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Hip Dysplasia Surgery in Dogs

If your pup is showing signs of pain or discomfort while walking they could be suffering from a hip issue. Here, our vets in Cumming share important information about the causes and symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs and how veterinary surgery can treat this condition.

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Your pup’s hip joints are a natural ball and socket system that should function smoothly together. If your dog is suffering from hip dysplasia, the ball and socket fail to develop or function as they should. Instead of working together smoothly, the two parts grind and rub together, leading to a gradual breakdown and eventual loss of normal function. As you can imagine, this condition is painful and if not treated, can drastically reduce the quality of life for your dog.

Causes of Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia is generally hereditary, genetics being the leading contributor to the development of the condition in dogs, especially in larger breeds. Hip dysplasia in dogs typically continues to become worse with age, and will often affect both hips (bilateral). The pain and other symptoms of this condition may be exacerbated by osteoarthritis in older dogs.

Though the condition is inherited, some factors can amplify the genetic predisposition to the condition and increase the risk that it will develop, such as improper weight and nutrition, excessive growth rate and types of exercise. Obesity can aggravate a pre-existing condition or even be a contributing factor in the development of hip dysplasia due to abnormal stress put on the joints by excess weight.

Dog Breeds With a High Risk of Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common skeletal condition, often seen in giant or large breed dogs, however, it can also affect smaller breeds. Some breeds that are commonly affected include mastiffs, St. Bernards, Rottweilers, retrievers and bulldogs. Smaller breeds that can be susceptible to hip dysplasia include French bulldogs and pugs.

Because diet and exercise can play a role in the development of hip dysplasia it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian regarding the right amount of daily exercise for your dog and what their ideal diet should contain.

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hip dysplasia typically begins to develop in puppies under a year old, but does not become apparent until the dog reaches their middle to senior years. If you are concerned that your pup may be feeling the pain of hip dysplasia watch for the following 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 pooch is showing any of the symptoms listed above, contact your veterinarian to schedule an examination for your pet.

Diagnosing Hip Dysplasia

Even during routine annual examinations, your veterinarian will check your dog for signs of hip dysplasia by moving your pup’s hind legs to help detect any grinding, painful sensations or reduced range of motion in the joint. If your vet suspects that your pet could have hip dysplasia they may recommend blood tests to look for signs of inflammation.

Your vet may also request that you provide a health history of your pup including a detailed list of symptoms and any injuries that may have caused them. Knowing your pet’s lineage can also be helpful in the diagnosis of hip dysplasia.

If hip dysplasia is suspected X-rays may be recommended to determine the severity of the condition and to help chart a course of action for treatment.

Will my dog live a normal life with hip dysplasia?

With proper management of the condition, your dog should live a full and comfortable life. This includes receiving proper treatment like surgery, weight management and daily exercise.

Can hip dysplasia be cured?

Hip dysplasia in dogs can be treated using medications, dietary changes and surgical procedures. In some cases, your vet may recommend a combination of all three to treat the issue and help manage any pain or inflammation that your dog may be experiencing. Below we go into more detail related to each of the different types of hip surgery and what to expect during recovery.

Treatment Options for Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Common treatment options for dogs suffering from hip dysplasia can range from changes to lifestyle or diet to surgery. Your vet will work with you to determine the best treatment for your pet and will be able to outline the pros and cons of each treatment option.

Below are three of the most common types of hip dysplasia surgery for dogs.

Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

Dogs of any age can benefit from FHO surgery. This surgical treatment for hip dysplasia entails removing the femoral head (ball) of the hip joint, allowing the body to create a “false” joint. FHO can help to decrease the discomfort related to hip dysplasia, although normal hip function is unlikely to be restored. 

After FHO surgery, your dog could need to remain in the hospital for anywhere between several hours and several days, depending on their overall health, the surgery, and other factors. It will be necessary for your pet to avoid strenuous physical activity for about 30 days after surgery. Most dogs will completely recover about six weeks following the operation and should be able to resume physical activity.

Double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO)

Typically performed on dogs younger than 10 months old, this surgery involves cutting the pelvic bone in specific locations and rotating the individual segments, resulting in an improvement of the ball and socket joint. 

Following this surgery, it will be several weeks before your dog will be able to walk comfortably, and physical rehabilitation (physiotherapy) will likely be necessary for full mobility to return (although you may notice joint stability improve within four weeks). Most dogs will recover from DPO or TPO surgery within 4 - 6 weeks.

Total Hip Replacement (THR)

When it comes to restoring full function to dogs suffering from hip dysplasia total hip replacement (THR) is often the first and most effective treatment option. THR involves using plastic and metal implants to replace your pup's entire hip joint. In many cases, THR can restore your pup's normal hip function and eliminate most hip dysplasia-related discomfort.

That said, THP surgery is a drastic option and the most expensive, typically taken if your pet is in considerable pain and nearly completely immobile. The artificial components must be custom-made for your dog and the surgery is performed by certified veterinary surgeons.

THR surgery generally takes between 2 - 3 hours to complete, and your pet will likely need to be hospitalized for 1 - 3 days following surgery. To ensure proper healing, expect a 12-week recovery period. Even if hip dysplasia is evident in both of your dog's hips this surgery may only be performed on one hip at a time, allowing a 3 - 6 month gap between procedures.

How much does hip dysplasia surgery cost?

The cost of surgery for dogs with hip dysplasia varies widely across the country, and even between hospitals relatively close to one another.

Factors that play a role in the cost of this therapeutic surgery include the size of your dog, their overall health status, what bloodwork is required, the procedure being performed, components required, the cost of anesthesia, what post-surgical care and medications are required, and more.

If you are concerned about how much your pet's surgery will cost, ask our veterinary surgeon in Cumming for a detailed estimate. This will give you the most accurate estimate and allow you to ask any questions you may have.

How Veterinary Surgery in Cumming Can Help

We know that it can be nerve-wracking when your pup is experincing a painful condition and requires surgery. Rest assured that we recommend surgery only when it is in the best interests of your pet.

Our team will ensure that you fully understand why we are recommending surgery and that you are comfortable deciding to move ahead.

If your animal requires advanced care, our vets will refer you to a veterinary surgeon, and work closely with your vet surgeon to ensure that your pet receives the best possible care.

At Crestview Animal Hospital, our vets are dedicated to helping your pet live a long and healthy life. This includes recommending that your dog have surgery at our hospital in Cumming to manage and treat painful conditions that can impact their quality of life.

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.

Is your dog limping or showing any signs of pain? Contact our Cumming vets today to schedule an examination for your pup.

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Crestview Animal Hospital is always welcoming new patients! Our Cumming vets provide veterinary services designed to promote good health and longevity. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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