Arthritis & Luxating Patella

The Anti-Cruelty Society is committed to helping to create successful adoption matches between people and pets. To assist in this process, we have created our Adoption Match Category guide as a tool to help point people toward an animal who will be the best fit for their experience and lifestyle.

Some of the animals assigned the “Special” category may have a medical need that adopters will need to take into consideration prior to making an adoption commitment. Arthritis and luxating patella are two such conditions.

Arthritis

steoarthritis (commonly known as arthritis or degenerative joint disease) is a normal part of aging. The onset and/or severity of this condition is influenced by many factors, including age, injury, illness, genetics, and being overweight. The details for this pet will be found in the medical records.

Just as there are many causes for arthritic changes in joints, there are also many treatment options. As with humans, arthritis in pets is progressive and symptoms will likely increase over time. Untreated inflammation can lead to pain, swelling and lameness in affected joints, resulting in a decreased quality of life. A private veterinarian will be able to recommend steps that can alleviate symptoms in most cases.

These may include:

  • Weight loss/control plan – to limit the load carried on the limbs involved
  • Nutritional supplements/diets – to provide nutrients important to joint function and/or for anti-inflammatory effects
  • Exercise/physical therapy
  • NSAIDS – non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or “aspirin–like” drugs to reduce inflammation
  • Steroids – orally or as injections to reduce inflammation
  • Surgery – in some cases, can prevent/limit arthritis before it develops or may be used to treat end stage arthritis when medicine is no longer effective

Treatment for arthritis may be ongoing and lifelong. Costs vary greatly, depending on treatment plan, so you should factor this expense into your decision to adopt an animal with this condition. If you are unsure if this is a financial burden you can bear, you may want to consult with your veterinarian prior to adopting.

If you have adopted a cat or dog from us with this special condition, please visit your veterinarian soon after adopting to discuss your pet’s medical needs. Be sure to bring the medical records that were given to you at the time of adoption.

Luxating Patella

When patellae (commonly referred to as “kneecaps”) luxate, they move in and out of their normal grooves when an animal walks. This condition is medically referred to as medially luxating patella. Animals with this condition are graded 1-4 depending on severity, with 4 being the most severe. As an animal ages, the severity may change.

Many small breeds of dogs are commonly afflicted with this condition. In many cases, small dogs and cats with low grade luxating patellae live out their lives with little or no consequence. When a kneecap moves out of place, the animal may experience temporary lameness, carrying the leg, or an unusual gait. In other cases, there may be effects that require medication, weight loss, or in extreme cases, surgical correction.

Please bear these possibilities in mind if you are considering the adoption of a cat or dog with this condition. Even though many pets will never experience significant problems, others may require care and treatment later in life.

If you have adopted a pet from us who has been diagnosed with this condition, please visit your veterinarian soon after adopting to discuss your pet’s medical needs. Be sure to bring the medical records that were given to you at the time of adoption.

Thank you to our partners whose support makes our work possible