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Hip Surgery

Has your pet been diagnosed with congenital hip dysplasia? Have you been told that TOTAL HIP REPLACEMENT is the ONLY method of dealing with his pain? Does your dog have a luxated hip joint and you don't know what to do?

Young dogs with congenital hip dysplasia have poorly developed hip joints. If caught early enough, a procedure called triple (or double) pelvic osteotomy can be performed that can restore most function to the hip.

Most dogs that have been diagnosed with hip dysplasia have had it for a long time. Rarely does hip dysplasia become a problem overnight unless the hip has popped out of the joint or the ligament holding it in has ruptured. Dogs tend to tolerate the slowly developing pain associated with hip problems as they grow older, and it seems most of it settles out around 5 years of age. So if your dog SUDDENLY becomes lame, there is a good chance it is not the hip and more likely the knee that is causing the problem.

So what can be done for a chronic hip problem?  The easiest treatments are to use nonsteroidal pain medication, weight loss, and good exercise (www.fhoguide.com, www.thrguide.com). If this does not work, there is also laser therapy that may help. See a veterinarian and make sure that the hip is in fact the problem, and it does not involve something else, usually the knee. Mayo Veterinary Services also offers stem cell therapy that has shown remarkable results in many patients. 

If your dog does have painful hip dysplasia, your veterinarian may recommend total hip replacement. While this restores function to the limb and reduces pain, it does not make your dog "bionic" or capable of doing things he could not once do. Hip replacement joints can be damaged and come out of the socket leading to more surgery. Hip replacements can also become infected.

It is possible to surgically deaden the nerves going to the hip joint. This is a procedure called capsular denervation. An incision is made over the hip, and the nerves are shaved off of the hip joint. This will allow your dog to run with much less pain, but does not restore functionality to the joint. The joint is still dysplastic, or poorly developed. Additionally, I often perform platelet therapy on these joints in an attempt to get the body to accelerate some healing. To date, I have found the results from this procedure remarkable.

Femoral head ostectomy is often recommended as a way to deal with hip dysplasia. This involves removing the entire hip joint. It does remove the pain, but there is often loss of function on that side of your pet. They can still run fairly well, but many can no longer jump, or stand on their hind legs. This procedure is often recommended for a luxated hip joint as well. It is possible to restore a luxated hip joint surgically if the procedure is performed within a reasonable amount of time, please see a doctor right away that is capable of performing this procedure. To schedule a consultation, please call Mayo Veterinary Services at (425) 967-7999. 



The surgical approach to remove the femoral head (above).



What the x-ray would look like after the head has been removed.