Vets Now offer canine Total Hip Replacement (THR) within our Emergency & Specialty Hospitals in both Glasgow and Swindon.

We are commonly asked for advice from both pet owners and vets about the THR procedure and what it entails.

See below the answers to our FAQs.

What exactly does the procedure involve?

Put simply, we cut out the diseased or damaged hip joint in its entirety and replace it with a prosthetic metal and plastic ball-and socket joint. The new hip can be fixed into the bone using special bone cement (i.e. “cemented” THR) although we commonly use modern implants with a porous surface that the bone can grow into over several months (“uncemented” THR).

Why would a dog need a THR?

THR is a “salvage” procedure, meaning we only use it when the hip joint is so badly damaged that it can no longer be used in a comfortable, functional way. The most common reason for this damage is canine hip dysplasia, which can lead to severe osteoarthritis in the joint, but we occasionally see dogs with other problems such as certain types of fracture or hip dislocations that might also benefit from a Total Hip Replacement. Approximately 95% of dogs have a very good or excellent outcome after THR.

What is the youngest age that a THR can be performed?

There are no strict limits, and THR has been reported in dogs as young as 6 months old. However, we would prefer only to operate on dogs once they have reached skeletal maturity. Depending on breed and individual variation, this might be from 6-7 months old to 18-20 months old. There are several other options for younger dogs with hip dysplasia. These include non-surgical treatments such as a carefully tailored exercise routine, body weight management, prescription pain relief medications, or diet supplements (e.g. glucosamine). There are also several very successful surgical procedures that can be performed in younger dogs including Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis (JPS) and Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO). We are very keen to see younger dogs with hip dysplasia through our orthopaedic referral clinics because some of these options may reduce the need for THR later in life for many dogs.

How much does the surgery cost?

We charge £4000-4500 for uncomplicated THR. This reflects the complex nature of the procedure, the expensive implants and instruments used for the surgery, and the intensive management both before and after the surgery.

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