With the advent of a new problem in dogs came the sad conclusion of the advisability of euthanasia with seemingly hopeless cases. Many breeds had individuals that could survive even with limping with discomfort such as pointers and setters but the giant breeds were often in a class by themselves. A two year old Saint Bernard weighing 145 pounds was presented for an evaluation as walking had become more and more difficult with the normal weight gain of those wonderful animals. As I frequently did in hopeless cases asked the owners if they would be interested in my performing experimental surgery at no cost to them. They agreed. My objective was to remove the "heads" of the two humerus bones. The hip joint is often referred to as a ball and socket joint. I removed the heads of the femurs with great difficulty as the density and size of the necks of those balls was difficult to cut through. After surgery the anesthetized animal was placed in a walk in enclosure. The anesthesia had warn off and I had to see if the huge dog could possibly walk. To my amazement the patient arose and walked out of the enclosure more easily than before the surgery. The surgery was a resounding success. I had an agreement with the owner that I be permitted to perform a post mortem exam if and when the dog died. I do not recall how many years passed when the dog was presented for euthanasia.
That dog had walked as a normal Saint all the rest of his life after surgery. I do not have the knowledge to describe the two joints but both the socket or acetabulum and the ends of the femurs had flattened out and had something like joint capsules with fluid in both.
Strangely but as writing this exceptional case up for you to consider I wonder if the case has any application to humans.