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Hip Dysplasia Surgery in Dogs

Hip dysplasia is a painful condition that occurs when one or both of your dog's hips develop abnormally. Hip dysplasia can worsen over time if left untreated, severely limiting your dog's mobility. Our Gaithersburg veterinarians explain the three most effective surgeries for treating hip dysplasia in dogs in today's post.

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Dogs' hip joints function as a ball and socket. However, when hip dysplasia occurs, the ball and socket stop functioning properly. Hip dysplasia causes the ball and socket to grind and rub against each other rather than working together to provide comfortable movement. This causes further hip deterioration and eventual loss of function.

This condition causes pain in dogs, but it can also be difficult for pet owners to manage. It can be upsetting to see an otherwise healthy dog exhibit hip dysplasia symptoms.

Causes of Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is often a hereditary condition. Although it is seen in large and giant breed dogs, it can affect several smaller breeds too.

Hip dysplasia worsens over time if it is not treated. It may eventually affect both hips. Hip dysplasia in older dogs may be exacerbated by other painful conditions. The most common condition is osteoarthritis.

While hip dysplasia is usually inherited, other factors can aggravate the genetic predisposition. Obesity, rapid growth, and certain types of exercise can all contribute.

Can a dog live a normal life with hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia can cause a great amount of pain for your dog. While they can live, it will not be a 'normal' life. However, as long as the hip dysplasia is treated and is well taken care of at home, any dog with the condition should go on to lead a full and active life.

Signs That Your Dog May Have Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia usually appears around five months, but your puppy may not exhibit symptoms until they are in their middle or senior years. Keep an eye out for the following signs of hip dysplasia as your dog gets older:

  • Signs of discomfort or pain while exercising
  • Reluctance to exercise, or climb stairs
  • Their back legs are stiff when walking
  • Stiffness when running
  • Difficulties rising from a resting position
  • Loss of muscle tone in back legs or thighs
  • Grinding of the joint when moving
  • Lameness in the hind end
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Running with a 'bunny hop'

How Vets Diagnose Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

During your dog's wellness exams, your veterinarian will examine their physical health as well as the condition of their joints.

Your vet may move your pet's hind legs to listen for grinding noises, signs of pain, or a reduction in range of motion. If your vet thinks your dog has hip dysplasia, they may ask for blood tests to look for signs of inflammation. X-rays may also be useful to determine the severity of the hip dysplasia.

Can hip dysplasia in dogs be treated or cured?

Treatment options for dogs suffering from hip dysplasia range based on the severity of the condition, and may include lifestyle changes, pain meds, and surgery. Recovery from hip dysplasia surgery for dogs is usually around six weeks. The cost of hip dysplasia surgery in dogs also varies depending on the size of your dog and the severity of the condition. There are 3 dog hip dysplasia surgeries commonly used:

Femoral Head Osteotomy (FHO)

The femoral head (ball) of the hip joint is removed, and the body is then allowed to create a "false" joint. FHO surgery will not restore your dog's normal hip function, but it can be an effective way to manage the pain and discomfort that hip dysplasia causes.

Your dog's surgeon will give you specific instructions for caring for your pet after FHO surgery, but for at least 30 days, you must keep your dog away from strenuous physical activities. FHO surgery typically requires six weeks to recover. When your dog is fully healed, he or she will be able to resume normal physical activity.

Double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO or TPO)

Hip dysplasia in dogs under the age of 10 months is most commonly treated with double or triple pelvic osteotomy surgeries. DPO or TPO surgery involves cutting specific areas of the pelvic bone and rotating the segments to improve the ball and socket joint's function.

Physical rehabilitation (physiotherapy for dogs) is almost certainly required before full mobility is restored (although joint stability may improve in as little as four weeks). Your dog's recovery time after DPO or TPO surgery should be approximately four to six weeks.

Total Hip Replacement (THR)

For the surgical treatment of hip dysplasia in dogs, total hip replacement surgery is usually the first option. This surgery is usually recommended if the dog is in a lot of pain or is on the verge of becoming completely immobile.

THR is the most effective surgery, and it involves replacing the entire hip joint with plastic and metal implants. THR can help your dog's hip function return to normal and relieve most of the pain associated with hip dysplasia.

Total hip replacement is the most drastic and expensive treatment for hip dysplasia. The surgery is performed by a certified veterinary surgeon, and the artificial hip components are made specifically for your dog.

Expect a 12-week recovery period to allow for proper healing to take place. If your dog has hip dysplasia in both hips, surgery on one hip may be performed at a time, with a three-to-six-month gap between surgeries.

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.

If your dog is showing signs of hip dysplasia, contact Veterinary Referral Associates right away.

New Patients Welcome

Veterinary Referral Associates is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Gaithersburg companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact (301) 926-3300