When we met Hank, before bringing him to the Homestead, we knew he was broken. His previous owners had ran him over (in their garage!) and then turned him over to the Pet Emergency Clinic when they decided they didn't want him anymore, his being broken and all. The above x-ray was taken the day after he came into the clinic and shows a minor fracture where the femur and femoral head meet. (Eventually these two fuse together, there is a growth plate there at this point in this puppy's life.)
Hmmm... not so bad, we thought. He's got a lot of growing to do and his grown-up bones will be twice as big as his puppy bones. Calcification will develop and engulf the fracture. So, we took him home, excited to be adding a canine to the (overwhelming) feline population at the Homestead.
A week later, we took Hank back to the emergency clinic just as a precaution, to make sure the leg was beginning to heal and everything was moving in the right direction. Well, after a bit of attitude adjustment (on Hank's behalf), Cowboy H and I had taken the desired pictures. I looked at the screen... and my heart sank.
Now, it was obvious that the femoral head had completely separated from the femur. It was not what we expected at all. On top of that, there were these strange bone-like pieces "floating" next to the femur. Bone shards? Pieces splintered off the femur? Our hearts were heavy when we left the clinic that night.
Fortunately, I work for a vet who does orthopedic surgery, and commonly does a procedure called an FHO (Femoral Head Osteotomy). An FHO involves actually removing the femoral head and has proven successful in dogs with severe hip displasia. Wait, hey, didn't Hank's femoral head remove itself?? All it was doing was taking up space in the hip socket (and cutting off the blood supply to his precious growth plate!).
So, three days later, Cowboy H had a consulation scheduled with Dr. Clark and Hank's x-rays. After much talk about growth plates, arthritis, surgery, and roping steers, Hank had an FHO scheduled for 2 days later!