needs to be deeper. The treatment for this condition is surgery to deepen the grove.

This condition is usually hereditary. A Yorkie can have badly slipping kneecaps and not show any signs of pain or discomfort when he is jumping, walking, playing or running. My first Yorkie had this condition when I got him. My vet said to wait and see how he got along before having surgery. He was four months old then and did not seem to be troubled by it or uncomfortable. He ran, jumped and played all the time. He could jump straight up, about 3 feet, and land on his back legs. I always wondered how he could do that and have slipping kneecaps, as his legs always supported him when he was jumping.

Periodically, his knee would slip out and he would be able to straighten it out himself, if not, I could gently move it back into place. As the years went by, he seemed to be troubled by it less and less. He was 13 1/2 years old by now. Then one day he got up and continued to hold his back leg up–he was lame. I watched him carefully. He couldn’t come up the stairs anymore. Otherwise, he continued on as normal. Eventually, he was able to put his leg down and support himself again. But, there was no more running and jumping.

During his lifetime, he had 6 different veterinarians and none of them ever suggested surgery to treat his slipping kneecap. I took him to different vets, searching for someone who actually loves animals and shows caring and compassion. Finally, I found one in January 2007, when my Yorkie had an emergency on a Sunday. The point here is that all vets are not created equal. If your Yorkie seems to be bothered by any conditions that need veterinary help, please be sure you listen carefully and observe how the vet and the assistants treat your pet. If you are the least bit uncomfortable with anything regarding the care of your Yorkie, keep looking for another vet.

It is commonly thought that luxating patella can lead to arthritis if not surgically repaired. That may be true, as in the last 2 months of his life, my Yorkie would lose his balance, as his back leg did not really support him anymore and then he would fall over, which would eventually lead to him screaming in pain. He would be on his side, very stiff, when I would rush to pick him up. Then the pain would subside and he was “normal” again. This happened a couple of times during the night–you can imagine the heart stopping panic that I felt as I was awakened by his screaming. I was so scared for him and did not know how to help him. Of course, I asked the vet about this and she said it was arthritis and there was nothing she could do. At his age she felt surgery was out of the question.

If your Yorkie or any other dog is dealing with this condition, you have to consider what the best course of action is for your pet. Educate yourself about Yorkie health problems. Search the Internet, go to bookstores and find the veterinary books on dogs. This way you will understand some of the things your dog may be facing. You need to clearly understand what your vet is saying to you about treatments. So many health problems today in our pets are genetic. Breeders need to pay close attention to how they are breeding and stop over breeding. Maybe someday these wonderful little dogs will not be troubled anymore by slipping kneecaps.