Steve and Debbie arrive at Fitzpatrick Referrals with their two Carpathian Shepherd dogs - inseparable sisters Missy and Molly, whom they adopted as young rescue dogs. 11-month-old Molly has a severely dislocated hip, which Professor Noel Fitzpatrick suspects is the result of trauma experienced in her sad start to life at the tender age of only two months. He explains the three options available to them – surgery, amputation or euthanasia. They decide to opt for surgery, and because an off-the-shelf implant isn’t suitable, Noel will carry out a total hip replacement with a custom-made implant. It will mean she has to be separated from her sister for the first time ever.

Their Story

Romanian rescue puppy Molly lives with Debbie and Steve, and her beloved sister Missy in Wellingborough.

The Problem

Both Molly and Missy were badly mistreated before they were adopted but restored to good health before Steve and Debbie welcomed them into the family. Not long after, Molly developed a sudden limp in her left hind leg and within a few hours, she could no longer put her foot down. They rushed straight to their local vet that afternoon and upon seeing an x-ray of her left hip, they understood how serious her situation was. Her hip was barely distinguishable and they were immediately referred to Noel and the team at Fitzpatrick Referrals.

After observing the x-rays sent from Steve and Debbie’s local vet, Noel instantly identified the severity of the problem. He explained that there were three options – surgery, leg amputation or euthanasia. To give Molly the best chance at a full and pain-free life, Steve and Debbie opted to go ahead with surgery. Noel recommended total hip replacement surgery – with a custom-made implant to minimise the risk of failure that is often associated with off-the-shelf implants. The implant would replace the current joint with a custom-made neck, stem and ball – fitted especially to Molly’s hip joint. Whilst effective, the operation posed a big risk. As Molly’s hip had deteriorated so badly, Noel would need to create a longer rim in the joint for the implant to be placed into, as it was as flat as a saucer. This posed a risk of stretching nearby nerves – resulting in neuropraxia.

Making matters worse, her left kneecap was also at a risk of dislocating, as a result of the deteriorating hip. Noel had a challenging procedure on his hands but with success, Molly would have at least another 15 years of a full and happy life ahead of her.


Noel began the operation by removing Molly’s damaged hip joint and carefully making a new socket to insert her custom-made implant into – avoiding any nerve damage. He inserted a new cup into the socket and placed a new head inside the socket by placing a neck and stem inside the femur. With a standard implant, the surgery would have failed – thankfully Noel’s custom-made implant was fitted successfully and Molly returned home to Wellingborough four days after the operation.

Six weeks later, Steve and Debbie returned to Fitzpatrick Referrals with Molly for a check-up. Noel was delighted to be greeted by Steve wearing an ACDC t-shirt and could barely resist a pun. Sadly for Molly, her recovery had regressed, as she had licked her wound. Noel explained that the infection, an MRSP bug, could be very serious but hoped that it was just superficial and sent her straight for scans. When Steve and Debbie returned to the room, Noel had changed out of his shirt (having never not worn his shirt for a consultation) and was suddenly wearing his own ACDC t-shirt. As he had good news for the pair, he decided to conduct his report in the voice of ACDC’s Brian Johnson – this time, he didn’t hold back on the puns. Molly’s infection was just superficial and she was on the road to recovery – not the highway to hell.

Molly’s doing fabulously. We’re really pleased with her progress. You can see her running about now – it’s just fabulous. It’s a massive difference.


Back home in Wellingborough, Molly made a full recovery. For the first time in her life, she was allowed off of the lead and could play around with her sister without any pain.