This section is from the book "The Farmers Ready Reference Or Hand Book Of Diseases Of Horses And Cattle", by S. C. Orr. . Also available from Amazon: The Farmer's Ready Reference;.
The term "stifled," as applied by common usage, has reference only to the patella or cap on the front part of the stifle joint. The patella slips from its position in front to the outside of the joint. It may happen from slipping in traveling; but it most frequently takes place when the horse is standing in the stable. It is due to weakness of the ligaments which hold the patella in place. It frequently follows some debilitating disease, as strangles, influenza, etc.
Symptoms cannot pass unseen, as the animal walks with great difficulty as long as the dislocation continues. The stifle joint cannot be flexed, the leg extending slightly backward and only brought forward with an outward swing without bending the stifle joint, making progress very slow.
Treatment. - First, get the patella into its proper position. Sometimes this can be done by simply drawing the leg forward with one hand and working the patella with the other; but usually it is necessary to place a rope around the ankle and have an assistant draw forward on it while the operator endeavors to get the patella in place. Stand just back of the stifle facing the horse and, with the palm of the hand, push or strike lightly against the patella, and it will go into position with a sharp click and the leg can be brought forward and flexed without difficulty. A strap can then be fastened by one end to the animal's fetlock and the other to a collar or strap around the shoulders allowing the foot to go back even with the other one, but no farther. Another way to keep it in place is to buckle a strap around the affected limb just above the hock, making it just tight enough to keep the animal from putting his weight on the leg. The ammoniacal liniment should be well rubbed in on the inside and front of the stifle joint, but not on the outside. Apply it every two hours until the skin is well thickened up and tender, then the appliances to hold the leg forward can be removed. As soon as all irritation leaves the skin the liniment can he applied again if necessary.