If your dog has severe hip pain, your vet might suggest a total hip replacement to improve your dog's movement. Wondering how dog hip replacement works, the recovery process, and if your dog is a suitable candidate? Find answers from our Turlock veterinarians.
Total Hip Replacement
Total hip replacement for your dog involves replacing its natural hip joint with a metal ball on the upper femur and a plastic socket in the pelvis.
These two parts can be secured with bone cement or without it, both methods showing good outcomes without a clear advantage for one over the other.
Good Candidates For Total Hip Replacement in Dogs
If your dog is suffering from a painful hip condition such as hip dysplasia that is affecting their mobility and activity levels, they may be a good candidate for total hip replacement surgery.
If your dog shows signs like stiffness, difficulty getting up, and hesitance to move around, they might benefit from a total hip replacement. For the surgery, your dog needs to be fully grown (at least 9-12 months old) and healthy, without joint, bone, or nerve issues. Dogs with arthritic hips and normal hip function aren't suitable for this surgery.
Your dog's bones must be big enough for the new hip parts. Usually, dogs weighing over 40 pounds can get an artificial hip.
To decide if the surgery is right, a Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon will assess your dog.
What To Expect From Your Dog's Hip Replacement Surgery
Every surgery with general anesthesia has risks. To lower the chances of anesthesia-related problems, your dog will be carefully checked, and blood tests will be done.
If your dog is fit for hip replacement surgery, they might stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days. The surgery will be performed, and a team of vets will make sure the healing process begins well.
Most dogs do very well after this surgery. Owners often notice their dogs doing things they haven't done since they were puppies. Sometimes, there could be issues, but these are usually treatable. The common problems after hip replacement surgery are infection, loose implants, hip issues, and nerve damage. However, these problems can usually be fixed successfully.
Post-Operative Care For Dogs Having Total Hip Replacement Surgery
After your dog undergoes hip replacement surgery, the veterinary team will give you detailed instructions for your dog's recovery. It's crucial to follow these instructions to prevent any issues carefully. Your vet will also guide you on how to give any prescribed pain medications.
Keep an eye on your dog's incision site for any signs of infection like swelling or discharge. To prevent licking, your dog might need to wear a cone or a suitable alternative.
Watch your dog's appetite as the incision heals; a decrease in appetite could signal infection.
Your dog's movement will be quite limited for around a month. This means using crate rest when you can't supervise and only short on-leash bathroom breaks outside. Avoid stairs and slippery surfaces. If stairs are necessary, keep your dog on-leash for slow and careful movement.
No running, jumping, or playing for the first 2 months after surgery. Depending on healing progress, your vet might allow short on-leash walks in the second month.
Remember, these restrictions aid healing, ensuring your dog can enjoy an active, pain-free life post-recovery. A follow-up appointment at the vet's office, around 10 to 14 days after surgery, will involve removing stitches or staples.
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.