Hip dislocation in dogs: prevention and common cases

Hip dislocation in dogs: prevention and common cases

Hip dislocation, also called coxofemoral dislocation, is one of the most common lesions in both cats and dogs. In the following lines we will learn a little more about its causes, prevention and treatment to be able to ensure the welfare of our pet.

What is a hip dislocation and what are its main causes?

This injury occurs with the dislocation of the hip joint of the animal. It is produced by a deflection of the head of the femur, which leaves the concave part of the joint, also called the acetabulum. Its origin is eminently traumatic, and usually occurs around 11 or 12 months of life of the animal.

The poodle or the German shepherd have a greater predisposition to suffer this injury. It is common in large and medium dogs, sinceusually suffer from hip dysplasia previously, which makes them perfect candidates to suffer a dislocation.

Hip dysplasia is defined as a poor congruence of the femoral heads with the concave part of the joint. This causes inflammation, pain and stress to the animal and can weaken both the joint and the surrounding tissues. It is frequent thatDislocation occurs due to the weakness of these tissues.

Symptoms and diagnosis

Hip dislocation is a painful injury that affects the mobility of the legs and the balance of the dog.The legs of an animal that suffers tend to be folded in or out, so it depends on the type of dislocation that presents. In the most common, the femoral head is displaced outward.

Lesions arising in the surrounding tissues are common in hip dislocation. Thus,It is urgent that we take our pet to a veterinarian to undergo both a general evaluation and an orthopedic.

If we are facing an injury of traumatic origin, we have to take into account thatThe force necessary to produce a hip dislocation is very large, so it is likely that the bladder, lungs or other organs have been damaged. To determine possible problems derived an additional diagnosis is advised.

According to the American Veterinary Surgical College, the most common diagnostic tests to detect and diagnose possible injuries are the following:

  • Blood test. They can help us to know the state of the organs of the animal and the presence of infections, in the event that our pet presents a wound opened by the trauma.
  • X-rays of the hip to examine the angle of dislocation and other possible damage to the joint.
  • Additional radiographs of the chest, spine or abdomen, in the event that the dislocation is due to a strong blow.

Treatment of hip dislocation in dogs

  • A non-surgical reduction, also called closed reduction, of the hip joint. This procedure, which will be carried out by the veterinarian applying general anesthesia, should be done three or four days after the injury. This is due to the complications that injuries caused by the trauma can cause.
  • A surgical reduction that will allow to treat damaged tissues and provide additional support to the joint through implants. This is a more invasive technique that involves a postoperative period, which is common in surgical procedures.
  • Osteotomy of the femoral head. It involves the removal of the femoral head to result in a 'false' joint, before the impossibility of treating the injury using more conservative techniques. There is a certain loss of mobility in the animal, but the risk of suffering a hip dislocation is completely eliminated. Regular physiotherapy sessions are recommended to improve mobility as much as possible.
  • Total hip replacement. The natural joint is replaced by a mold made of synthetic materials.
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