Hospital Cases

Femoral head excision

Jade, a 6 year Cavalier King Charles Spaniel decided to run out of the front yard one evening in pursuit of a cat only to be hit by a car. She was lifted into the air and landed approx 10 meters away. She was presented in shock with pale gums, raspy chest sounds and pain.

We placed Jade on a drip, setup an oxygen mask and gave her pain relief. Chest and abdominal x-rays showed the lungs had some contusions (bleeding) and a fractured left hip. She stabilised over 24 hours and went home 2 days later on pain killers.

At a re-check 3 day later, we detected an irregular heartbeat. Jade was well in herself and her colour had improved. She was eating well but in some discomfort from the fractured hip. We postponed the hip surgery due to the irregular heartbeat which we suspected was a result of some bruising to the heart muscle when the car hit the chest and sent the heart and lungs on a rebound around the chest.

At 2 weeks, the heart beat was steady and Jade was much happier in herself. We decided to perform surgery on her fractured left hip. The hip is a ball and socket joint. In Jade’s case, the ball had broken off from the femur to which it was previously attached.

In dogs under 20kg, we perform an operation called a femoral head excision (FHE) where we remove the fractured ball. The end of the femur is rasped down so it is nice and smooth and has no jagged edges whihc can bump into the pelvis.

Jade was placed on an IV drip and anaesthetised with Alfaxan and 2& Isoflurane. We made an incision over ehr left hip, dissected through the superficial tissues and then cut through some muscles insertions and the joint capsule to find the loose femoral head which was removed.

The neck of the femur, where the ball had been attached, was smoothed down using a bone rasp. The joint was flushed with saline and an anti biotic powder was placed in the surgery site (Ampicillin). The joint capsule was closed and the severed muscles re-attached using Monosyn sutures.

Jade made a smooth recovery and was sent home the following day on antibiotics and pain relief (Meloxicam). At stitches out 10 days later, Jade was using the leg well. At 3 weeks, Jade was pain free and placing full weight on the leg.

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