Ask the Vet: loveable Hugo

Hugo, before surgery

Hugo, before surgery - Credit: Archant

Shane Morrison, of Christchurch Veterinary Referrals, makes walkies easier for a basset hound with a deformity

Hugo's X-ray

Hugo's X-ray - Credit: Archant

During the summer of 2015 I first met Hugo, a loveable and much-adored Basset hound belonging to his very worried owner, Zoe Hunter. Zoe’s concern stemmed from the peculiar development of Hugo’s front legs. This appeared to have come on gradually and, by the time he was one year old, his front legs deviated outwards in the fashion of a seal. The simple act of walking had become a struggle for Hugo.

Zoe’s usual vets in Colchester referred Hugo directly to Christchurch Veterinary Referrals, where X-rays revealed the underlying cause of Hugo’s deformity. It was due to the disparate growth of the radius and ulna, the bones of the forelimb. Both ulnae had stopped growing before each of the radii, which had continued to grow, thus pushing the paws out at an obscure angle. The condition responsible for this is chondrodystrophy, a common defect in many short legged dogs, although rarely causing such significant deformation as that seen in Hugo’s case.

Hugo underwent separate reconstructive surgeries on both front legs. The bones of his front legs were cut, rotated and plated so that a normal position was achieved. It is now some months after Hugo’s surgery and it is clear that he has done exceedingly well. In Zoe’s words: “We can’t thank you enough for fixing Hugo’s legs and giving him a better quality of life. You’ve all (at Christchurch Referrals) been constantly supportive, professional and so accommodating and we will definitely recommend you to anyone needing specialist treatment like Hugo did.” We are all so pleased at how well Hugo has done.

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