If your dog regularly suffers from severe hip pain, your vet may suggest a treatment like hip replacement. This article provides a comprehensive overview of what to expect during the procedure and how to care for your dog after the surgery. Our veterinarians at Mankato cover all the essential details about total hip replacement surgery for dogs.
Hip Replacement Surgery For Dogs
A total hip replacement involves replacing your dog's natural ball and socket hip joint with a metal ball made of cobalt-chromium metal alloy at the top of the femur and a dense plastic socket constructed from high molecular weight polyethylene plastic in their pelvis.
Veterinary surgeons may use bone cement to secure both parts of this prosthetic joint in place, but some also opt for 'cementless' implants. Both methods generally yield excellent results, and there is no clear advantage to one over the other.
Is Hip Replacement Surgery Ideal For Every Dog?
If your dog suffers from painful hip conditions like hip dysplasia, affecting their mobility and activity levels, consider total hip replacement surgery as a potential solution.
Look out for other symptoms, such as general stiffness, difficulty rising from the floor, and a reluctance to walk, run, or climb stairs, which may indicate that your dog could benefit from this procedure.
To be eligible for total hip replacement surgery, your dog must be fully grown (at least 9-12 months old) and in good health without any signs of other joint, bone issues, or nerve diseases. Keep in mind that dogs with arthritic hips but normal hip function are not suitable candidates for this surgery.
Additionally, your dog's bones must be large enough to accommodate the prosthetic hip components; typically, dogs weighing more than 40 pounds can be fitted with an artificial hip.
What Happens During Your Dog's Hip Replacement?
General anesthesia during surgery carries inherent risks. To minimize the chances of anesthesia-related complications, we will thoroughly examine your dog and review blood test results.
If your pup qualifies as a suitable candidate for total hip replacement surgery, they can expect to stay in the hospital for approximately 3 - 5 days. During this period, our team of veterinary professionals will perform the surgery and make every effort to ensure a smooth start to the healing process.
Overall, the outcomes of this surgery are typically excellent, with many owners reporting a significant improvement in their dog's abilities, often regaining activities they haven't enjoyed since puppyhood. Nevertheless, it's essential to be aware that complications can sometimes arise. The most commonly observed complications associated with total hip replacement surgery for dogs include infection, implant loosening, hip dislocation, and nerve damage. Fortunately, these issues can usually be effectively treated.
How much will my dog's total hip replacement cost?
The cost of your dog's surgery will depend upon a number of factors, including the size and age of your dog, the severity of their hip issue, and where your vet is located. The only way to get an accurate estimate of your dog's surgery cost is to speak to your vet. Most veterinary hospitals are happy to provide a detailed written estimate for the surgery, and answer any questions you may have.
Following Your Dog's Hip Replacement Surgery
After completing your dog's hip replacement surgery, your veterinary team will furnish you with comprehensive post-operative instructions for your pup. Adhering to your vet's guidance is crucial to prevent complications meticulously. Additionally, your vet will provide detailed instructions for administering any prescribed pain medications to your pup.
You should vigilantly monitor your dog's incision site for any signs of infection, such as swelling or discharge. To prevent them from licking the incision site, your dog will likely require a cone (also known as Elizabethan collars or e-collars) or a suitable alternative.
It is imperative to keep a close eye on your dog's appetite as the incision heals, as a decreased appetite can serve as an early indication of infection.
Your dog's mobility will need to be significantly restricted for approximately one month following the surgery. This entails crate rest when you cannot supervise your dog and only brief, on-leash bathroom breaks outdoors. Whenever possible, avoid stairs and slippery floors. If your pet must ascend stairs, use a leash to ensure they proceed slowly and cautiously.
Running, jumping, or playing is strictly prohibited for the initial two months post-surgery. Nevertheless, depending on your dog's healing progress, your vet may permit short on-leash walks during the second month.
While these restrictions may seem stringent, it is vital to bear in mind that following your vet's instructions and rigorously limiting your dog's activities for two months can facilitate a successful healing process, allowing your dog to eventually enjoy a joyful, active, and pain-free life after recovery.
You will return to your vet's office for a follow-up appointment approximately 10 to 14 days after the surgery to have your dog's stitches or staples removed.
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.