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Luxation, Dislocation

Luxation, Dislocation

Luxation, or dislocation, occurs when a bone is pulled away from its normal position at a joint. Unusual force, trauma or underlying abnormalities are usually required to cause this. Damage to the joint and surrounding tissue often accompany the injury. Most dislocations must be repaired by medical personnel. Spontaneous resolution usually only occurs in some milder types of kneecap dislocations.

Common signs include:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • history of trauma (especially car injuries, falls, and serious limb trauma)
  • lameness (mild to very severe)
  • external wounds
  • reluctance to move, jump, or climb stairs
  • holding limbs or body in abnormal positions
  • a "skipping" or "hopping" gait (in knee cap dislocations)

Diagnosis is based on history, symptoms, examination findings, and x-rays.

Treatment varies widely based on the site, type and severity of the luxation. Most dislocations require stabilization that may consist of casts, splints, slings, severe exercise restriction or surgery (using bone pins, plates, wires, or other devices.

Proper stabilization is essential to healing. It greatly improves the possibility for return to normal function, decreases pain, and reduces damage to surrounding tissues. It is imperative to work closely with your veterinarian during luxation treatment. Complications are much more likely to occur in pets that are not monitored carefully.


  • Use all medications as prescribed by your veterinarian
  • Be sure to follow all activity restriction instructions from your veterinarian.
  • Carefully follow any splint, cast, sling, or post surgical instructions- these could be the difference between a successful recovery and further problems.
  • Monitor your pet carefully and have him or her rechecked as recommended by your veterinarian.

If you have questions about this or any medical topic, please contact your Banfield hospital today.