What is a hip replacement for dogs?

A hip replacement for dogs 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 (THR) 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.

How we can help

After a hip replacement, your dog’s activity level will be dramatically reduced to only a few very short elimination trips to the backyard. During this time of immobility, reduced movement can 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.

Prolonged reduction of mobility after a hip replacement for dogs will also lead to muscle atrophy (muscle wastage) particularly in your dog’s post-op hip and leg region. It is paramount to rebuild muscle mass after surgery to support your dog’s joint and regain full functioning and mobility. Once your dog gets the all clear from your surgeon to introduce low impact exercise, we can start to build up muscle mass by introducing low impact rehabilitative strengthening exercises as well as proprioceptive exercises for improved limb awareness and balance. We will also provide you with a customised exercise program for you to implement at home (including videos of the exercises).

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 be overworked. Prolonged overload 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.