What is Hip Luxation?
Hip luxation often happens with severe trauma such as a car accident but has been known to happen to some dogs in play, sports or on common household stairs. Because trauma can happen anywhere, there is no way to entirely eliminate the risk for your dog. However, dogs genetically prone to hip dysplasia are at more risk. Retrievers, both Labrador and Golden are prone to hip dysplasia, as well as large breed dogs such a the German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Great Dane, Newfoundland, and St. Bernard. If buying a dog from a breeder, ask to see the bitch and the stud’s OFA certification of healthy hips. This does not guarantee that the puppy will be without hip problems but it can help significantly. Responsible breeders will be happy to show you this information.
Although controversial, especially among rescue organizations, studies show that waiting until after puberty to spay or neuter your dog helps to ensure proper frame growth and reduce the risk of hip dysplasia. Careful attention to what you dog eats, especially from the age of three to ten months, can help. A high-calorie diet can cause frame growth too fast for cartilage to keep up. Dogs who are free fed are more likely to become overweight and develop hip dysplasia and possibly luxation.
Coxofemoral luxation is the dislocation of the hip joint. The femur, or ball joint, is displaced from the acetabulum, or hip socket. In this process, the dog experiences a severe ligament tear and often muscle damage as well.
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Symptoms of Hip Luxation in Dogs
The most striking and common symptom of hip luxation in a dog is the sudden refusal to bear weight on the limb. The limb will most likely be turned inward and a appear short. It is also possible for the limb to be held away from the body depending on the type of luxation, or which way the femur is pulled.
- Unable to weight bear
- Limb at an odd angle
- Vocalization of pain
Craniodorsal luxation is the most common type of luxation , accounting for approximately 80% of luxation. Craniodorsal luxation happens when the femur is pulled upwards.
Caudoventral luxation, seen less often, is when the femur is pulled down. Dogs under the age of one are less likely to suffer from luxation but are more likely to fracture their hip when they do.
Causes of Hip Luxation in Dogs
- Car accident
- Dog sports
- Hip dysplasia
- High BMI (body to mass Index)
- Early frame growth
- Poor breeding practices
- Free feeding
Diagnosis of Hip Luxation in Dogs
Your veterinarian can likely diagnose hip luxation with a physical exam, especially with a known traumatic event. An x-ray may be helpful to identify other injuries. In order for the femur to be dislocated the round ligament in the knee must be torn. Other tearing of ligaments and muscle can occur at the same time.
Treatment of Hip Luxation in Dogs
Hip Luxation can be treated with closed or open reduction. Either way, treatment should be sought quickly to prevent further tissue damage. In most cases, closed reduction is attempted first. If unsuccessful, it does not appear to affect open reduction. In closed reduction, your veterinarian will attempt to put the femoral head back into place without surgery. In this case, the dog is put under general anesthesia, laid on a table and the veterinarian attempts to physically manipulate the joint. A figure of eight bandage is then applied to the dog to keep weight off the limb and to maintain for up to two weeks. The dog is put on crate restriction during this time.
If unsuccessful or depending on the severity of the case you may choose surgical open reduction. In surgery, your veterinarian will be able to remove soft tissue obstructing the joint. Generally, the ligament is artificially replaced is a procedure called transarticular pinning. If neither open or closed reduction is successful the dog may undergo a total hip replacement.
Recovery of Hip Luxation in Dogs
Closed hip luxation unfortunately in many cases does not work. Open hip luxation has a success rate of 85% to 90%. Chronic lameness due to arthritis developing in the joint is seen in about 35% of cases. Keeping excess weight off of your dog will help in all cases. Because you’ll want to prevent trauma from recurring, doggie daycare or off leash hikes may not be the best exercise program. Portion control of meals and multiple, daily leashed walks will be key.
Hip Luxation Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My 11 week old pug puppy has suffered a sub-luxation to a hip on one leg (cause unknown). She had closed reduction within a few hours of onset and sent home in an ehmer sling. She's on metacam, but all she does is sleep and is really not herself. It's been 28 hours since the procedure. Should I be worried or is this normal recovery?
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Its actually knee luxation( wasn't on the list) . She doesn't use the leg of which ever knee is out at the time. They both go out off and on all day. Sometimes she'll cry or yelp. Sometimes if both go at the same time her backside will collapse.
Patellar luxation comes in varying severity, it sounds like Daphne is around grade 3. Surgery would be the best way to permanently correct this problem especially as it seems to happen frequently and causes her pain. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
Can tge vet determine with xrays wgich option open or closed is warrabted?
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