Fiona gets a new lease on life

November 09, 2022

St. Bernard's total hip replacement is a total lifesaver for the young pup

Fiona Prescott with her owner Deanna

Fiona Prescott with her owner, Deanna

pre-op radiograph

Pre-op and post-op radiographs

 pre-op radiograph
post-op radiograph

post-op radiograph



Written by Sandra Sarr, MFA, Communications Manager


Fiona, the St. Bernard, got off to a wobbly start in life. When her original owner gave her up at 11 weeks old, Deanna Prescott adopted her. Deanna soon noticed Fiona moved with difficulty and seemed to be in pain. 

“Fiona’s legs would go out from under her. I first noticed she had a problem when she struggled to lie down and whimpered in her sleep. She didn’t want to play with our other St. Bernard,” said Deanna, who picked her up in Tennessee in September 2020, with an intent to foster her, and brought her home to New Orleans.

Primary care veterinarian, Craig Lamarsh, DVM, of Southern Animal Foundation, examined Fiona and diagnosed her with hip dysplasia, a condition that occurs during the growth stage in dogs and involves the loosening of the hip joint, causing dysfunction and pain. He recommended total hip replacement surgery. Charles M. Walls, DVM, DACVS, professor of small animal surgery, performed a right-sided total hip replacement surgery in May 2021 at LSU Vet Med. Fiona was 11 months old.  

“The LSU vet team was so responsive, which isn’t always the case elsewhere. When Fiona needed more sedatives, they overnighted them to us and the medication arrived in time to help her,” she said.

Fiona was kenneled for eight weeks post-op. During her recovery, Deanna would sleep next to Fiona in her large kennel to comfort her and help her heal. Deanna put Fiona’s bed on rolling dollies so that she could move her from room to room, including in front of the TV. 

“Benji is her favorite movie. She really watches and follows along,” Deanna said.

Now, Fiona is able to jump up into Deanna’s truck and onto the bed

“She’s doing great! She gets to have a happy, active life now. I couldn’t ask for a better outcome,” Deanna said. 

LSU Vet Med’s total hip replacement team includes Alberto Gines, DVM, DECVS, assistant professor of small animal surgery; Karanvir Aulakh, BVSc & AH, DACVS, associate professor of small animal surgery; and Alissa St. Blanc, DVM (LSU 2016), DACVS, assistant professor of small animal surgery. Together, they have decades of experience performing total hip replacement surgery.

“I couldn’t euthanize a puppy. I had to give her a shot. I was determined that she wouldn’t pay for a breeder’s mistake. Fiona is a warrior princess, and now she will have a happy, active life,” Deanna said.

About LSU Vet Med: Bettering lives through education, public service, and discovery

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 33 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. LSU Vet Med is dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of animals and people through superior education, transformational research, and compassionate care. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.