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Darcy’s total hip replacement

Darcy is a 7-year-old Cocker Spaniel who had a whale of a time playing and running around at a party two years ago.  Sadly Darcy overdid the running, and he started limping on his left hind limb.  Darcy and his carers visited their local vets who diagnosed him with hip dysplasia (when the hip socket does not fully cover the ‘ball’ portion of the upper thigh bone) and then later referred Darcy to Alan Danielski for a full assessment. The left hip appeared severely arthritic, so the decision was made to perform a total hip replacement on his left leg first. Following the operation, Darcy had hydrotherapy to help with his rehabilitation, and made such remarkable improvement that his carers didn’t think it was necessary to operate on Darcy’s right leg. 

Darcy having hydrotherapy after surgery on his left leg. Photo shared by Darcy’s carer.

Two years later Darcy started to show signs of pain in his right leg, although he did a good job of disguising it by limping and then not limping. After visiting their local vets, it was clear Darcy’s hip was not in a good way. To manage the condition medically, Darcy was prescribed painkillers and put on a diet to aid weight loss whilst on a restricted exercise regime for a few weeks. Although the limp had improved during these weeks, his right hip was still very painful on manipulation and the decision was made to perform another hip replacement on his right leg. Darcy was referred back to our Orthopaedic Surgeon Alan, who performed the procedure. 

Darcy playing in the snow at home before his second operation. Photo shared by Darcy’s carer.

Upon assessment, Alan found the top of the thigh bone (where the ‘ball’ which fits into the hip socket is) was severely deformed due to arthritis and the hip socket was extremely shallow. Darcy was anaesthetised and prepared for theatre. The surgery involves complete removal of the diseased “ball and socket” and replacement with a new metal ball and a plastic socket to provide long term pain-free mobility. A small incision was made along Darcy’s right hip exposing the joint. The hip socket and top of the thigh bone were prepared to receive the new implants that were fixed in place using bone cement. The new “ball” was then inserted into the new “socket” and checked for stability. The surgical wound was then carefully stitched.

X-Ray showing Darcy’s hip replacement on his right leg.

Darcy spent a few days under the care of our wards team to support his recovery post-operation.

Craig comforting Darcy the day after surgery.

When venturing outside for toilet breaks he was supported with a sling, whilst the wound started its healing process. He was delighted to return home, although under strict instructions to keep movement to a minimum. Exercise was kept for toileting purposes only for the first few weeks, with no jumping on the sofa allowed!

Darcy supported by a sling (and Lauren and Craig!) during a toilet break post-operation.

Darcy has now progressed to short lead-only walks but is desperate to do more. Darcy will have a check-up to evaluate the function of the leg and to check the position of the implants with X-rays (to check the stability of the implants) in three weeks time. His carers remark that “Darcy doesn’t think he’s had surgery, and this is a credit to how well the surgery has been done”- a wonderful result!  

Darcy back at home recovering. Photo shared by Darcy’s carer.

Thank you for taking the time to read Darcy’s story. For more information about our Orthopaedics Service, click on the link. Stay tuned for more tales from The Ralph.

Take care,

Team Ralph

One reply to “Darcy’s total hip replacement”

  1. Ben Cook says:

    Darcy (Mr Darcy) is our fur baby and we are delighted with the amazing love and care he received at The Ralph! He’s doing so well. Alan and his team are fantastic!!

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