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Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery - Different Options

Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery - Different Options

Hip dysplasia is a painful and debilitating condition that can affect dogs of any breed. If your pup is suffering from this condition, there are several surgery options available that can help alleviate their painful symptoms and improve their mobility. In this blog, our vets in Tracy, will provide further information and guidance on this matter.

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Your dog's hip joints are designed to function as a smooth ball and socket system. However, hip dysplasia can cause the ball and socket to malfunction and grind against each other, leading to a gradual breakdown and loss of normal function. This condition can be extremely painful for your furry friend and, if left untreated, can significantly decrease their quality of life.

Causes of Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia is 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.

Although hip dysplasia is an inherited condition, certain factors can worsen the genetic predisposition and heighten the likelihood of its occurrence. These factors include improper weight and nutrition, excessive growth rate, and certain types of exercise. Additionally, obesity can exacerbate an existing case of hip dysplasia or even induce the condition by placing undue strain on a dog's joints.

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 often starts developing in puppies before they turn one, but it may not show up until they reach their middle or senior age. If you're worried about your pup experiencing hip dysplasia, keep an eye out for the following indications:

  • 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

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

Additionally, your vet may request a detailed health history of your pup, including any injuries and symptoms, which can be helpful in diagnosing hip dysplasia. Knowing your pet's lineage can also aid in diagnosis. If hip dysplasia is suspected, x-rays may be recommended to determine the severity of the condition and to chart a course of treatment.

Treatment Options for Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

If your dog is experiencing hip dysplasia, there are various treatment options to consider. These can include adjustments to their lifestyle or diet, as well as potential surgical procedures. Your veterinarian will collaborate with you to identify the optimal course of treatment for your furry friend and will provide a detailed explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Here are the three most prevalent types of hip dysplasia surgery for dogs, along with their approximate costs.

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. 

Femoral Head Ostectomy for dogs with hip dysplasia costs in the range of $1,200 to $2,500, including pre-surgical bloodwork, procedure, anesthesia, post-surgical care and medications.

Following FHO surgery, your dog may need to stay in the hospital for a few hours to several days, depending on their health and the complexity of the procedure. Your pet should avoid strenuous physical activity for 30 days after surgery to ensure proper healing. Most dogs typically take six weeks to recover and fully 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. The cost of DPO or TPO surgery for most dogs is in the range of $3,000 for both hips.

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)

If your furry companion has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, restoring their full mobility is a top priority. Total hip replacement (THR) is a common and highly successful treatment option. Through the use of plastic and metal implants, your dog's entire hip joint can be replaced, bringing them back to normal function and alleviating any discomfort related to hip dysplasia.

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 certified veterinary surgeons perform the surgery. The cost of a total hip replacement for your dog can be anywhere between $3,500 - $7,000 per hip.

If both of your pet's hips are affected (which is often the case), THR surgery can cost up to $14,000, including pre-surgical blood work, surgery, anesthesia and all medications.

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 Your Veterinarian Can Help You

Discovering that your dog has hip dysplasia can be devastating. This condition is not only painful for your pet, but it can also be financially stressful for you due to the costly surgical options available. If you find yourself struggling with decisions about your dog's treatment for hip dysplasia, it's best to have an open and honest conversation with your veterinarian.

Your vet may be able to suggest a treatment plan or a combination of options that fit within your budget and can effectively reduce your pet's hip pain, speed up recovery and improve 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.

If your furry friend has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, our team of veterinarians at Tracy are available to provide a consultation for your dog. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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