The dog’s dislocated hip, means his/her joint surfaces have separated and the acetabulum is no longer attached to the femoral head. This condition is also known as hip luxation that can happen to any dog breed.
Dogs’ hip joint is a “socket and ball” type joint. This ball is a rounded head of the leg bone, whereas the socket is located in cups and pelvis around the ball. While the round ligament of femoral head holds the ball in a socket, and surrounding hip muscles help support the dog’s joint.
Dislocated Hip Signs In Dogs
Luxated or dislocated hips occur when a joint’s ball part comes out of the socket. This type of injury can cause when being hit by a car. Any dog with a dislocated hip cannot bear his/her weight on the back leg. Further, the affected leg appears shorter as compared to other ones. A dislocated hip in dogs is extremely painful and should be treated as soon as possible.
Diagnosing A Hip Dislocation
In order to check the positioning of hip, pets being limping or suffering trauma, and that are suspected to have dislocated a hip, are X-rayed. Mostly, leg bone slides up and forward, but the opposite can also happen in some cases. Vets can easily fix the problem after knowing where the ball of the joint is located. Moreover, X-rays also expose other fractures in the leg or pelvis that could interfere with the correction.
How To Put A Dog’s Hip Back In Place?
Open reduction and closed reduction are the two best approaches to correct a dog’s dislocated hip.
Under this approach, the vet tries to manually (without surgery) re-place the hip joint in its proper location. Since this treatment is painful, the dogs are anesthetized as their leg muscles need to be relaxed.
After putting the joint back in place, your dog’s leg is placed in a sling in order to prevent weight bearing as well as to encourage the joint to stay in place. However, this treatment has chances of failure, even after the problem is resolved. Generally there is a 50% recurrence chance for dislocation.
Before discussing any surgical repair or open reduction, most vets attempt a closed reduction treatment.
This treatment refers to surgically correct a dog’s dislocated hip. All surgical dislocated hip treatments have one common goal; to fix the hip back to its normal position. Adding prosthetic joint capsules, using toggle pins to hold the ball in the socket, and reconstructing the round ligament, are some of the most common available options.
Such surgical corrections are not recommended for dogs with shallow hip sockets, or existing arthritis. A femoral head ostectomy (FHO) is the best treatment for these dogs, and for dogs with chronic hip dislocations. Under FHO treatment, the joint’s ball is removed, resulting in a false joint which is supported by soft tissue for relieving painful bone-on-bone contact. This surgery can also be considered for small dogs, regardless of whether chronic or fracture problems exist.
Meanwhile, a total hip replacement is considered the best choice for other dogs in order to return them to a pain-free life. The socket and ball are replaced with prosthetic implants in this treatment.
You are advised to consult with an experienced vet and he/she will decide about the surgical procedure for your pet. Dogs that get open reduction treatment for dislocated hips have a higher chance of keeping their joint in place (around 85%).
Depending on how a dog’s injury was managed, post-operative care varies. However, recovery surely involves reduced activity for some period. The main concern for the first few weeks after surgery is, getting the surrounding structures and hip to heal from surgery.
Anti-inflammatory medication is one of the immediate post-operative cares for reducing swelling, and pain. Furthermore, applying cold packs initially as well as warm packs later are also useful. Particular plans vary from dog to dog and vet to vet, but it is vital to restrict your dog’s activities unless the hip heals properly. Using a towel under your dog’s belly helps him/her to walk properly even on slippery floors.
The focus shifts to rehabilitating affected leg muscles as the hip joint starts to heal. Physical therapy, and Hydrotherapy like underwater treadmill and swimming are also recommended. Some alternative treatments like laser therapy and acupuncture are also useful.
You are advised to decrease your pets’ meals by 10% when he/she is under restricted activity.
Risk of Re-injury
The surrounding structures of your dog severely damage when a hip dislocates. It is very important to remember that an open/ closed reduction failure of a dog’s joint to stay put is not a failure on the part of veterinarian or pet.
As mentioned before, a closed reduction treatment has only 50% chance of success, and the re-injury is certainly frustrating. Whereas the risk of the hip dislocating again under open reduction treatment is only 25%, unless there is an underlying condition which warrants an open reduction. However, closed reduction is mostly attempted first by most vets.
No matter whatever their case is, dogs that experience hip luxation often experience arthritis in the same hip with their age. You are highly advised to keep your dog on a proper weight because extra weight can exacerbate hip dislocation problem. You should also consider giving health supplements, such as fatty acids and Glucosamine for the joint support.
Prevention of Hip Dislocation
You must keep your dog safe from accidents as most dislocated hips are a result of a traumatic accident, such as being hit by a car, jumping from high places, etc.
Luxated hips can sometimes occur in dogs with severe hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, a hip dysplasia is a chronic condition that requires a lifelong therapy. In the end, do not forget to immediately discuss your dog’s treatment options with a vet to ensure maximum quality of life.
If your pet has ever experienced a dislocated hip, please let us know about the experience regarding, “how to put a dog’s hip back in place?”