"Suzie" was referred to me by another client
who was aware of my expertise in orthopaedics. It is always
a relief when presented with such a patient that an accurate
diagnosis and postive result is achieved when expectations
of my capabilities are high. It therefore came as a slight
shock when the owner, a "golf professional" who
had previously given me a lesson, walked into the room.
Had his view of my professional abilities been on a par
with my golf swing then I think he might well have picked
"Suzie" up and ran out of my consulting room!
Fortunately, for me and "Suzie" the disease causing
her to be severely lame on her right hind leg was rare although
well recognised amongst the orthopaedic fraternity. Radiographs
confirmed her painful problem as Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
- first described in children in 1910 by 3 different medics
whose condition bears their names. Interestingly, whilst
in humans male children are far more likely to be affected
(80%) there is no sex predilection in dogs.
This disease causes the hip bone (femoral head) to die
back as a result of problems with the blood supply the exact
cause of which remains poorly understood. Collapse of the
hip bone occurs soon afterwards with resultant severe degenerative
joint disease. This disease is known to be particulary painful
and the treatment of choice is to surgically remove the
diseased and necrotic bone as in "Suzie's" case.
Whilst the surgery itself can be intricate and technically
demanding the postoperative phsiotherapy also plays a very
signifcant part. During this period of convalescence the
responsibility of the owners to nurse "Suzie"
back to full use of the affected leg is paramount. Fortunately,
for "Suzie" her recovery has been excellent and
bears no traces of her problem. Now if only her owner could
work some magic on my swing!