Hip Replacement Hero - Sam
The phrases ‘hip replacement’ and ‘dog’ most people might typically think don’t go together. However any experienced vet will tell you canines needing hip replacements are becoming increasingly more common.
As the world moves forward with new apps, new technology, and new science, so too does the possibilities in the veterinary world. With the number of canines needing orthopaedic surgery increasing, Total Hip Replacements have become one of the most common joint replacement surgeries performed. If we were to go back 50 years ago this procedure might not have been possible, yet it was exactly what we were able to do at Sydney Animal Hospitals.
Our canine hero came to us with a history of pain in his left hind leg, which had been present since he was a puppy. In his first consultation, with Northern Beaches Practice owner Dr. Ben Brown, we were told by his owners that Sam had never been able to run or jump properly and was usually slow to rise. Border Collies as a breed are commonly known for their athletic ability, high intellect & high energy, so hearing that Sam did not fit the normal profile immediately raised a red flag. Dr. Ben performed a full health assessment, including manipulating specific joints and limbs, and reviewed radiographs of Sam’s hips that had previously been taken. The diagnosis became clear, Sam was suffering from a condition called Hip Dysplasia.
The options for treatment were discussed and under Dr. Ben’s advisement, it was decided that a total hip replacement by the team at Veterinary Specialists of Sydney was Sam’s best chance. The surgery date was set, now we just had to prep Sam for his big day.
Before we could begin, we needed to run a pre-anesthetic blood test to ensure Sam’s internal organs were healthy and could handle the extensive surgery he was about to undergo. Once given the all clear our nurses prepped Sam for his operation, ensuring he had adequate pain relief, intravenous fluids and the surgical site was sterile.
Once on the operating table the specialist surgeon Dr. Andrew Levien confirmed yet again that Sam had significant osteoarthritis and his left hip was completed luxated. With our team of vets and nurses closely monitoring Sam’s vitals throughout the procedure, Dr. Andrew removed the femoral head and neck. A prosthetic hip joint and femoral head were then surgically attached, replacing the hip joint entirely. The final step to the procedure involved taking a set of radiographs to ensure the implant was in the proper position.
Xray 1 - showing hip dysplasia (hip not siting in the hip socket) Xray 2 - after operation replacing the hip joint with a prosthetic hip joint and femoral head
For the next ten weeks Sam was on strict bed rest. He spent four of those weeks in hospital under medical observation and being cared for by our team of dedicated nurses. Oral antibiotics and pain relief up to twice daily was just the tip of the iceberg of Sam’s post-operative treatment. Our nurses took extra care with his handling, as they knew the more active Sam was, the more prone he would become to surgical complications. Every time he needed to toilet our nurses used a special sling that help alleviate the weight from his hind legs - we came to think of it as his hero’s cape.
Finally Sam was ready to head home where his family continued the hard work keeping him confined and using his special cape to help him get around. After his ten weeks of bed rest were up the last set of x-rays were performed. With the approval from the Veterinary Specialist of Sydney team, Sam could final be released from bed rest and back to normal activity.
Sam has now healed completely and is walking and running better on the operated leg than his other one! He is at home and is one happy, pain free dog. After his massive surgical procedure and ten weeks of care, how could you not think he was a hero!
If you think your pet is struggling with pain, contact your nearest Sydney Animal Hospital to find out what we can do for you and your furry family.