Pet Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition that begins to develop as a dog is growing, typically between 6 and 12 months of age. If a dog has hip dysplasia, they commonly develop osteoarthritis of their hips and accordingly usually have hip pain and often may be slower to get up, be reluctant to jump at times, be less comfortable going upstairs, and may limp. Depending upon the age of the dog, and the severity of the dysplasia or osteoarthritis, we have numerous surgical options. In young puppies (about 15 weeks of age), we can perform a juvenile pubic symphysiodesis (JPS). This surgery is highly effective in preventing the development of hip osteoarthritis in dogs with mild or moderate hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, very few dogs are treated with JPS because most dogs are not diagnosed with hip dysplasia until after they are 15 weeks old. We perform JPS and are big proponents of this procedure in large-breed puppies that are 15 weeks old.

If a dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia at about 5-10 months of age, but the dog does not have osteoarthritic change yet, double pelvic osteotomy (DPO) can be highly effective in preventing the development of osteoarthritis and can save the dog’s hips. Accordingly, we have performed many DPOs, have saved many hips with this procedure, and are proponents of this surgery. Unfortunately, few dogs are treated with DPO because usually they are not diagnosed until after the dog has developed hip osteoarthritis.

If a dog is older than 12 months of age and has hip dysplasia or hip osteoarthritis, there are 2 surgical options available: Femoral head ostectomy or total hip replacement. Femoral head ostectomy (FHO) is the same as a femoral head and neck excision (FHNE) and involves surgical removal of the femoral head and neck to eliminate any painful bone-on-bone contact. Total hip replacement, on the other hand, involves the replacement of the ball and socket with a new, “bionic” hip. Both surgeries are great options with different pros and cons. We have great experience performing research, publishing, teaching, and performing these surgeries including total hip replacement.