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Hip Dysplasia in Cats

4 min read



Your cat may be treated on an outpatient basis as long as it does not require surgery. The decision for whether your cat will undergo surgery will depend on your cat's size and age. 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.


Weight control is an important aspect of recovery and is recommended to decrease the pressure applied to the painful joint as the cat moves. You and your veterinarian will need to work together to minimize any weight gain associated with reduced exercise during recovery.


There are four main surgeries that are recommended for hip dysplasia. These are triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO), juvenile pubic symphysiodesis (JPS), total hip replacement (THR) and excision arthroplasty (EA).


The TPO surgery rotates the socket for animals less than a year old. The juvenile pubic symphysiodesis surgery is performed on cats 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 cats that are not responding well to medical therapy, and that are suffering from severe osteoarthritis. Most cats 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 cats 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 cat's hip dysplasia. X-rays will be taken for comparison with previous x-rays. If your cat has undergone surgery, these x-rays will indicate the rate of post-surgical healing. If your cat is being treated as an outpatient only, the x-rays may indicate the rate of deterioration in the hip joint.


Because this condition is acquired genetically, if your cat has been effectively diagnosed with hip dysplasia, it should not be bred out, and the breeding pair that produced your cat should not be bred again.



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