Fudge – New Hips and a New Lease of Life

Fudge is a golden Labrador who first began to limp on her right back leg when she was six and a half years old. Her regular vet had advised her owners to manage the hip problem with anti-inflammatory medication. Unfortunately Fudge suffered from side effects of these drugs – such as vomiting and diarrhoea – and her limping became worse if the treatment was stopped, so she was referred to Northwest Surgeons to see if we could help.

Upon examination the pain did appear to come from her right back leg; however X-rays revealed arthritic changes in her left hip. Under anaeasthetic we carried out specific hip manipulations which are designed to detect instability in the hip joints. The results were interesting – Fudge demonstrated instability in her right hip joint although she had no signs of arthritic changes, which is often seen in much younger dogs but not usually in a dog of her years.

Over the following nine months we tried to control her pain with a number of different drugs, but it seemed that that her hip was definitely getting worse and having a severe impact on her quality of life. We all agreed that the only option was for a total hip replacement.

Northwest Surgeons is one of only a handful of specialist centres that carry out total hip replacements – where the bony parts of the hip joint are replaced with a plastic socket and metal ball. This type of procedure is not without risks, including fractures of the thigh bone or pelvis.

In 2007 Fudge had her right total hip replacement surgery and after six months of careful management by her owners she was happily running around the park again. Unfortunately her left hip started to give her some problems about a year later, which is unusual but Fudge seems to have a habit of that! So we agreed to replace her second hip and she is now living life to the full, needing no medication.

In August 2014 Fudge’s owner contacted and informed us that she was doing brilliantly!  She is a little grey in the muzzle at 13 years old but she is walking well and her owner still feels that without her new hips she wouldn’t have had quality of life and many years of happiness she has been given by having this procedure.

Fudge was treated by Steve Bright BVMS CertSAS DipECVS MRCVS