Dog Hip Surgery

"Dog hip surgery is recommended after alternative approaches fail to achieve the desired quality of life. There are three types of surgery that differ based on removing either part or the entire hip. Recovery rates are high for the surgery with over 90% of dogs having 100% restoration of movement after total hip replacement."

Dogs most often need hip surgery due to hip dysplasia, an abnormal formation of the hip joint. The hip joint is a "ball and socket" joint in which the "ball" of the femur (thigh bone) fits into the "socket" of the acetabulum (part of the pelvic bone). These are supposed to fit together snuggly, but with hip dysplasia, the fit is loose.

There are a number of types of dog hip surgery that can be done to correct this condition, depending on the age of the dog, the degree and severity of the condition, and other factors.

Both hips are usually not operated on at the same time. Surgery for each hip is separated by 3 to 4 months. Surgery on just one side might improve function enough to avoid a second surgery.

Before surgery is considered your veterinarian will try other approaches such as:

* weight loss
* reduced exercise
* anti-inflammatory drugs
* cartilage helping agents such as PetAlive Muscle & Joint Support Formula

If medications are not enough, then surgery will be recommended.

Triple Pelvis Osteotomy

This dog hip surgery is performed on young dogs, age 8 - 18 months old. In this surgery, the ill-fitting acetabulum is sawed free from the rest of the pelvic bone. It is repositioned for a snugger fit with the femur, and then a plate is surgically placed to attach it back to the pelvis bone. The surgery is called a triple pelvis osteotomy because three cuts are made to free the acetabulum from the pelvis.

In some cases, this surgery only has to be performed on one hip, not both. Performing it on one side can lead to positive changes on the other side. In other cases, surgery will be necessary on both hips.

Following this surgery, exercise must be restricted for three to four months while the dog recovers.

Femoral Excision or Femoral Head Osteotomy

In this dog hip surgery, the "ball" part of the hip joint is removed. Pain is caused by the thigh bone rubbing against the acetabulum; bone on bone contact is not supposed to happen, and is very painful. So removing the "ball" part of the joint eliminates that pain. A piece of muscle or joint tissue is placed between the femur and the acetabulum. This causes scar tissue to form, which in turn supports the leg.

This surgery is not recommended for dogs over 50 pounds, as the scar tissue in not strong enough to support their weight. More active dogs will recover more quickly than sedentary dogs.

Ask your surgeon about success rates with this approach as your dog may only regain 75 to 80 percent of function. In larger dogs this might result in a unusual gait or lameness type appearance.

Total Hip Replacement

This dog hip surgery is commonly performed for dogs with hip dysplasia and severe arthritis, and may also be performed for poorly healed fractures of either the "ball" or the "socket." In this surgery, the "ball" of the hip joint is replaced with stainless steel and the "socket" is replaced with high density plastic. The prosthetic (artificial hip) is either cemented in place or the bone is allowed to grow and hold the pieces together.

Dogs must be full grown in order to have this surgery - at least 12 months of age.

Surgery may be done on one side or both sides. If surgery is needed on both sides, usually only one side is done at a time.

Following this surgery, exercise must be restricted for three to four months while the dog recovers. In 90%+ of cases your dog can return to normal activity and will make a 100% recovery.

The cost of dog hip replacement surgery is generally between $4,000 to $5,000. The hip device itself costs $1,500.

You dog should be able to recover completely in 13 - 16 weeks.

Complications of Dog Hip Surgery

Most complications occur within 3 months after surgery. Risk of infection can be minimized through post surgery monitoring and the use of antibiotics. Dislocation of the bones that were set in place could also occur (luxation).

Your veterinarian may recommend a sling to control the rear of your dog and leash walking to minimize extreme movements.