Albuquerque Journal Article – Sudden Knee Pain in Happy, Playful Cockapoo

Stem Cells Advance Healing with Corrective Surgery


I have a 3 year old cockapoo and she was trying to jump and did something to her leg. She cried for about 30 seconds, it was horrifying. She was born with loose kneecaps. My veterinarian was telling me about stem cells. I’m skeptical with any new procedures. Are there side effects or possibly future problems? She loves to play and I’m afraid it might happen again.

Dr. Nichol:

If your cockapoo has somewhat bowed rear legs, one or both of her knee caps (patellas) may slip out of its groove at the lower end of her thigh bone. Some patellas dislocate (luxate) just occasionally. A dog may skip for a few steps and then use the leg normally again after the patella slips back into the groove.

The knees of a dog with “luxating patellas” are vulnerable to injury. Your girl’s missed jump may have strained the supportive tendons that guide her patella. Rest and anti-inflammatory medication can help in the short term but the anatomy would still be structurally unsound. The only permanent solution will be surgical remodeling of the attachment of her patella and the groove in her lower femur.

Called a “tibial crest rotation” this surgery is a long-established procedure that many veterinarians are skilled at performing. But even with the geometric forces corrected some chronic damage to a dog’s tendons and cartilage will remain.  That’s what makes stem cell therapy valuable.

While your girl is under anesthesia for knee surgery her doctor can make a small abdominal incision and remove a bit of fat. Your dog’s very own stem cells (no risk of rejection) will be extracted and shipped back overnight for injection into her knee. Over the following weeks the stem cells will stimulate regeneration of chronically inflamed tissues, resulting in a stronger and more comfortable joint. The sooner your cockapoo gets the right treatment, the faster she’ll feel better.


Unruly behavior, barking, destructiveness, house soiling, biting, fighting: the list of canine shenanigans is almost endless. I’ll explain the problems and share the solutions at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center, 4000 Montgomery Blvd NE in Albuquerque from 6-9 PM Wednesday, August 23. Cost: $50. To register call 792-5131. Bring plenty of questions. I’ll give individual help. Pet parents only, please.


Dr. Jeff Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). Questions on pet behavioral or physical concerns? For answers, Like my Facebook page at or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.