An Overview of Canine Hip Dysplasia Surgery

Canine hip dysplasia is caused by the sublaxation, or separation, of the pelvic bone and the femur at the joint. When the connective tissues that cushion and lubricate the ball-and-socket joint of the hip grow to excess, dog hip dysplasia forms. Canine hip dysplasia is a relatively common disease in certain breeds of dogs, and hip displasia treatment is a viable option for pets suffering from this painful and degenerative disease.

Hip dysplasia is most often found in large breeds of dogs, although it may occur in dogs of all sizes. Signs of dysplasia may present themselves in puppies as young as 6 months, although dysplasia is more common in older dogs.

Symptoms and Risk Factors of Canine Hip Dysplasia

The first step toward correcting hip dysplasia with canine hip replacement or other surgery is detecting the disease. The following are some of the most frequently noted signs of hip dysplasia in dogs:

  • Pain during activity
  • Immobility during and after activity
  • Altered gait
  • Stiffness
  • Sensitivity to early mornings and cold weather

Although larger breeds tend to be predisposed to canine hip dysplasia, the disease is passed down genetically through all breeds. If your pet's parents suffered from hip dysplasia, your pet has a greater chance of developing the disease.

If your dog shows any of the symptoms of canine hip dysplasia, have him examined by a veterinarian. A typical veterinary exam for dysplasia will consist of a physical exam and x-rays.

Correcting Hip Dysplasia With Surgery

There are a variety of surgical treatment procedures to correct canine hip dysplasia. For young dogs, juvenile pubic symphysiodesis helps to correct hip dysplasia before the condition progresses by surgically fusing the bones of the hip joint.

A triple pelvic osteotomy may be the best option for a dog with bone damage but no severe joint troubles. In this procedure, the bones of the hip joint are broken and reset to correct the joint separation. This is a more invasive surgery than symphysiodesis and is also quite expensive, but success rates are very high.

In older dogs, a canine hip replacement may be a viable option. This procedure replaces the defective joint or joints with prosthetic hip joints. If both hips require replacement, the surgery will typically be conducted in two stages. This procedure is also quite expensive, but very successful.

A final surgical option is femoral head ostectomy, in which the femur alone is replaced with a prosthetic joint. This treatment works best on smaller dogs or dogs for which a full hip replacement is not feasible.

Most dogs that undergo surgical treatment for canine hip dysplasia recover without setbacks. Although these surgeries are expensive and require extended periods of rest and recuperation, they generally improve a dog's quality of life immensely, and oftentimes allow for years of additional mobility. Your veterinarian can advise you as to which of these surgeries will be best appropriate for your dog.