What type of dog hip surgery?

There are several types of dog hip surgeries available including:

  • A total hip replacement (THR) is usually performed on dogs who have painful conditions of the hip joint which cannot be managed conservatively with pain relief and rehabilitation. The most common problem is hip dysplasia and advanced osteoarthritis in the hip joint.

A total hip replacement provides your dog with a completely new and mechanically sound joint with normal range of motion and pain-free function. Both the ball (head of the femur bone) and socket (acetabulum) of the joint are replaced with prosthetic implants.

  • A triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO) is considered a less invasive surgery and involves cutting the pelvic bone in three places in order to rotate the segments of bone to create a more aligned hip socket. The aim of the procedure is to eliminate laxity in the joint and improve congruity to reduce the development of osteoarthritis.

This procedure is usually performed on puppies or very young dogs with no or very minimal degenerative changes present. The procedure will rule out any benefits if degenerative changes are present in the joint in which case a total hip replacement will be the more appropriate type of surgery.

  • A femoral head ostectomy (FHO) is a less expensive surgery that is typically performed on smaller dogs with hip dysplasia. It involves removing the femoral head (ball) of the femur, leaving an empty socket. The body eventually forms a false joint in the socket. This surgery can help to relieve pain and improve mobility, but it does not restore the normal function of the hip joint. A FHO is considered a salvage procedure and is considered as a last resort. 

Dog Hip Surgery Rehabilitation

After hip surgery, your dog’s activity level will be dramatically reduced to only a few very short elimination trips to the backyard. Prolonged reduction of mobility after hip surgery will lead to muscle atrophy (muscle wastage) particularly in your dog’s post-op hip and leg region as well as reduced range of motion. It is paramount to rebuild muscle mass after surgery to support your dog’s joint and regain function and range of motion.

Post-hip surgery rehabilitation includes manual therapies techniques such as massage and myotherapy to address soft tissue problems as well as therapeutic exercises such as strengthening exercises, passive and active range of motion exercises, and proprioceptive exercises for improved limb awareness and balance. We will also provide you with a customised exercise program for you to implement at home. 

Reduced movement can also lead to an accumulation of fluid as the fluid in the lymphatic system does not get moved on naturally (usually stimulated by movement). Massage stimulates the lymphatic system and helps to eliminate excess fluids and waste products from the body (including removing residual anaesthesia and mediators of inflammation). Further, massage stimulates better blood circulation and oxygen intake which speeds up the healing process. Passive range of motion exercise keep the joints in motion.

Following surgery, your dog will alter their gait to offload weight from their post-op limb to the other limbs. Such compensatory gait patterns mean that other body parts will work harder than usual. Prolonged overload of these muscles leads to tension in muscles with often results in spasms and hyperirritable and painful trigger points, and further damage. At Paws4Paws we will attend to these overworked muscles with techniques such as remedial massage, myofascial pain release, trigger point release and acupressure to avoid secondary injuries.