Pets Age: 
7 Months
Pet Type: 
Male, Labrador
Hip dysplasia with severe subluxation of his left femoral head

Jake presented to the SMART Clinic in December 2011, at the young age of 7 months. His owners had noticed a mild lameness affecting his left hind in October, but this deteriorated and he was referred to Mr Butterworth at Weighbridge Referral Centre for an Orthopaedic assessment. Mr Butterworth reported the finding of hip dysplasia with severe subluxation of his left femoral head. The plan was to start physiotherapy and if hindlimb function could not be improved, then a total hip replacement was to be considered.

Jake struggled to use his left hind leg on initial presentation. He kept most of his bodyweight over his front legs and had poor balance and co-ordination. Jake had compensatory muscle soreness in his back and forelimb muscles. His left hind was extremely weak and poorly muscled and movement of the leg was painful.

We started Jake on a rehabilitation programme which aimed to:

  • Reduce his pain from the left hip
  • Reduce his pain from compensatory muscle soreness
  • Improve his ability to use his left hind leg
  • Increase his functional ability and quality of life

Jake attended the clinic twice weekly where a combination of acupuncture, physiotherapy and the aquatic treadmill were used. Jake had become used to only ‘toe-touching’ with his left hindlimb, so gait re-education was a vital component of his rehabilitation plan. His owners were given an extensive home exercise programme which initially aimed to build the postural muscles in his hindlimbs.

Jake progressed relatively quickly and we soon started to reduce his painkillers. Jake was prescribed a progressive home exercise regime which helped to build muscle bulk and improve his neuromotor control and proprioception.

Jake graduated to weekly appointments on his seventh week attending the clinic. At this stage, Jake was coping with 20 minute walks, twice daily. Jake was reviewed by Mr Butterworth who was also pleased with his progress. The plan was to be that if Jake could cope with an hours walking then hip replacement surgery would not be required.

Over the coming weeks, Jake was weaned off his medication and his exercise was gradually increased. By 16 weeks, Jake could manage 45 minutes walking with short sessions of jogging on-lead, and by his 1st birthday, Jake was easily managing an hour’s walking with no ill effect!

We believe his great progress to be the result of his ‘continually happy’ personality and his wonderful owners who have worked so hard with his rehabilitation programme.