May 29 2020 07:19:44 

Patella Scoring
GBC Patella Luxation Testing Scheme

The Griffon is a robust and generally healthy little dog. To help to try and keep it this way the GBC has decided to introduce an official club scheme to help all Griffon owners and breeders to monitor the occurrence and severity of Patella luxation (slipping knees) in their dogs.
This is a condition that can affect the hind legs of many Toy and miniaturised breeds and is not just specific to the Griffon. It can cause the dog to hop or skip for just one stride or it may be for extended periods as the patella slips out of its groove and stops the leg from straightening and being used properly.
The condition is not usually painful but can cause lameness if very severe and may cause arthritis in later life when present in its milder forms. It can be treated surgically if very severe. If less severe it can usually be managed by keeping the dogs at a healthy weight and giving plenty of exercise to keep the hindquarters well muscled.
Patella luxation can be inherited or may be the result of accident and injury, it is important to separate the two. A dog that develops Patella luxation due to injury would not pass this on to it’s puppies whereas a dog that has poor conformation leading to patella luxation would be likely to pass this on to any puppies they produced.
The dogs are graded by a qualified Veterinary Surgeon using a set of criteria published by William Putnam in 1968. The GBC will use a system that does not involve the dogs being anaesthetised or sedated and is not at all painful. The dogs just need to stand naturally on the examination table while the Vet moves the hind legs through a normal range of movement and manually assess how tightly the patellae (kneecaps) are sitting in their grooves. Force must not be used. Grades are decided by the criteria in the table below.

Grade 0 Normal
Grade 1The patella luxates manually but spontaneously returns to the trochlea when released
Grade 2The patella luxates spontaneously or on manipulation and remains luxated at a certain angle of the stifle joint. It is either spontaneously reduced on active flexion or extension or can be manually reduced by the examiner
Grade 3The patella remains luxated most of the time but can be manually reduced. However, reluxation occurs spontaneously.
Grade 4The patella is permanetly luxated and cannot be manually repositioned

Grade 1 and 2 are considered as intermittent Patella Luxation. Grade 3 and 4 are considered as permanent Patella Luxation.

Excessive force should not be used when manipulating the patella.

Ideally only dogs with the lowest score 0-2 would be used for breeding unless the luxation was due to injury.
The club is hoping that this scheme will help to make people more aware of their dogs patella status and that breeders will use the information to ensure that dogs with poorer scores (3-4) are not mated together. Bitches should be checked mid way between seasons as this is when joint laxity is at it’s lowest. It is better not to score pregnant bitches as they may also have poorer scores as their ligaments are naturally more lax at this time. It may be found that any dogs with borderline scores can be improved with weight loss if overweight and exercise if muscle tone is poor.
The dogs cannot be officially graded until they are at least 12 months old and must be permanently identified by micro-chip or tattoo. The dogs need only be graded once but may be re-checked each time they visit the vet as it only takes a couple of minutes to check the Patellae.
Most Vets charge only a nominal fee to grade the dogs if you are taking them in for some other reason such as a vaccination.
The Scheme is open to all Griffons anywhere in the world.
The results should be sent to the breed health coordinator and will be kept confidential unless advised otherwise:

Jessica Gruninger
142 Auckland Road
Potters Bar
01707 644182

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