Willow the ten month old Labrador is more than just a cuddly pet for his owner Rachel. He is quite literally a life saver, as Rachel suffers from a rare condition that causes severe allergic reactions to changes in temperature. Willow is soon to start training as a medical alert dog, and once this is completed, he will be able to raise the alarm when Rachel suffers one of her life threatening attacks. He came to Fitzpatrick Referals with a suspected need for a total hip replacement, putting his medical alert dog training on hold.

Willow after his hip replacement.

Willow after his hip replacement.

When Noel examined Willow it was clear his right hip was very painful. X-rays revealed this was being caused by a malformation of the hip joint called hip dysplasia. After a long discussion it was agreed that we would carry out a total hip replacement on Willow in order to restore him to full health and eliminate his discomfort completely.

The total hip replacement was carried out using a specially designed canine hip. This specific design allows bone to grow into the implants which holds the hip in place. This process is called osseous (bone) integration.

Post-Surgery X-Ray showing Willow's new hip joint.

Post-Surgery X-Ray showing Willow’s new hip joint.

Overtime the bone grows into the metal implants, which holds the implant very tightly within the bone. We discovered that Willow’s bones were quite fragile, so Noel had to add some wire around the top of the leg bone to hold everything together while it healed.

After 12 weeks Willow was back to a normal exercise routine and could return to his important training to become a qualified medical alert dog.