Osteoarthritis in dogs is a serious condition, especially if it develops early due to conditions such as hip dysplasia. In severe cases of joint pain and loss of mobility in dogs, your veterinarian may recommend a total hip replacement (THR) as a treatment option. Our Tigard veterinarians explain what dog owners should know about total hip replacements in this article.
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
The hip joint in your dog is a ball and socket joint. Hip dysplasia means that the ball and socket that make up your dog's hip have not developed properly and are not functioning as they should. Instead, the ball and socket grind and rub against each other, causing further breakdown, pain, and eventual loss of function in 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 such a drastic and invasive procedure, most veterinarians will only recommend it for dogs who are in severe physical pain, have lost mobility, or both. Before the procedure, your veterinarian will perform a series of diagnostic imaging sessions on your dog to determine the size, dimensions, and shape of your pup's hips so that they can order custom-made implants to replace your dog's hips. Because of the invasiveness and complexity of the procedure, it is usually performed by a certified veterinary surgeon.
The Cost of Total Hip Replacement Procedures in Dogs
You might be wondering how much a hip replacement for a dog is. 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 exact cost of a total hip replacement for your dog will vary depending on a variety of factors such as where you live, your dog's size and breed, and their individual healthcare situation, this surgery will provide the best outcomes for dogs suffering from severe joint pain caused by hip dysplasia, but will also be on the higher end of the cost spectrum when it comes to treatment planning.
Recovery From Total Hip Replacements in Dogs
Total hip replacement surgery usually takes two to three hours, and your dog may need to stay in the hospital for one to three days afterward. A 12-week recovery period is expected. Even if your dog has hip dysplasia in both hips, surgery may be performed on only one hip at a time, allowing 3 - 6 months of 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.