Should I Avoid Getting a dog with Patellar Problems?

Our question this week was:

Hello Dr. Debra. I am planning on purchasing a new little pup since my 6-year-old Pomeranian just passed away of IMHA. Have you heard of this disease before? My poor little Princess's life got taken away at such an early age.

The new little puppy is 14 wks old and she has a medium case of Patella. Would it be a bad decision to bring the puppy home? Will there be any long-term problems with the dog once she gets older? Please let me know your expertise on this issue that I have.Thanks Dr. Debra.

June Tham – Vancouver, BC Canada


Hi June, thanks for your email. Yes, I have heard of IMHA, also known as or Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia or Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia. It is not uncommon in dogs and is often fatal. I'm sorry to hear it affected your Princess.

You mentioned that you are looking at a 14-week-old puppy that has a problem with her patellas. My guess is you mean that she has Patellar Luxation which is a problem with her knee caps no longer glides within its natural groove (sulcus) in the femur, the upper bone of the knee joint. It can be a congenital problem in some dogs. If the abnormality is severe, it can lead to a progressive, chronic lameness. It is not uncommon in small breed dogs and it can be treated. I don't know that you should "avoid" getting the dog but I'd so with as much knowledge as you can about the disease as you can so you know what to expect.

Articles that might be helpful to you are Lateral Patella Luxation and Medial Patella Luxation in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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