When it comes to total hip replacement dog surgery, seeing is believing. Let's face it, when a dog goes from shuffling about in pain to leaping after a Frisbee (in the space of three months) for the concerned owner it's close to a miracle.
This article explains:
Both human and canine total hip replacement surgery share a lot in common. The idea is the same for both groups, which is to surgically replace a gronky, painful joint with an artificial one that moves as sweetly as an oiled ball-bearing.
Total hip replacement dog surgery is a specialist procedure, undertaken by vets with additional qualifications in orthopedic surgery. This usually means referral to a specialist center with the right facilities with specially trained vets and nurses.
The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint. The top of the thigh bone (femoral head) is a ball, which sits in a cup-shaped socket (the acetabulum) in the pelvis. The surgery replaces the damaged head with an implant and places a smooth lining in the socket. Once healed, this better-than-new joint moves smoothly and makes for pain-free play and exercise.
Pretty much any dog can be considered for hip replacement surgery, but with some provisos.
The first issue is the size of the implant. For very tiny or extremely large dogs there may not be an off-the-shelf canine implant to fit them. However, some specialists are breaking new ground by using CT-scan models to create one-off implants for non-standard sized patients.
The second proviso is the dog is well enough for a long general anesthetic and that they don't have a health problem (such as being obese or having a skin infection) which may cause complications.
Also, if the patient is taking certain medications, such as steroids, these may need to be weaned down ahead of surgery as they slow up healing.
Common reasons for total hip replacement dog surgery are severe hip dysplasia or advanced arthritis. When pain relief and physiotherapy stops helping, and the dog's quality of life suffers, then total hip replacement dog surgery may be the answer.
The factors that tip thinking towards surgery include:
These dogs are already under the care of a veterinarian, who will x-ray the hips to confirm the reason for their pain and discomfort. The vet may also run other tests to check the dog is fit enough for a long surgical procedure.
And last but not least, it is best that young dogs have finished growing before going to surgery. This is because the implant doesn't grow with the dog, and surgery at too young an age can lead to implant failure further down the line.
The average time from surgery to running off-leash is around four months. Within 24 - 48 hours post-surgery, the dog is gently encouraged to walk on the leg. This is followed by around six weeks with no strenuous activity and exercise limited to pottering on the lead to toilet. Then from six-weeks onwards, each patient works on an individual exercise plan designed to have them back on their paws by the 16-week mark.
Canine total hip replacement surgery has a great success rate of around 95%. However, no procedure is completely without risk, and THR is no different. Possible complications include:
Should there be a problem, the new hip may need to be removed and a salvage procedure performed. But the good news is this is relatively rare, affecting just 2.5-5% of all THR cases.
The cost of dog hip replacement surgery averages around $6,000. Pet insurance data tells us that the cheapest is around $4,000 but ranges as high as $10,000. But don't forget -this is per hip.
This cost is down to:
Yes, this is big cost but the benefits are huge, and for dogs in constant pain total hip replacement surgery is a totally paws-ome option. From constant pain to the joy of movement, canine total hip replacement can turn a pet's life around for the better.
The article was written by Pippa Elliot, BVMS