Replacing Your Dog's Bad Hip Through Veterinary Orthopedic Surgery

Most people are familiar with the concept of hip replacement surgery, which can be a life-saving procedure in the elderly or patients with bone or joint disorders. But if you have ever watched your dog with arthritis or hip dysplasia hobbling stiffly or struggling to get up, you may have wondered if any such options are available for canine companions as well. Thankfully, the rapidly advancing discipline of veterinary orthopedics has now become a commonplace practice in veterinary medicine, and many dogs receive full hip replacements every year. 

Understanding Why Dogs Have Hip Problems

Dogs are all members of the same species, descended from populations of wolves. Over thousands of years, we have shaped dogs through careful breeding to any number of shapes and sizes, each meant to fill a different job. But when any species sees as much variation as Great Pyrenees and Chihuahuas, you are likely to run into musculoskeletal problems as a consequence, including joint disorders like hip dysplasia or arthritis. Any dog can develop joint issues, though testing before breeding can help prevent the traits being passed on to the next generation. 

Weighing Pain Management Versus Surgery

When your dog develops a painful hip joint condition, you will need to consider both cost and your pet's quality of life when discussing treatment options with your veterinarian. In some cases, mild pain can be managed through simple medication, which is preferable for older dogs or dogs showing minimal discomfort. Young and otherwise healthy dogs are the best candidates for a total hip replacement, but middle-aged and even elderly dogs often undergo the procedure as well. 

Replacing the Hip Joint With a Prosthetic

During a hip replacement surgery, a veterinary orthopedic surgeon will carefully access and remove your dog's hip joint, replacing it with a metal artificial bone and a synthetic joint. The false bone should eventually be incorporated into the rest of the body through a process known as osseointegration, leaving the joint to function as intended. The procedure is very similar to the one performed on humans, and dogs typically emerge from sedation with no major complications. 

Helping Your Dog Recover From Surgery

Once your dog is all stitched up and the new hip is in place, your surgeon will likely want to see your pet up and walking before sending you home. Your dog will need to be kept to limited exercise and movements for several months afterward to allow the joint to heal properly. This can be difficult, since relief from their chronic pain often leaves dogs feeling energetic and playful again. But most pet owners find that the recuperation period is well worth the trouble, going on to enjoy many more years of physical activity and fun with their canine companions. 

For more information, contact Animal Clinic Of Billings or a similar location.