PVM Surgery Team Treats Wallaby's Dislocated Hip

August 19, 2016

Dr. Mark Rochat, clinical professor of small animal orthopedic surgery, with the female wallaby whose dislocated hip he repaired. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca Wilcox)
Dr. Mark Rochat, clinical professor of small animal orthopedic surgery, with the female wallaby whose dislocated hip he repaired. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca Wilcox)

By Greg McClure, Purdue News Service

Using a device called a Tightrope™, a Purdue Veterinary Medicine small animal surgery team recently treated the dislocated hip of a female wallaby from Lafayette's Columbian Park Zoo. "Columbian Park Zoo called us in the spring, asking if we could help them treat a wallaby with a dislocated hip and we thought, 'Sure, why not?'" said Dr. Mark Rochat, clinical professor of small animal orthopedic surgery and chief of small animal surgery in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Wallabies, mid-sized marsupials that belong to the kangaroo family, are usually smaller than kangaroos. Dr. Rochat said the key to surgery on the wallaby was using the Tightrope™ to create a new round ligament. "We basically treated it like a dog with a hip dislocation," Dr. Rochat said. "The hip is a ball-and-socket joint and the round ligament is one of the major anatomic structures that holds the ball in the socket. The Tightrope™ is incredibly strong and its job is to take the place of the torn round ligament and hold everything in place, until scar tissue can build up and other structures damaged by the dislocation can heal."

There are some distinctions, of course, between a dog and a wallaby, Dr. Rochat noted. "The anatomy of the wallaby hip is different from the dog, which makes sense given their very different way of locomotion," he said. "It was a very interesting surgery." And successful. "The wallaby seems to be doing fine, and radiographs made about a month after surgery showed the Tightrope™ in place and doing its job," Dr. Rochat said.

Zoo officials expressed appreciation for the College's efforts. "The Columbian Park Zoo's continued partnership with Purdue's veterinary college not only provides the zoo with the benefit of access to a variety of animal specialists close by, but also gives real-world experience to students," said Dana Rhodes, director of the zoo. Click here to view a short video of the wallabies at the Columbian Park Zoo, including the one treated for the dislocated hip (center front in video).

Writer: By Greg McClure, Purdue News Service, pvmnews@purdue.edu


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