Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery

Hip dysplasia is a degenerative disease that progresses over time and usually starts during a dog's early stages of life. However, it typically remains undiagnosed until noticeable symptoms appear in adulthood. Our vets in Pittsboro discuss different treatment options for hip dysplasia in dogs and provide ways to reduce the impact of this painful condition on your dog's mobility.

The Mechanics of Hip Dysplasia

The hip joints of a dog work like a ball and socket. However, if a dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, the ball and socket that make up their hip will not have developed properly and will not function as they should. This will cause the ball and socket to grind and rub against each other, leading to continued breakdown, pain, and eventual loss of function in the affected hip.

Even though hip dysplasia is commonly found in giant or large breed dogs, smaller breeds can also suffer from this painful joint condition. Dogs are typically diagnosed with this condition when they are adults, but in severe cases, hip dysplasia can be seen in puppies as young as four months old.

If left untreated, hip dysplasia can significantly reduce your dog's quality of life, as it causes significant pain and reduces their ability to move normally.

The Causes of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hip dysplasia is a condition that is commonly found in dogs, especially in large and giant breeds such as mastiffs, St. Bernards, Rottweilers, retrievers, and bulldogs. Still, it can also affect smaller breeds like French bulldogs and pugs. This condition is primarily caused by genetics, which means that it can be inherited from parents. If left untreated in the early stages, it can worsen over time and affect both hips. In senior dogs, hip dysplasia may lead to other painful conditions like osteoarthritis.

While genetics is the primary cause of hip dysplasia, other factors can exacerbate the condition. Poor weight management and nutrition, accelerated growth rate, and certain types of exercise can contribute to the development of hip dysplasia. Obesity can increase stress on your dog's joints, which can worsen pre-existing hip dysplasia or even cause the condition.

To prevent your dog from developing hip dysplasia, it's essential to consult your veterinarian regarding their daily exercise requirements and appropriate diet based on their breed, age, and size.

Signs of Hip Dysplasia to Watch For

Each dog may exhibit different symptoms of hip dysplasia. The condition typically begins to develop at around five months of age, but it may not become noticeable until the dog reaches its middle or senior years. The severity and extent of the symptoms depend on the seriousness of the condition and the stage it has progressed to. Pet owners should be alert for the following symptoms as their dog grows older:

  • Stiffness when running or rising from a resting position
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Grating or grinding of the joint when they move
  • Pain while exercising (or a reluctance to exercise, run, jump, or climb stairs)
  • Their back legs are stiff when they walk
  • Running with a 'bunny hop'
  • Lameness in the hind end
  • Loss of muscle tone in back legs or thighs

Treating Hip Dysplasia in Puppies & Dogs

The treatment options for hip dysplasia vary depending on the severity of your dog's condition. Your veterinarian may suggest simple lifestyle modifications, such as changes in diet and exercise, or more aggressive treatments, such as pain medication or orthopedic surgery, to help your dog manage the condition.

The Types of Hip Dysplasia Surgery

When it comes to the surgical treatment of hip dysplasia in dogs, there are 3 main surgical options available:

Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

Hip dysplasia is a condition that can affect dogs of any age, but FHO surgery can be a beneficial solution. During this procedure, the femoral head of the hip joint is removed, creating a "false" joint that can alleviate pain and discomfort. While FHO surgery may not restore normal hip function, it can certainly improve the overall quality of life for dogs with hip dysplasia.

FHO surgery typically costs $1,200 to $2,500, covering the expenses of pre-surgical bloodwork, the procedure itself, anesthesia, post-surgical care, and medications. The duration of the dog's stay in the hospital can vary based on their health and other factors. After the surgery, it's crucial for dogs to avoid strenuous physical activity for at least 30 days. Although most dogs make a full recovery within six weeks, it's important to remember that some may need more time to heal.

Double or Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (DPO/TPO)

A common surgical procedure for dogs under 10 months of age is DPO or TPO, which aims to improve their ball and socket joints. The procedure involves cutting certain points of the pelvic bone and rotating the segments. The cost of the surgery on both hips is approximately $3,000. After the surgery, your dog may require several weeks for comfortable walking, and complete mobility may need physiotherapy. However, you may notice an improvement in joint stability within four weeks. Most dogs' recovery from DPO or TPO surgery takes 4-6 weeks.

Total Hip Replacement (THR)

In case your furry companion is experiencing hip dysplasia, a total hip replacement (THR) may be the best solution to restore their full mobility. This procedure involves the replacement of the hip joint with plastic and metal implants, which can significantly alleviate your pet's discomfort and restore their normal hip function.

However, it is only recommended if your pet is in extreme pain and almost immobile, as it is an expensive and drastic option. The artificial components are tailored to your pet; only certified veterinary surgeons can perform the procedure. The cost of a total hip replacement for one hip ranges from $3,500 to $7,000, and if both hips are affected, the cost can increase to $14,000, including pre-surgical blood work, anesthesia, and all medications.

The surgery typically lasts between 2 to 3 hours, and your pet may need to stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 days after the procedure. A 12-week recovery period is necessary for proper healing, and if both hips are affected, the surgeon may only operate on one hip at a time, with a 3 to 6 month interval between procedures.

Preventing Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Although hip dysplasia is largely a genetic condition inherited from previous generations, there are a few things that pet parents can do to help reduce the risk of their dog suffering from the debilitating effects of this condition.

Choose a Reputable Breeder

Hip dysplasia is mainly a genetic condition in dogs. To avoid taking care of a dog with hip dysplasia, choosing a puppy from a reputable breeder is recommended. A good breeder will have knowledge of the medical history of the parents and grandparents and will be aware of any family history of hip dysplasia. By spending time researching your breeder, you could save yourself a lot of heartache and money in the long run.

Help Your Dog Maintain a Healthy Weight

If you're already a pet parent, the best way to help prevent hip dysplasia in dogs is to help your dog maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts additional stress on your dog's joints and can lead to unnecessary discomfort and joint pain.

Slow The Growth of Giant Breed Puppies

If you own a large or giant breed puppy, it is crucial to manage their growth rate to ensure their joints' proper development without causing undue stress. A rapid increase in their weight and growth before their joints have fully developed can result in hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and other painful joint disorders.

Supplements & Diet

If your dog is experiencing joint pain or faces a high risk of developing hip dysplasia speak to your vet about supplements such as glucosamine and fish oils that could help your dog's joints to stay healthy. There are several readily available, high-quality dog foods on the market that contain ingredients to help your dog retain comfortable mobility. Speak to your vet to find out if this is an appropriate option for your dog.

Appropriate Exercise & Play

It's important to know that different breeds and sizes of dogs have unique exercise requirements to help keep their minds active and their bodies healthy. For example, an Irish Wolfhound will have different exercise needs compared to a Border Collie. Giving your dog too much or inappropriate exercise could worsen their genetic predispositions, such as hip dysplasia. Be sure to research and consult with your breeder and veterinarian to understand the appropriate exercise for your dog fully. Avoid encouraging your dog to do activities unsuitable for their body type.

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.

Is your dog at risk of developing hip dysplasia or showing signs already? Contact our Pittsboro vets to book an examination for your dog. Our vets can offer treatments to help get your dog moving comfortably again.

New Patients Welcome

Pittsboro Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Pittsboro companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Book Online (919) 542-5712