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How do vets treat dogs with hip dysplasia?

A:

Quick Answer

Most dogs with hip dysplasia are treated with management and supportive care, such as medication, according to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.

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Weight management is an important part of supportive care, notes OFA. Overweight dogs put more strain on their joints, which can increase arthritis pain. Exercise is also important, but it needs to be carefully planned. Dogs with hip dysplasia benefit from controlled exercise that builds muscle around the affected joint and supports general health without putting too much stress on the joints, which can increase inflammation and pain.

Certain medications can also be helpful. Anti-inflammatory drugs reduce the joint swelling associated with hip dysplasia, according to Canine Journal. Pain medications can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. However, long-term pain medication use may cause dangerous side effects, so this may be more appropriate for older dogs.

Surgical intervention is generally reserved for young puppies with severe dysplasia or older dogs when other treatments fail, reports OFA. Puppies under 10 months of age may undergo a triple pelvic osteotomy. In this procedure, the veterinary surgeon breaks the pelvis to fix the alignment, explains Canine Journal. Older dogs with joints that have already been damaged generally do best with a total hip replacement. If this is not possible, the veterinarian may suggest a femoral head and neck excision.

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