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Hip Dysplasia in Dogs





Your dog may be treated for hip dysplasia on an outpatient basis as long as it does not require surgery. The decision for whether your dog will undergo surgery will depend on your dog's size, age, and intended function (i.e., whether your dog is a working dog, as many large breeds tend to be). It will also depend on the severity of joint looseness, degree of osteoarthritis, your veterinarian's preference for treatment, and your own financial considerations. Physiotherapy (passive joint motion) can decrease joint stiffness and help maintain muscle integrity. Swimming is an excellent form of physical therapy, encouraging joint and muscle activity without increasing the severity of joint injury.


Weight control is an important aspect of recovery and is recommended to decrease the pressure applied to the painful joint as the dog moves. You and your veterinarian will need to work together to minimize any weight gain associated with reduced exercise during recovery. Special diets designed for rapidly growing large-breed dogs may decrease the severity of hip dysplasia.


The TPO surgery rotates the socket for dogs less than a year old. The juvenile pubic symphysiodesis surgery is performed on dogs that are younger than six months, fusing part of the pelvis together to improve hip joint stability. A total hip replacement is done in mature dogs that are not responding well to medical therapy and that are suffering from severe osteoarthritis. Most dogs will handle this type of surgery, with acceptable hip function after the recovery period. Excision arthroplasty is performed when hip replacement surgery is cost-prohibitive. In this surgery the ball of the hip joint is removed, leaving muscles to act as the joint. This surgery works best for dogs weighing less than 44 pounds, and for dogs with good hip musculature.


Your veterinarian may also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and inflammation, along with pain medications for lessening the severity of the pain.


Living and Management


Your veterinarian will schedule follow-up appointments with you to monitor any changes in your dog's hip dysplasia. X-rays will be taken for comparison with previous x-rays. If your dog has undergone surgery, these x-rays will indicate the rate of post-surgical healing. If your dog is being treated as an outpatient only, the x-rays may indicate the rate of deterioration in the hip joint.


If your dog has been effectively diagnosed with hip dysplasia, it should not be bred out, and the dam and sire (the parents) of your pet should not be bred again, since this condition is often acquired genetically. Special diets designed for rapidly-growing large-breed dogs may decrease severity of hip dysplasia.



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