Memphis Veterinary Hip Dysplasia
What is Hip Dysplasia?
Hip Dysplasia is laxity (or looseness) of the hip joint that occurs most commonly in rapidly growing, large breed dogs, though it can occur in any breed. Chronic joint laxity results in cartilage degeneration, osteoarthritis and loss of muscle mass and range of motion. Hip Dysplasia is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Common clinical signs include an abnormal gait (sometimes referred to as ‘bunny hopping’), difficulty rising, exercise intolerance, muscle atrophy or hip pain. An orthopedic exam, as well as x-rays, are needed to help diagnose Hip Dysplasia.
How is Hip Dysplasia treated?
The best method of treatment will depend on your pet’s age, activity level and amount of arthritis present. If Hip Dysplasia is diagnosed early enough, surgical intervention can help improve the conformation of the hips and slow the progression of arthritis.
- Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis (JPS) can be performed in puppies less than 16 weeks of age. In this procedure, the growth plate of the pubis is fused to prevent growth. When the growth from the pubis is stopped, the remaining parts of the pelvis grow, and the sockets of the hip rotate over the ball (femoral head). The result is a more stable hip that has much less chance of developing significant arthritis.
- Femoral Head and Neck Ostectomy (FHO) can be performed in dogs of almost any age. Our surgeons choose this procedure when treating Hip Dysplasia in small/toy-breeds, when a pet has irreparable fractures of the hip joint, or in cases of Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. This procedure involves removing the femoral head and neck to allow a “false joint” to form.
- Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO) can be performed in dogs less than 10 months of age. This is also limited to patients with mild laxity and no x-ray evidence of arthritis. The TPO preserves the natural hip joint, decreases laxity, and slows the progression of arthritis. This procedure involves cutting the pelvis in three places (triple osteotomy) and rotating the acetabular segment (socket) to provide better coverage of the femoral head (ball portion of the hip joint). The goal is to give the patient a stable and pain-free joint.
- Total Hip Replacement (THR) can be performed in dogs over one-year of age. Total Hip Replacement offers the best chance at normal to near normal function in dogs with incapacitating disease within the hip joint. A THR totally replaces the painful arthritic joint with prosthetic components, much in the same way a human hip replacement works. The modular prosthetic hip replacement system used today has three components – the femoral stem, the femoral head, and the acetabulum. Each component has multiple available sizes, which allow for a custom fit. The components are made of cobalt chrome, stainless steel and ultra high molecular weight polyethylene. Prosthesis implantation may be cemented or cementless (press-fit). Most dogs walk on their new hip immediately after surgery. Gradual return to normal function is allowed between 10 to 12 weeks after surgery. Long-term studies found THR to be a very effective method of treating disabling conditions of the canine hip. The majority of dogs display marked improvement in walking, sitting, climbing stairs, standing, running, getting into the car, playing, and exercise following surgery. For dogs with bilateral Hip Dysplasia, the most painful hip should be replaced first. If pain is present on both sides, both sides can be replaced. However, only one hip can be operated on at a time. The interval between surgeries is generally about 8 to 10 weeks. The success rate with a total hip approaches 90% with about 5% developing problems that necessitate removal of the implants (aseptic or septic loosening).