Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery Cost
Hip dysplasia is a common cause of lameness and pain in dogs that occurs when the ball-and-socket joint at the end of the femur (thigh bone) doesn’t form properly. The result is an abnormal angle where one leg ends up shorter than the other, which causes the pelvis to tilt forward. This puts additional pressure on the front legs, causing arthritis and degenerative joint disease. Dogs with hip dysplasia also tend to have problems with their lower back, hips, knees and even ankles.
In humans it is called osteoarthritis and affects about 1 percent of people. In dogs, a similar problem is known as canine hip dysplasia (CHD). It’s estimated that 40 to 60 percent of all purebreds are affected by CHD.
There are two types of hip dysplasia: developmental and acquired. Developmental dysplasia comes from birth while acquired forms develop later in life. Both types occur equally in both sexes and in every breed. Canine hip dysplasia has been documented since the early 1900s but was not formally identified until the 1970s.
Canine hip dysplasia is hereditary — meaning you’ll get it if your parents had it. But there are environmental factors involved as well. For example, large dogs like German shepherds are prone to this type because they walk differently than smaller breeds do. Obesity will increase the risk too. So will any trauma to the area such as a broken bone or surgery.
You should see your vet immediately if your pet is exhibiting symptoms of hip dysplasia such as limping, stiffness, muscle atrophy, painful clicking noises or a decrease in ability to jump or run. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to arthropathy. That means the cartilage lining inside the joints wears down and becomes inflamed, resulting in bony growths and deformities.
Treatment options include physical therapy, braces, special shoes and bracing. There are also surgical procedures available including total hip replacement, partial hip replacement, stem cell implantation and osteotomy. These surgeries are usually performed on older or overweight dogs. They’re expensive, however, ranging anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 each.
If your dog qualifies under certain circumstances, insurance may cover some of the costs. To find out whether your policy covers hip dysplasia surgery, contact your veterinarian or call your insurance company.
Read on to learn what preoperative tests need to be done before having hip dysplasia surgery.
Preparations Before Dog Hip Replacement Surgery
Before undergoing hip replacement surgery, patients must undergo extensive testing. Your veterinarian will order X-rays, blood work, urine analysis, urinalysis, electrocardiograms, blood chemistry panel, a stress test and possibly CT scans. He or she will want to know how active your dog is and whether he eats enough protein daily.
Your vet may also recommend getting your dog neutered or spayed to help reduce his anxiety during recovery. Male dogs are often castrated prior to the procedure, while female dogs are given a hysterectomy so they won’t go into heat post-surgery. After recovering, your pet will probably need to stay overnight in hospital. You’ll receive instructions regarding feeding, activity levels and medications.
Post-op care involves keeping your pooch calm, warm and comfortable. He’ll likely experience bruising around the incision site, drainage tubes and urinary catheters. Most dogs take about four days to fully recover after the operation. During this time, owners should limit activity, keep them hydrated, feed them ice chips and avoid putting weight on their bodies.
As mentioned earlier, hip dysplasia can be treated noninvasively through physical rehabilitation, casting or orthopedic shoe inserts. However, if your pet’s mobility is severely impaired, the only option might be hip replacement surgery. Read on to learn about why this kind of surgery is necessary.
Veterinary surgeons who perform hip replacements use either cemented or uncemented implants. A cemented prosthesis consists of metal pins inserted into holes drilled into the femurs. The head of the pin fits into the acetabular socket made of plastic material. Uncemented implants consist of a metal rod placed directly into the femur without using screws or cement. Neither type uses bolts, plates or wires.
Why Is Total Hip Replacement Necessary?
Unlike hip dysplasia, which is a congenital defect, hip replacement is an elective procedure. Dogs can live long lives, sometimes reaching 20 years old. As a result, many vets choose not to put off hip replacement surgery. Instead, they opt to try less invasive methods first. Yet, over time, these measures don’t provide permanent relief. When this happens, dogs are forced to endure chronic pain and limited movement.
To understand why hip replacement surgery is needed, consider what normally takes place during a typical day. First, let’s look at the hip. The hip is formed by the upper portion of the thighbone, called the femur, and the pelvic bone. Together, the bones make up the main part of the lower body and provide support to the spine. At its base, the femur attaches to the pelvic bone. Two rounded protrusions – called the coxae – sit on top of the pelvic bone. Between these two pads is where most of the action takes place. The hip itself sits right here. Its ball connects to the coxa and its socket accepts the head of the femur.
Now, think about walking. The movement begins when the foot presses against the ground. With every step the heel rises, then pushes upward onto the toes. At the same time, the arch flattens and flexes. Through this process, the bones of the hip shift positions. The ball moves backward toward the center of the socket while the socket expands to accept the head of the femur. Once the proper alignment is achieved, the leg remains straight while the knee bends.
When hip dysplasia develops, the normal physiological processes described above become disrupted. The position of the femur within the socket shifts, causing the lower extremity to appear shortened. Because the socket isn’t big enough to accommodate the femoral head, inflammation and wear occur. This leads to the formation of a hard lump known as a spur. Arthritis also sets in due to decreased lubrication caused by narrowed spaces between the bones. Over time, the hardened areas begin to break down, forming small cavities. These pockets allow bacteria to grow and lead to infection.
Not surprisingly, dogs with hip dysplasia exhibit symptoms of pain and discomfort. Some dogs even cry out when they stand or move. Other signs of hip dysplasia include difficulty rising from a sitting position, stumbling, frequent falling down, limping and poor posture.
With all the complications associated with hip dysplasia, it’s no wonder veterinarians resort to hip replacement surgery when nothing else seems to work.
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