Canine Hip Replacement Surgery

A canine hip replacement surgery may be necessary if your dog suffers from major arthritis problems or a severe case of hip dysplasia. The other common reason that this type of surgery is performed is in the case of major injury or trauma. Hip replacement surgery is a very invasive, painful and expensive procedure that requires ample healing time and may leave your pet permanently maimed. However, it can also provide pain relief and added mobility to dogs that are in certain debilitating health situations. Read on for a brief overview to this type of canine surgery and how it can benefit your pet.

Hip Replacement Surgery Overview

Hip replacement surgery is designed to repair and replace the ball and socket joint that connects your pet's hind legs to his hips. In most cases, the damaged ball and socket joint is replaced with components made from high density plastic or from steel, or sometimes from a combination of both. This surgery is known as a total hip replacement, or THR. There are also more mild forms of surgery as well, such as those designed to replace either the ball or the socket. Work can also be done on other parts of the hips individually to help repair and strengthen them.

Canine Hip Replacement Procedural Details

If you suspect that your pet may benefit from a hip replacement surgery, the first step is to consult with your veterinarian. You'll need to conclusively determine the cause of your pet's injury or debilitation. Hip replacement surgery is generally only advised in cases in which it is likely that the surgery will provide a dramatic increase in mobility or comfort. It is also not usually recommended for older dogs.

Prior to the surgery, you'll need to prepare your home for your pet, who will be very immobile for the recovery period after the surgery. Many vets recommend using a small cart to help your pet to carry the rear part of his body. The surgery itself typically requires several days in the hospital. Afterward, you'll need to monitor your pet closely to ensure that his incisions and wounds remain clean and free of infection. Your vet will also need to ensure that the replacement hip has been added properly and that your pet doesn't suffer additional complications. Pain medicine and antibiotic regimens are very common during this time as well. Gradually, you'll be able to help your pet to begin to walk again, with the help of physical therapy.

Complications to a Canine Hip Replacement

There are complications on roughly one out of ten hip replacement surgeries, making this overall a very successful procedure. However, your pet does run the risk of certain complications, including:

  • Femur damage
  • Dislocation of the new hip
  • Damage to the existing hip bones
  • Secondary infection
  • Tumor growth

Because of the potential for complication, you'll need to work closely with your vet to monitor your pet's overall health after his surgery. This will ensure that the hip replacement surgery works only to improve your pet's quality of life.