Apparently, I have written about dislocated hips before, but I can't find my original post right now. I received an email on the subject from Ireland today. [These diagrams are lifted from Brinker, Piermatti & Flo (orthopedic text).]
On Tue, 19 Jan 2010 20:18:56 -0000, Paddy from Wicklow, Ireland
She is a great sheepdog, but more important she
my best friend and companion after my wife. I want the best treatment for
She was hit by a jeep wheel on the left
hindquarters on 12th December 2009. Our vet immediately gave painkilling
injections and supplied tablets for pain. I brought her back to him several
times and he said not to worry and kept giving painkiller
I was not happy and I suspected a dislocated
changed vets and the new vet x-rayed the hip yesterday 18th
Jan. The hip is dislocated and nothing else wrong.
is still mobile on 3 legs.
The vet said it was too long out to put back
would be a big job. She recommended surgery to remove the femoral knob. I think
that is very drastic and extreme and also she has never done it before. She will
not try manipulation as I have asked
Your article on hip dislocations has given me
if only I could get a vet to do it. Under anesthetic it is at least worth a
try. We have a bonesetter in the next County. Would
think it advisable to let him see
Doc Mobley replies:
If by "bonesetter" you mean a doctor (vet) who specializes in
orthopedics (fractures, dislocations, or other bone surgery), then yes,
I think that's a good idea.
The longer that the hip stays out of socket, the less likely it is that
simply replacing it will be successful. The socket will have a bunch
of clot-like material filling it up. That could have been displaced if
the hip had been put back soon after the injury. Now it is more
organized, and probably won't just "push out of the way".
Also, the other structures that support the hip, the muscles and
ligaments will have shrunk or stretched to accommodate the new position
of the thigh-bone. This would have a tendency to pull the ball back
out of the socket.
Removal of the femoral head (the "ball" in the ball and socket joint)
is not a terrible thing to do. There is enough muscle and tendon to
support the dog's weight in this area. Sometimes they will form a
"false joint", where the ball sort of "nests" in some other area. They
may get around fine. However, if there is bone-on-bone contact, this
causes pain. Removal of the femoral head relieves that pain.
To replace the hip joint back in socket and keep it there would (almost
certainly) require a good orthopedic surgeon who could stabilize the
joint with some type of implant (screws, wires, etc.)
Good luck in caring for your second-best friend.