When arthritis in the hip is severe, we can control pain caused by bone-on-bone grinding by removing the ball of the joint from the femur. A false joint is created by replacing the ball with a wrapped and pinned strip of gluteal muscle that simulates the function of the joint, essentially creating a shoulder-type joint in the hip. Recovery is fairly brief and full functionality can usually be restored.
Active dogs and cats can experience a variety of fractures caused accidents or falls. Depending on the type of fracture, such injuries can either be casted, or surgically repaired with pins and wire, bone plates, or external fixators. In severe cases where the bone cannot be repaired, amputation may be necessary. While the prospect of amputation may be upsetting, most dogs and cats quickly and happily adapt to getting around on three legs.
Sometimes a dog will have a normal hip structure but still experience pain-causing conditions like hip dysplasia, ligament laxity, congenital malformation, or mild arthritis. In such cases, where femoral head ostectomy is not indicated, we can de-nerve the joint to relieve the discomfort. This procedure severs the cranial gluteal nerve, which is the primary sensory nerve in the hip joint, and cauterizes the ambient secondary nerves to render the joint essentially numb. Most dogs show significant improvement within a day or two of surgery.
Patellar luxation is dislocation of the kneecap usually caused by congenital misalignment of the tibia and the femur. The correction has a four stages – deepen the groove in the femur to hold the patella in place, modify the tibial crest, shift the modified tibial crest sideways to realign the forces in the knee and slide the kneecap back into place, then tighten the joint capsule.