Franklin Vets Blog

Pussim’s pelvic injuries

November 29, 2021

It is common to have more than one injury when a large vehicle hits a small animal (or even a human), and that is particularly true when the pelvis gets hit.

The pelvis is essentially a rigid box made up of 6 bones, that fuse together while the animal is growing. There are two joints (sacroiliac joints) attaching the pelvis to the spinal column, and two more joints (hips) attaching the hindlegs to the pelvis. Plus a whole load of muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and nerves, not to mention the rectum and urogenital tract that run right through the middle of the pelvis. Pretty complicated. If the pelvis takes a big hit, it is inevitable it is going to break in more than one location.

Pussim is a young, male, Ragdoll cross who came to us having been hit by a car.

Pussim had sustained a dislocation of his left hip joint, as well as a dislocation of both of the sacroiliac joints. This is an injury that can happen without any fractures to the pelvic bones at all.

In fact, if the only injury had been the sacroiliac dislocations, and if the pain was able to be controlled adequately, then we would probably not have needed to go to surgery at all. But with the hip also out, this was going to need surgery to repair, so we took the opportunity to stabilise one sacroiliac joint to provide pain relief and likely faster return to normal function.

Red arrows show sacroiliac dislocations, yellow arrow shows hip dislocation.

Pussim with pelvic fracturesThe left sacroiliac joint was stabilised with a single screw into the spinal column.

The hip was relocated, then stabilised with a strand of nylon placed from a suture anchor drilled into the pelvis in front of the hip joint, passed through a tunnel drilled through the femur. This nylon strand holds the hip joint in place while the soft tissues reform around the joint and stabilise it.

This fiddly combination of procedures was carried out through a single surgical incision. Pussim was rested for a month, then gradually returned to activity.

It’s a nice result to see a patient in such profound pain return to purring and moving comfortably around the cage in a matter of days. Very satisfying for everyone.

Paul Eason BVM&S MANZCVS (Surgery; Emergency and Critical Care Medicine)