Surgery for Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that affects the development of the hips of primarily medium and large-breed dogs, although any size can be affected. It occurs when the developing hip joints don’t fit together as they should, such as if the socket is too shallow or the ball element of the joint hasn’t formed properly. Hip dysplasia can be very painful and debilitating for those dogs who suffer from it. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help. If your dog has severe hip dysplasia, surgery may be recommended to help improve its quality of life.


Signs of Canine Hip Dysplasia


You will need to visit your veterinarian to have a diagnosis of canine hip dysplasia confirmed. Some of the key symptoms that dogs with hip dysplasia experience include:

  • Difficulty transferring between lying, sitting, and standing up

  • Limping/lameness

  • Wobbling or swaying when they walk

  • Hips appear to be skinny: a sign of weak and small muscles in the back legs and hips

  • Difficulty going up or down the stairs

  • Stiffness

  • Obvious pain in their hips

  • Less interest in activity/exercise


Exactly when your dog will start to develop signs of hip dysplasia can vary. Some dogs will be able to manage their condition well until they reach their senior years and develop other issues, such as arthritis, that affect their hips.


Diagnosing canine hip dysplasia requires several different elements. These include a physical examination, blood testing to check for signs of internal inflammation, and screening of your dog’s hips in the form of an x-ray.


What’s Involved in Surgery for Canine Hip Dysplasia?


If your dog is referred for surgery for hip dysplasia, there are three main surgical options that are available. Your vet will be able to advise you which your pet will need.


Femoral Head Ostectomy


Also known as FHO surgery, this procedure involves the removal of the ball of the hip joint, called the femoral head. This allows the body to create a false joint, that will ease the discomfort that your dog experiences as a result of their hip dysplasia. However, this procedure will not restore normal hip function.


Double or Triple Pelvic Osteotomy


Usually performed in very young dogs, this procedure, which is also referred to as a DPO or TPO, involves cutting the pelvic bone at specific points. The segments are then rotated so that the ball and socket joint works more smoothly and efficiently.


Total Hip Replacement


The most effective surgery for treating canine hip dysplasia is a total hip replacement. As the name suggests, this is where the entire hip joint is removed and is replaced with metal and plastic implants that perform the same movement. A total hip replacement is a serious surgery, but it can restore a good deal of function to the joint and give your dog better quality of life, while also eliminating most of their discomfort.



If your dog is suffering from canine hip dysplasia and you would like more information about surgical treatment, don’t hesitate to speak to our knowledgeable veterinary team in Oviedo, FL at (321) 348-6300.


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