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Hip Replacement for Dogs - Process, Recovery & Cost

Has your dog's painful or damaged hip negatively impacted mobility and quality of life? A total hip replacement can help restore your dog's ability to run and jump comfortably if it has. Our vets in Ypsilanti will explain the process.

Restore Your Dog's Mobility With a Total Hip Replacement

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.

Some veterinary surgeons use bone cement to secure the two parts of this prosthetic joint in place, while others opt for 'cementless' implants. Both methods typically yield excellent results, and there seems to be no advantage to one over the other.

Is my dog a good candidate for a hip replacement?

Total hip replacement surgery might be a suitable option if your dog experiences a painful hip condition like hip dysplasia, impacting their mobility and activity levels.

Other signs suggesting your dog could benefit from total hip replacement include general stiffness, difficulty rising from the floor, and a reluctance to walk, run, or climb stairs.

To qualify for total hip replacement surgery, your dog must be fully grown (at least 9-12 months old) and otherwise healthy, with no indications of other joint or bone issues or nerve disease. Dogs with arthritic hips and normal hip function are not ideal candidates for hip replacement surgery.

Your dog's bones must also be large enough to accommodate the prosthetic hip components. Therefore, total hip replacement surgery is typically performed on dogs weighing more than 40 lbs.

A board-certified veterinary surgeon will need to conduct an examination to determine if your dog is a suitable candidate for this surgery.

What should I expect from my dog's total hip replacement surgery?

All surgeries involving general anesthesia carry risks. To minimize the chances of complications from anesthesia, our veterinary team will thoroughly examine your dog beforehand and review blood test results.

If your pup qualifies as healthy for total hip replacement surgery, expect a 3 to 5 days hospital stay. During this period, our team of veterinarians will perform the surgery, dedicating their efforts to ensuring a smooth start to the healing process.

Generally, outcomes from this surgery are excellent, with many owners noting a return to activities their dogs haven't enjoyed since puppyhood. However, complications may arise in some cases. Common issues associated with total hip replacement surgery for dogs include infection, implant loosening, hip dislocation, and nerve damage. Nevertheless, these complications can usually be successfully treated.

How much will my dog's total hip replacement cost?

The cost of your dog's surgery depends on several factors, such as your dog's size and age, the severity of their hip issue, and the location of your vet. To obtain an accurate surgery cost estimate, consult your vet. Veterinary hospitals typically offer a detailed, written estimate for the surgery and are willing to address any questions you may have. 

How do I care for my dog after their hip replacement surgery?

After your dog undergoes hip replacement surgery, your veterinary team will furnish you with comprehensive post-operative guidelines for your pup. To avert complications, diligently adhere to your vet's instructions, including administering any prescribed pain medications to your dog.

Vigilantly observe your dog's incision site for signs of infection, such as swelling or discharge. To prevent licking, your dog will likely require a cone (also known as Elizabethan collars or e-collars) or a suitable alternative.

Monitor your dog's appetite as the incision heals, as a diminished appetite could signal early infection. Restrict your dog's movement severely for approximately a month post-surgery. Enforce crate rest when unsupervised, allowing only short, on-leash bathroom breaks outdoors. Minimize exposure to stairs and slippery floors, but if your pet must ascend stairs, use a leash to ensure slow and careful movement.

Prohibit running, jumping, or playing for the initial 2 months post-hip replacement surgery. Depending on your dog's healing progress, your vet might permit short on-leash walks during the second month.

Despite the seeming severity of these restrictions, it's crucial to recognize that strict adherence to your vet's guidance over two months promotes optimal healing. This, in turn, paves the way for your dog's return to a joyful, active, and pain-free life upon complete recovery.

Plan a follow-up appointment with your vet approximately 10 to 14 days after surgery to remove stitches or staples.

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. 

Are you wondering if a total hip replacement is suitable for your dog? Contact our Ypsilanti veterinarians today to learn more about orthopedic surgery.

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