4 main causes of femoral head amputation in dogs and cats


The branch of veterinary orthopedics deals daily with a series of problems that can influence and end an animal's mobility, and it is up to the professional to evaluate the best ways to treat the complication so that the pet can have a chance to fully recover its movements . Nowadays, femoral head amputation is an orthopedic surgery performed relatively frequently in the veterinary world, since different types of complications may end up with colocefalectomy its main chances of solution.

Also called cephalectomy, artoplastic excision of the head and femoral neck or femur head amputation in dogs and cats it is carried out mainly due to four distinct problems - which can affect both small and large animals at any stage of life; therefore, there are few measures to be taken to ensure that a canine or feline pet is kept away from the need for this type of orthopedic veterinary surgery throughout its life.

However, as in the case of the vast majority of problems (of any kind) that affect an animal's life, the sooner a concrete diagnosis is made and treatment begins, the greater the chances that the animal will recover completely and ; therefore, it is worth emphasizing, once again, that pet guardians should always be attentive to any type of abnormal behavior that your pet may exhibit - taking him immediately to a consultation with a veterinary professional when noticing changes in the animal.

That said, check out in this article the four main causes that lead a dog or cat to need an orthopedic surgery for amputation of the femur head, and find out some of the indications of this type of problem.

The four main motivations for colocefalectomy

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As mentioned in the introduction, the surgery that consists of amputation of the head of the femur in dogs and cats is also known by other names (colocefalectomy, cephalectomy and artoplastic excision of the head and femoral neck), and consists of the removal of the head and neck of the femur of the animal to minimize the damage caused by different problems; that can cause from muscle atrophy and arthrosis to necrosis in the region, greatly impairing the animal's mobility capacity and, consequently, its life in general.

The most common causes that cause a dog or cat to need this procedure are:

  • Fractures

    The occurrence of trauma due to strikes, for example, and falls are among the most common forms of fracture that can lead an animal to need this type of orthopedic surgery. Although the animal's femur head, when victim of a trauma, it can be reconstructed by means of surgeries (which use screws, plates and pins as tools) - this is considered a very difficult healing region and; because of this, there are not many cases in which this type of procedure is adopted, taking into account that the animal's recovery process can be longer and more complicated.

    In these conditions the most common is that the veterinary professional opts for amputation surgery of the animal's head and femoral neck - favoring the formation of a kind of false joint in the region and that, aided by the adjacent musculature and the joint capsule, allows the animal be able to support your limb again without feeling pain due to the fracture that damaged the region.

  • Dislocations

    Dislocations, which usually occur due to some type of trauma or very severe dysplasia, are also strong candidates for having artoplastic excision of the head and femoral neck as an indication for treatment. In this type of case, the region of the femoral head is impaired due to common accidents, such as slips, more sudden starts by the animal or even by a strong turn while the animal has its paw attached, for example. The dislocation, therefore, causes the rupture of the round ligament - causing the head of the femur to come loose or dislodge from the cavity of the acetabulum (place where it should be properly attached to allow the animal to move naturally and without pain).

  • Coxofemoral Dysplasia

    Although the treatment of hip dysplasia does not have colocefalectomy as the main form of treatment, this procedure can be indicated for dogs with the problem in some more specific cases; and in which there is a bad coaptation of the femoral head in the acetabulum, which is very accentuated causing dislocation - that is, when the connection between such parts no longer occurs as it should. Generally, it is only the cases of very advanced hip dysplasia that cause this problem to a level that can be alleviated by amputation of the head and neck of the animal's femur - being that the picture of dysplasia can appear in dogs both congenitally and acquired.

    In congenital cases, the animal is born with the complication; which develops throughout life and tends to affect, in most cases, large or giant dogs. While in the acquired case episodes, the problem develops depending on the environment or the behavior of the animal - the prolonged stay of the pet in places with very smooth surfaces (which provide great efforts and wrong movements) and cases of dislocation patella (which can also arise due to accidents on floors that are too smooth or congenitally) tend to be factors that greatly increase the chances of the problem arising; even in smaller dogs.

  • Aseptic Necrosis of the Femoral Head

    With cephalectomy as the main and most efficient form of treatment, aseptic necrosis of the femoral head is a complication that generally affects small dogs. Developed according to irrigation problems in the femoral head region, the necrosis of this area - unlike the vast majority of episodes in animals - does not occur because of an infection, but because of ischemia (lack of blood). As it may evolve with severe arthrosis and subluxation problems as a starting point for its appearance, aseptic necrosis of the femoral head, when it reaches one of the animal's limbs, may also end up appearing on the same member on the opposite side - since from the inability to use the compromised limb, the pet may end up forcing the other and causing the same problem.

Diagnostics and postoperative of cephalectomy

Because the reasons that may require orthopedic surgery for amputation of the femur head in dogs and cats are varied, the diagnoses that lead to this type of treatment are also different; it may include exams ranging from clinical analysis and palpation by a veterinary professional to imaging exams such as radiographs and tomographies.

However, regardless of the forms of diagnosis, it is important to remember that cases of problems that require arthroplastic excision of the head and femoral neck (whether due to a fracture, dislocation, hip dysplasia or aseptic necrosis of the region) may not be considered an emergency, but they are urgent and should be treated as quickly as possible.

The symptoms of dislocations and fractures are very evident and, in most cases, they already make the animal cry and show a lot of pain and difficulty in supporting the affected limb as soon as the problem happens; and although the clearest signs of hip dysplasia and aseptic necrosis of the femoral head may take a little longer to manifest, both also cause great pain and the animal's inability to support the limb.

Therefore, when identifying mobility difficulties and pain in your pet, be sure to take him / her immediately to a consultation with a veterinary professional - since, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, this type of action can contribute a lot to the animal has a fast and efficient recovery.

Although it is difficult for an animal that has just undergone a cephalectomy to recover without the help of veterinary physiotherapy sessions, there are rare cases in which this can happen - and in all of them the care of the animal is done immediately after the episode that caused it the problem that must be corrected with orthopedic surgery. On the other hand, cases in which the complication is not treated at the outset can promote the development of even more problems in life and in the affected areas of the animal's body, including the atrophy of its limbs and a longer and more complicated recovery.


Video: Our male gsd with hip dysplasia, what we notice the most.


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