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Posted By: Ellen - Vet

Marley has a dislocated hip

Saturday mornings at the practice are often a busy time, with a mixture of routine appointments and emergencies that are dealt with as they arrive. Marley is one patient who came in as an emergency when he came home unable to use one of his hind legs. He was bought straight into the surgery where it became clear he was very uncomfortable in his right hip. As he was so painful we were not able to examine him very well so he was admitted for pain relief and x-rays.

The x-rays showed that Marley had dislocated his hip. Thankfully there did not appear to be any fractures of his pelvis or legs. We suspected some sort of trauma was the cause as he also had a number of large graze wounds on the inside of his leg. He appeared otherwise to be unscathed. The next step was to try and get his hip back into place. With a lot of manipulation we eventually managed to pop it back in, and applied a special bandage to help keep it in place. It is quite common for the hip to come out of its socket again.

Unfortunately for Marley when we saw him back 2 days later, despite being kept well rested, the hip was not in place. We sedated him and took some x-rays which confirmed this. We tried to put the hip back into place again, but this time the tissues around it had become quite firm and it was not possible to get it back in place.

This meant that some form of surgery would be needed to open the joint up and fix it. There were a number of options, such as total hip replacements involving very tiny implants, or it sometimes is also possible to pin the hip back into place. The third option is to remove the hip joint itself, if this is done then over time, the muscle around the top of the leg develops more and they can return to having a very near normal function in that leg. As Marley is a very active cat and keeping him rested is difficult, between us and his owners we decided on the operation which had the smallest risk of complications. This would give him the best chance of getting back out and about as soon as possible. We decided to remove the hip joint completely.

The surgery was performed at the practice, and the top part of his hind leg (the ball part of the ball and socket joint) was removed. Marley was fairly bright following the operation and within a couple of days he was starting to use the leg again, albeit tentatively at first. He has been kept on rest in one room and the plan is to gradually increase his exercise over the coming weeks. As is so often the case with cats we will probably never know quite what scrape he got into to cause it, but we are just very glad he seems to be recovering so well. He’s now back to going outdoors and enjoying his old life again. 

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