Ruby was accidentally dropped and came to us in a lot of pain and lame on her back left leg. We anaesthetised her and her left hip had become dislocated.
We managed to replace the hip under anaesthetic but if you look at her hip joint the ‘socket’ part of the ball and socket joint is very shallow and this means that the hip can dislocate easily again as all the ligaments that hold it in place will have been broken or stretched by the initial injury. Cats can often live with very little problem with a permanently dislocated hip, but in dogs this is often painful.
Ruby’s hip did re-dislocate and despite pain relief she was uncomfortable and lame so after a week we decided she needed surgery to correct the problem. We could have anchored the hip in place by putting in a false ligament to replace the one that had broken, but we would still have had the problem of the shallow hip joint, so it was decided to do a different operation in her case. This is called an athroplasty and involves cutting out and removing the ‘ball’ part of the ball and socket joint. When we have done this the muscles tend to pull the hip back into position and over time a fibrous ‘joint’ between the two bits of bone forms. This does result in some reduction in movement of the hip joint but most dogs cope with this exceedingly well, most importantly it takes away any pain.
Ruby is doing well, in fact the owners are struggling to keep her exercise restricted whilst the operation heals!