Treatment Options in Canine Hip Dysplasia: Surgical Options for Treating Dysplastic Hips in Dogs

Canine hip dysplasia is a congenital, inherited deformity within the hip joints of a dog which results in laxity, pain and eventually arthritic changes within the hip joints.

Treatment for hip dysplasia for dogs can be surgical intervention and/or medical management of pain. Medical management of pain is most often consistent with other methods of treating arthritis in dogs.

Surgical Options for Treating Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Surgical options currently used to treat canine hip dysplasia include:

  • femoral head and neck ostectomy
  • total hip replacement
  • DARthroplasty
  • triple pelvic osteotomy
  • juvenile pubic symphysiodesis

Surgical Options for Canine Hip Dysplasia: Femoral Head and Neck Ostectomy

Femoral head and neck ostectomy is one of the most commonly performed surgeries for canine hip dysplasia. Femoral head and neck ostectomy involves surgically removing the head and neck of the femur, effectively removing the ball portion of the ball-and-socket joint which makes up the normal hip joint, quoting ((

Following removal of the head and neck of the femur, a false joint forms and eventually becomes less painful for the dog than the deformed hip joint in its original state.

Surgical Options for Canine Hip Dysplasia: Total Hip Replacement

The total hip replacement effectively removes the deformed dysplastic hip joint and replaces the joint with a prostetic device. Total hip replacement is effective in the relief of pain caused by hip dysplasia in the dog.

Surgical Options for Canine Hip Dysplasia: DARthroplasty

DARthroplasty essentially involves rebuilding the hip socket (the dorsal acetabular rim) and deepening the socket with the intent of improving the confirmation of the hip joint and making it more difficult for the femur to “slip out” of the hip joint. This is accomplished by taking bone grafts from other areas of the pelvis and using the grafts to extend the rim of the acetabulum.

Surgical Options for Canine Hip Dysplasia: Triple Pelvic Ostectomy

Femoral head and neck ostectomy, total hip replacement and DARthroplasty are all procedures which normally are performed on mature to older dogs in which signs and symptoms of arthritic changes associated with canine hip dysplasia are already present, although it is recommended that DARthroplasty be performed prior to severe arthritic changes occurring.

Triple pelvic ostectomy, on the other hand, is usually performed on young dogs ranging from 8-18 months of age in which hip dysplasia is present but arthritic changes have not started to occur.

In a triple pelvic ostectomy, the acetabulum (the socket portion of the hip joint) is cut free of the rest of the pelvic, repositioned so that the head of the femur fits more properly inside of the acetabulum, and then the acetabulum is put back in place using bone plates and screws.

Surgical Options for Canine Hip Dysplasia: Juvenile Symphysiodesis

In juvenile symphysiodesis, the symphysis of the pelvis (the area which joins the two sides of the pelvis at the middle) is prematurely fused surgically in an effort to prevent hip dysplasia lesions.

Juvenile symphysiodesis is performed on young puppies, generally less than 5 months of age. This surgery is performed before it is known whether the dog will suffer from hip dysplasia. Because of the preventive nature of the surgery and the fact that it is difficult to evaluate whether hip dysplasia would have become a problem for the individual dog, it is difficult to know whether this surgery actually provides any benefit for most dogs.

Determining which surgical option is recommended in dogs with hip dysplasia is dependent on the individual dog. The age of the dog, the severity of disease and the presence or absence of arthritic changes in the affected hip joints all play a part in deciding which surgery is advisable. When surgery is not an option, medical means of pain control will become a necessity.