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Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery

If your pooch is showing signs of hip dysplasia such as pain or discomfort when exercising, it’s important to get checked right away. In this post, our Hattiesburg and Wiggins vets describe symptoms and causes of the condition in dogs, plus surgical options.

What is hip dysplasia in dogs?

We often see this common skeletal condition in giant or large breed dogs, although smaller breeds can also suffer from this condition.

A dog’s hip joint works as a ball and socket. In dogs that experience hip dysplasia, this ball and socket do not develop or function properly.

Instead, they grind and rub, which can lead to breakdown over time and eventual loss in the function of this important joint.

What causes canine hip dysplasia?

As you might imagine, this condition is painful and if not treated, can drastically reduce the quality of life for your dog. It’s also difficult to watch as physical symptoms appear in once-healthy dogs.

Hip dysplasia is inherited, and genetics plays an important role in its development in dogs, especially in larger breeds like mastiffs, St. Bernards, Rottweilers, retrievers, and bulldogs. Smaller breeds such as French bulldogs and pugs are also susceptible.

This condition can worsen with age and affect both hips (bilateral). It may be exacerbated by osteoarthritis and associated pain in senior dogs.

Which breeds are prone to canine hip dysplasia?

Though the disorder is hereditary, several variables, including as poor weight and nutrition, a rapid development rate, and certain types of exercise, can intensify the genetic predisposition to the condition and raise the likelihood of it developing. Obesity puts undue strain on your dog's joints, which can aggravate an existing issue or potentially lead to hip dysplasia.

The condition most commonly affects giant and large breed dogs, but hip dysplasia can occur in any breed or size of the dog. This is partly why it’s important to consult your vet regarding the right amount of exercise your dog requires each day and what their ideal diet should contain.

What are the symptoms of hip dysplasia?

While hip dysplasia can start to develop in puppies as young as five months old, it may not appear until they reach their senior years. As with many other conditions, every dog is different. In many cases, owners notice it in pooches that are middle-aged or older.

Watch for these symptoms of hip dysplasia in your pup:

  • Signs of discomfort or pain while exercising (or a reluctance to exercise, run, jump or climb stairs)
  • Their back legs are stiff when he walks
  • Stiffness when running or rising from a resting position
  • Loss of muscle tone in back legs or thighs
  • Grating or grinding of the joint when he moves
  • Lameness in the hind end
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Running with a bunny hop

Your veterinarian will examine your dog's physical health and condition during routine physical exams. The vet may adjust your dog's rear legs to detect any grinding, unpleasant feelings, or restricted range of motion in the joint. There may be blood tests as a complete blood count can suggest inflammation as a result of joint illness.

You should also be prepared to give your vet your dog's medical history, a list of his specific symptoms, and any injuries that may have resulted in them. Knowing your dog's ancestry is also beneficial. Along with these, your veterinarian will usually take an x-ray or radiograph to determine the severity of hip dysplasia in your dog and plan a treatment plan.

What are treatment options for hip dysplasia in dogs?

Treatment options for dogs suffering from hip dysplasia could range from changes to lifestyle or diet to surgery. These are the three most common types of hip dysplasia surgery, along with costs:

Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

This form of surgery, which involves removing the femoral head (ball) of the hip joint, can benefit both young and mature dogs. The body then builds a "false" joint, which alleviates the pain associated with hip dysplasia. While your dog will not regain normal hip function, it can be a useful pain management strategy.

The cost of an FHO surgery can vary, but usually incorporates the surgery itself and pre-surgical bloodwork, procedure, anesthesia, post-surgical care, and medications.

Depending on his health, the surgery, and other factors, your dog may need to stay in the hospital for several hours to several days following surgery. For the first 30 days after surgery, avoid strenuous physical activity. Most dogs will fully recover six weeks after surgery and will be able to resume physical activity.

Double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO)

This veterinary surgery, which is most commonly performed on dogs under 10 months old, involves cutting the pelvic bone in specific locations and rotating its segments, resulting in an improved ball and socket joint.

Your dog may need several weeks before he can walk comfortably again, and he will need ongoing physiotherapy to regain full mobility (though you may observe joint stability improving after four weeks). The majority of dogs will recover in four to six weeks.

Total Hip Replacement (THR)

This option is often the first choice as it is the most effective surgical procedure for hip dysplasia in dogs. It involves using plastic and metal implants to replace the whole joint, which brings hip function back to a more normal range and eliminates most hip dysplasia-related discomfort.

A THP surgery is a drastic option and the most expensive, typically taken when the dog in question is in considerable pain and nearly completely immobile. Artificial components must be custom-made for your pooch and the surgery is performed by certified veterinary surgeons. Cost can be anywhere between $3,500 per hip to approximately twice that - $7,000.

If your dog is bilaterally affected (which many are), the cost of surgery can vary, but it usually incorporates the surgery itself and pre-surgical bloodwork, procedure, anesthesia, post-surgical care, and medications..

The surgery usually takes about two to three hours, and your pup may need to be hospitalized for one to three days following surgery. To ensure proper healing after hip dysplasia surgery, expect a 12-week recovery period for your dog. Though hip dysplasia usually appears in both hips, surgery may only be performed on one hip at a time, allowing a three-to-six-month gap between procedures.

Hearing that your dog has hip dysplasia is distressing because the illness is painful and can severely limit mobility. It may also raise financial concerns because surgical options can have a financial impact. Your veterinarian, on the other hand, may be able to prescribe a treatment choice or a combination of treatments to assist your dog in recovering and regaining hip function.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your dog is suffering from hip dysplasia? Our veterinarians at Holland Veterinary Hospitals in Hattiesburg and Wiggins have experience in identifying many conditions and illnesses in dogs. Book an appointment today.

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Holland Veterinary Hospitals in Hattiesburg and Wiggins are accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of all animals. Get in touch today to book an appointment with our experienced vets.

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