When Teddy arrived home from his daily adventure one day he could barely use one of his back legs and looked very awkward and painful. He also had superficial wounds consistent with having been ‘bumped’ by a car. A radiograph showed that he had completely dislocated his right hip joint
X-ray showing Teddy’s dislocated right hip
Dislocated hip joints can usually be put back in place fairly easily (under anaesthetic) but they hardly ever stay in place without using distressing bandaging techniques which cats will not tolerate. Therefore, we had the option of using surgery to fix the original joint back in place, or to remove the head of the thigh bone to create a ‘false’ joint. Preserving the original joint is the best option, so we used a technique called an iliofemoral suture to hold the damaged hip joint together.
This technique involves an ‘open’ reduction where a surgical approach is made to the joint to clean the socket and replace the head of the thigh bone before repairing as much of the joint capsule as possible.
A hole is then drilled through the neck of the thigh bone and sutures are used to create an artificial ligament across the joint. In Teddy’s case, three ‘figure of 8’ sutures were used to pull the thigh bone towards the pelvis and keep its head in the pelvic socket.
Figure of 8 stitching in progress, to act as an artificial ligament
Teddy coped extremely well and within a very short time was walking with barely any lameness. He was literally raring to go, and the challenge then was to stop him doing too much until the joint had fully healed and become stable.
Teddy in a recovery kennel post surgery