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Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery: Diagnosis & Options

Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery: Diagnosis & Options

Dogs of any breed can experience discomfort and pain due to hip dysplasia. Thankfully, various surgical procedures can relieve your pup's symptoms and allow them to move around freely once more. Our vets at Lincoln can provide additional information on this issue.

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Your dog's hip joints are meant to move smoothly together, like a ball and socket system. Unfortunately, if your pet struggles with hip dysplasia, this natural process may not develop correctly. The ball and socket can start to rub and grind against each other, causing a gradual breakdown and loss of typical function. This can result in pain and a lower quality of life for your furry friend. It's crucial to seek treatment for this condition as soon as possible to ensure the comfort and well-being of your dog.

Causes of Canine Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a prevalent ailment among dogs, particularly larger breeds. The development of the condition is heavily influenced by genetics and tends to deteriorate as the dog ages. Typically, both hips are affected, and the situation can be aggravated by osteoarthritis in older dogs. Though it is an inherited condition, certain factors, such as poor weight and nutritional management, rapid growth, and specific forms of exercise, can raise the risk of its development. Additionally, obesity can exacerbate an existing condition or even cause hip dysplasia by placing abnormal pressure on the dog's joints.

Dog Breeds With a High Risk of Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a prevalent skeletal condition that can affect not only giant or large breed dogs but also smaller breeds. Some of the breeds that are commonly affected are St. Bernards, Rottweilers, retrievers, bulldogs, mastiffs, French bulldogs, and pugs. To prevent hip dysplasia, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian about the appropriate amount of daily exercise and the ideal diet for your dog. This is because diet and exercise play a vital role in developing hip dysplasia.

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hip dysplasia usually starts to develop in puppies under a year old, but its symptoms may not show until the dog reaches its middle to senior years. If you suspect that your pup is experiencing the discomfort of hip dysplasia, look out for the following warning signs:

  • Reluctance to exercise, run, jump, or climb stairs
  • Back legs are stiff when walking or running
  • Difficulties rising from a resting position
  • Loss of muscle tone in back legs
  • Grating or grinding in the joint when moving
  • Hind end lameness
  • Poor range of motion
  • Running with a bunny hop

If your pup is showing any of the symptoms listed above, contact your veterinarian to schedule an examination for your pet.

Diagnosing Hip Dysplasia

During your dog's annual check-up, the veterinarian will examine them for any indications of hip dysplasia. This involves moving their hind legs to identify any grinding, painful sensations, or limited range of motion in the joint. If the veterinarian suspects your pet may have hip dysplasia, they may suggest blood tests to detect any inflammation. 

The veterinarian may also ask for your dog's health history, including a list of symptoms and any injuries that may have caused them. Knowing your pet's lineage can also help determine if hip dysplasia is the issue. 

If hip dysplasia is suspected, X-rays may be necessary to evaluate the severity of the condition and determine the best course of treatment.

Treatment Options for Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

If your dog is suffering from hip dysplasia, several treatment options are available. Your vet will work with you to determine the most suitable option for your pet, taking into account their individual needs and circumstances.

Treatment may involve making changes to your dog's lifestyle or diet, or in some cases, surgery may be required.

There are three common types of surgery for hip dysplasia in dogs, each with its own pros and cons. Your vet can provide you with detailed information about these options, including the approximate cost of each.

Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

Hip dysplasia is a condition that can affect dogs of any age, but FHO surgery can be a beneficial solution. During this procedure, the femoral head of the hip joint is removed, creating a "false" joint that can alleviate pain and discomfort. While FHO surgery may not restore normal hip function, it can certainly improve the overall quality of life for dogs with hip dysplasia.

FHO surgery typically costs $1,200 to $2,500, including pre-surgical bloodwork, the procedure itself, anesthesia, post-surgical care, and medications. Depending on the dog's health and other factors, they may need to remain in the hospital for several hours or days after surgery. Dogs need to avoid strenuous physical activity for at least 30 days after surgery, but most dogs make a full recovery within six weeks and can resume normal physical activity.

Double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO)

A surgery called DPO or TPO is often performed on dogs who are less than 10 months old to improve their ball and socket joint. This procedure involves cutting certain parts of the pelvic bone and rotating them. The cost of having both hips operated on is typically around $3,000. Following the surgery, your dog may require several weeks to walk without discomfort, and physiotherapy may be necessary to regain full mobility. However, you may see an improvement in joint stability within four weeks. Generally, dogs take 4-6 weeks to recover from DPO or TPO surgery fully.

Total Hip Replacement (THR)

If your pet is suffering from hip dysplasia, a total hip replacement (THR) may be the most effective solution to help them regain their mobility. This procedure involves replacing the damaged hip joint with metal and plastic implants, which can greatly reduce your pet's discomfort and restore their normal hip function.

However, it is only recommended if your pet is in extreme pain and almost immobile, as it is an expensive and drastic option. The artificial components are tailored to your pet, and only certified veterinary surgeons can perform the procedure. The cost of a total hip replacement for one hip ranges from $3,500 to $7,000, and if both hips are affected, the cost can increase to $14,000, including pre-surgical blood work, anesthesia, and all medications.

The surgery typically lasts between 2 to 3 hours, and your pet may need to stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 days after the procedure. A 12-week recovery period is necessary for proper healing, and if both hips are affected, the surgeon may only operate on one hip at a time, with a 3 to 6 month interval between procedures.

How Your Veterinarian Can Help You

Discovering that your dog has hip dysplasia can be a heartbreaking experience. This condition is not only excruciatingly painful for your furry friend, but it can also put a financial strain on you due to the costly surgical options available. If you struggle with decisions regarding treating your dog's hip dysplasia, it is important to have an honest and open conversation with your veterinarian. Your vet may be able to suggest a treatment or combination of treatments within your financial means that can help relieve your dog's hip pain, aid in recovery, and enhance hip functionality.

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

Has your dog been diagnosed with hip dysplasia? Contact our Lincoln specialty vets today to book a consultation for your dog. 

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