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Dear Daisy Dog

Suzie, my Pomeranian, has luxating patellas – dislocating kneecaps. I would like to breed her, but my veterinarian says her luxating patellas are most likely inherited, and she could transmit the problem to her puppies. What do you think?

Daisy Responds

Patellar luxation is inherited in a number of breeds, including Pomeranians, miniature and toy poodles, Yorkshire terriers, Pekingese, Chihuahuas, Boston terriers, basset hounds, shih tzus, silky terriers and Lhasa apsos.

The problem is common: Veterinary radiologists with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals found patellar luxation in half the Pomeranian knee x-rays they reviewed.

On the other hand, a dislocated kneecap can result from injury.

That’s what happened to my golden retriever brother Sam when he was a year old. Surgery corrected the problem, but now that he’s 10, he has arthritis in the affected knee.

Thus, patellar luxation causes pain and lameness when the kneecap dislocates, and again later in life if the knee becomes arthritic.

If both of Suzie’s knees are involved, it’s more likely the problem is inherited than caused by an injury.

If you want to be sure, ask your veterinarian to x-ray Suzie’s knees. In most cases of inherited patellar luxation, the femur, or thigh bone, is somewhat bowed.

Either way, if Suzie is bred, the weight of her pregnant belly will put additional strain on her knees, increasing the likelihood of arthritis later in life.

Because breeding Suzie would stress her knees and compromise the health of future generations of Pomeranians, I think she should not be bred.

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