Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia and Large Breed Dogs

Owners of large breed puppies are justifiably worried over the risk that their new puppy will eventually develop hip dysplasia. Large breeds, whether from a kennel, private owner or a pet store are at risk of this crippling disease. It can be very painful, and by the time it is diagnosed and treated the dog has often suffered for weeks or even months. Preventing this suffering has been everyone's goal for many years.

Treating hip dysplasia is expensive. In mild cases aspirin-like and other pain relieving drugs can be used, but must be given for the life of the dog and are eventually irritating to the gastrointestinal tract. Surgery, which is very expensive and a lot more debilitating to the patient can treat more severe cases. The most common surgical options are:

  1. TPO (triple pelvic osteotomy) -- This $1,200-$2,000 per hip surgery cuts and then re-attaches 3 bones in the pelvis to change the angle of the hip socket. Only done early in life (6-10 months of age), there is a loss of range of motion.
  2. FHO (femoral head ostectomy) -- This $700-$1,000 per hip surgery removes the femoral head. This surgery results in a loss of the normal hip anatomy, and the larger the dog, the less successful the surgery is.
  3. THR (total hip replacement) -- This hip $3,500-$5,000 per hip surgery replaces the abnormal hip joint with a prosthesis. It is only done at specialty and university clinics.

Different surgeons recommend different procedures based on their skill level, instrumentation, age of the pet, severity of the disease, and finances available. The entire process can be very complex, costly and emotionally draining. Most of all, this very painful disease is now largely preventable!

Hip Screening

Testing is now available that can predict which puppies are at greater risk of developing hip dysplasia. Furthermore, a surgical procedure is now available that should allow the hip bones of a puppy to develop and form a better hip joint.

Screening of large breed puppies (over 50lb adult weight) MUST be done before sixteen weeks of age (the earlier the better).

The screening consists of general anesthesia and palpation of the hips. If palpation is positive, this indicates a loose or lax joint.  A "PennHip" x-ray may be done to provide further verification.  If palpation is negative, no further treatment for the hips is needed, and spaying/neutering is recommended.

Those puppies that test positive benefit from a procedure called Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis that destroys the growth plate in the pubic bone. This causes early fusing which changes the angle of the hip as the puppy grows, ultimately providing the puppy a much better hip joint. Benefits of this surgery, compared to those required for older dogs with hip dysplasia, are remarkable. There is very little discomfort after surgery. There is no "bone" surgery and no loss of range of motion of the joint; integrity of the hip joint is maintained. There is rapid healing with few complications. Also, the cost is low when compared with other hip dysplasia surgeries.

This surgery reduces the degeneration of the hip joint beginning at a very early age. The most important factor in its success is the timing of the surgery -----IT MUST BE DONE AS CLOSE TO THIRTEEN WEEKS OF AGE AS POSSIBLE! Early detection is imperative.

Hip screening total cost is only $195.00: Office consultation, pre-anesthesia blood tests, isoflurane gas anesthesia, and palpation.

**Dogs that receive JPS surgery should not be bred and spaying or neutering is MANDATORY at the time of the JPS surgery.


Call Animal Medical Clinic, Animal Medical Clinic North, or CherryVale Animal Clinic to make an appointment with Dr. Thompson or Dr. Buhl for your puppy's hip screening today.