Osteoarthritis in dogs is a serious matter, especially when it onsets early because of conditions like hip dysplasia. In especially severe cases of joint pain and lost mobility in dogs, you may hear your vet recommend a total hip replacement (THR) as a treatment option. Here, our Torrance vets explain what dog owners should know about total hip replacements.
The Cause of Hip Replacement Procedures in Dogs
Total hip replacements (also called THR) are one of a number of surgeries a veterinarian can perform on a dog that is affected by joint pain, especially osteoarthritis.
In particular, osteoarthritis caused by and/or contributed to by hip dysplasia will often cause a dog to be a candidate for this procedure.
Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
Your dog’s hip joint works as a ball and socket. If your pooch is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, the ball and socket that make up their hip have not developed properly and are not functioning as they are supposed to. Instead, the ball and socket grind and rub against each other, leading to continued breakdown, pain, and eventual loss in the function of the affected hip.
In dogs, hip dysplasia is predominantly a hereditary condition, with genetics being the leading contributor to the development of the condition.
If hip dysplasia is left untreated in the early stages, it will likely continue to worsen with age and affect both hips. Hip dysplasia may also be compounded by other painful conditions such as osteoarthritis in senior dogs.
The Dog Hip Replacement Procedure
In many instances, total hip replacement is the best choice for treating your dog's hip dysplasia using surgery since it is generally the most effective form of treatment.
THR involves the removal of both the ball and socket of one or more of your dog's hip joints, replacing them with metal or plastic implants in order to return your pup's hip function to a normal range and remove most of their pain or discomfort.
Because THR is so drastic and invasive, most vets will only recommend this procedure to dogs that are either experiencing extreme physical pain, have lost their mobility, or both. Before the procedure, your vet will conduct a number of diagnostic imaging sessions on your dog to get an accurate idea of your pup's hip size, dimensions and shape, so that they can order custom-made implants to replace your dog's hips. Generally speaking, the procedure itself is performed by a certified veterinary surgeon because of its invasiveness and complexity.
The Cost of Total Hip Replacement Procedures in Dogs
Because THR is the most drastic, invasive and complex of the surgeries that can be used to treat hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis, since it involves anesthesia, lots of pre-operative bloodwork and post-operative monitoring, and because it generally needs to be performed by a certified veterinary surgeon, it is usually the most expensive treatment option as well.
While the precise cost of a total hip replacement for your dog will depend on a lot of factors including where you live, your dg's size and breed, and their individual healthcare situation, this surgery will deliver the best outcomes for dogs with severe joint pain caused by hip dysplasia, but will also be on the higher end of cost when it comes to treatment planning.
Recovery From Total Hip Replacements in Dogs
Total hip replacement surgery usually takes about two to three hours, and your dog may need to be hospitalized for one to three days following surgery. Expect a 12-week recovery period. Even if your dog's hip dysplasia appears in both hips, surgery may only be performed on one hip at a time, allowing between 3 - 6 months or recovery time between surgeries.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.