Jump to content
BC Boards
Sign in to follow this  
Jim & Carol

Hip Surgery or not?

Recommended Posts

We have just learned our 6 yr old male has severe displacia in one hip and the other hip is "bad" too. Our question is has anyone got any first hand information of just how difficult this procedure is on a dog, what about the recoperation time etc. Though it is expensive, our boy seems to be in otherwise perfect health. He's our first border and we assumed he would be around about 6 more years. Looking at it that way this would be a good investment if he came out of it pain free and like a dog of similar years with good hips. Is that what we can expect? Does any vet in the Chicago area do this procedure in a less intrusive way....like laser? Any info you can send our way would be very appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help..Jim and Carol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I understand this. What prompted you to seek the diagnosis? Is he in pain? If not, I wouldn't consider surgery. Many dogs with "bad" hips seem to live perfectly normal lives. Keep them lean, don't do things that make him hurt, and consider starting to use glucosimine and chondoitin.

 

If he is in pain, there are many ways to manage pain other than surgery. Again, the first step would be to make sure that he is not overweight. You should be able to feel his ribs without pressing too hard. He should have a waist when viewed from above and from the side. G&C, enteric coated aspirin for bad days, etc., can work wonders.

 

Before you put him through any surgery, I'd recommend getting a second opinion from another vet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess my question is which hip surgery you're contemplating... there are probably two procedures that would be considered in the case of a 6 year old with severe hip disease: total hip replacement and FHO. Not sure if any other procedures were mentioned to you.

 

A small caution about aspirin - if you give it, you DO want the enteric coated or buffered type (be very sure it's aspirin only, no Tylenol or caffiene, as in some "headache" preparations), but bear in mind that 1) it is an anticoagulant, so if you do have any kind of surgery (including dental work) on your dog, be sure to witdraw it about a week ahead of time; 2) it can cause GI upset in some dogs even at appropriate dosages; 3) with longterm daily use it can actually accelerate cartilage erosion in dogs, which would potentially accelerate their arthritis; and 4) there are some drug interactions and health concerns where aspirin is contraindicated (check with your vet about those). There are certainly other pain meds if aspirin isn't for you; every medication can have side effects, and every system is different, so you have to use what works for you and your dog.

 

For dogs with mild to moderate pain, aspirin can be more than sufficient, and if you're not using it a lot, there isn't a big concern about either the anticoagulant effects or any effects on cartilage. Glucosamine and chondroitin help rebuild cartilage where it's been damaged, but that takes around 6 to 8 weeks to occur. In some dogs, this alone is sufficient to make them comfortable and restore mobility; in others it helps insufficiently or not at all. In my personal experience, if a dog has "severe" dysplasia, nutritional supplements alone are usually not enough, but I will also mention that I've seen many an Xray that looked horrendous and the dog was really pretty happy and seemed to have little trouble with the limb; I've also seen ones with very mild changes in which the dog was markedly painful. So I guess my point with that is that the severity of change on the Xray does not always relate one-to-one with the severity of the dog's discomfort.

 

In making a decision about surgery, my thoughts would be to first consider what you want the dog's lifestyle to be (lap dogs need their hip stength less than active ones). If you want the dog to be active, I personally would probably at least try nutrition and pain control to see how much improvement I got without surgery (this is if it was my own dog - everyone is different about this, though.) If I felt I got good control with medication and nutrition and physical therapy, I might be inclined to kind of hold it there for a while and see how things were going. If medical care isn't enough to do the job, then you still have surgery as an option. I do not by any means consider surgery a "last resort", but I personally can't afford to invest several thousand dollars in something like that unless I'm sure it's necessary. Maybe that's just me, though. As a BTW, a second opinion isn't a bad idea; we are called upon to give these from time to time, and the intent is not to "steal" someone else's clients or to insult your usual vet; hip surgery is a reasonably big deal, and if you would feel more confident about the need for it by talking to another doctor, by all means, do so. The Xrays belong to the hospital that took them, but they can be sent to another doctor for review. (Your vet can also send them to a board-certified radiologist, who would be the "big gun" expert for reading Xrays - we do this quite commonly, but we also send them, along with the clients and the patient, to the boarded surgeons in Anchorage).

 

As for who does these procedures, a total hip would be done by a board-certified surgeon at (usually) a referral center or a University. An FHO might be done buy a great many capable surgeons, whether or not board-certified. I'm not from your area, so I can't direct your inquiries, but your own vet should be able to.

 

I hope that helps answer some of your questions about hips, though I may have just created more questions than I've answered. I don't think I can tell you much more without knowing what procedure(s) you're contemplating, and naturally I'm NOT making a reccomendation for your dog, since I can't see or diagnose it over the Net... just trying to provide some information about options in general.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard that unless you have the surgery done at a young(er) age that the dog is no more likely to be better off - plus you've taken the surgical/anaesthesia risk.

 

I agree with Bill. Do a TON of research and get at least one more opinion.

 

I have no first-hand experience, though.......

 

PR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to those who have already answered us about the hip surgery! "Pip" has been on condt. glcos. for over a year already as a supplemental daily vitamin. His xray was very jolting even without any medical background. For those of you who ask about his pain level I will say he has yet to cry out while doing any activity but he has a noticable limp as the day progresses and by night he is very slow in standing up (his hind quarters) after laying down. We think we will watch him and continue to give him his Metacam and glocosamine daily and then re-xray him in about 3 months and see just how fast this condition is advancing. Surgery seems like such a lot to put him through but he so loves his walks and playtimes and swimming when he can that it feels to not help him get back to them would be just as painfull to him. Thanks again for you input and if anyone else has anything to add please do so. We want all the info we can get.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...