Should We Go With The Total Hip Replacement?

With rest and medications, JD is feeling quite good. What things are going to look like after the NSAIDs are finished remains to be seen.

The main question is whether or not we should decide for the total hip replacement (THR) at this point.

I like the idea of a solution that could fix it for good. On the other hand, this is a very invasive procedure and from what I'm hearing with quite high chance of problems, starting with loosening of the implant, infections, or even splitting of the femur during surgery, which would mean ending up with femoral head ostectomy (FHO) instead.

FHO is the surgery in which the head and neck of the femur is removed.

With this procedure, there are no bones in the joint left to grind, which solves the pain problem. What are the odds of other problems from compensation?

The thing is, that prior the latest injury, the dysplasia was under the radar.

JD was running and playing, running up and down the stairs, jumping in and out of the truck with no problems at all. He never showed reluctance doing any of these things. He'd follow us up the stairs even when he was supposed to stay put in the office.

There were couple times when he got sore, but it was after running like a nut. 

It hurt most in the evening and knowing what he did that day we were thinking muscle pain. None of the veterinary exams revealed an issue either, until now.

Should we treat the x-rays? Was he hiding pain that cleverly?

The lameness that led to taking the x-rays in the first place was definitely acute. We know exactly when it happened.

The bloodwork done to make sure JD should do ok with NSAIDs was clean, except elevated creatine kinase (CK), indicative of muscle damage.

Question is, what role did the hip dysplasia play in what happened.

Was compensating for a sore joint the reason the muscle got hurt? Or are those two unrelated?

The hip does not look good.

Should we opt for the surgery in hopes of getting him as good as new for good and bite the bullet on the fact it is an invasive procedure and risk the potential complications?

Would we be able to manage the hip with less invasive treatments such as stem cells, cold laser, physical therapy, acupuncture, Polyglycan A injections etc? There is minimal risk with those, except the possibility that he might end up having to have the hip replacement at some point in the future when he's older.

These are the things we're evaluating.

Meanwhile, we'll be working on getting him super skinny.

Does your dog have hip dysplasia? 

What treatment did you choose? How did it work out? Would you have done anything differently?

Related articles:
Grocery Bag Is Not An Open Buffet: What Was In JD's Vomit
JD's Turn To Be Lame And The Difference In Personalities
Judging A Mouth By Its Cover: There Is More To Dental Health Than Meets The Eye 
JD's Leg Injury And Hip Dysplasia 

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you!


  1. I have no experience with HD, and I cannot give you any advice. When I try to stand in your shoes reading what you already have found of, I do know though, if anybody can pull off an alternative treatment instead of surgery, it is you (and Jerry of course).

  2. So sorry you have to even think about these decisions.

    I do not have any experience with this to offer any advice, but I know that you will will do whatever you think is best for JD. I hope he is feeling better soon.

    1. Thank you, Lindsey. He's feeling quite good with the meds, but clearly that's not a long-term solution. So we're mulling over our options.

  3. Surprisingly, none of our Labs have had hip dysplasia...or luckily, I should say. Sally had elbow dysplasia though and we did have surgery. Not the same category as a hip replacement, and we really had now choice since she was limping badly. Pain is so hard to judge in dogs as they hide it so well.

    1. At this stage we are not totally sure yet whether we have no other choice or not. It hasn't been bothering him until the incident. Once this blows over it might not bother him again ... or it might. So that remains to be seen. Right now we're slowly building him up to activity.


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