What is Closed Reduction?

Closed reduction in dogs is a procedure that entails replacing a dislocated hip back into the socket through manipulation of the limb without surgically exposing the joint. A closed hip luxation procedure always requires general anesthesia and many times, an epidural block. Closed reductions are used to treat canine hip luxation, usually within the first few days following a traumatic luxation. Veterinary professionals perform closed reduction in dogs, selecting patients that do not have any pre-existing hip fractures or hip dysplasia conditions. A dog with hip luxation may display symptoms such as pain, limping, and inability to bear weight on the affected limb. 

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Closed Reduction Procedure in Dogs

Prior to performing the closed reduction procedure, the canine will be anesthetized and placed in lateral recumbency with the affected limb elevated. The veterinarian will place a piece of thick rope underneath the affected limb, positioning this rope in the inguinal area and pulled tight in a dorsal direction. The professional then moves on to put the joint back into place: 

  1. The vet places one hand on the greater trochanter and the other positioned distally on the hock or stifle joint. 
  2. Reduction of the coxofemoral joint can be achieved by rotating the limb when consistent distraction is applied. 
  3. Once the femoral head is in the area of acetabulum, the vet uses the hand on the greater trochanter, pushing caudally and abducted so the limb is internally rotated. 
  4. Once hip reduction is accomplished, the vet then applies firm pressure to the greater trochanter, while at the same time vigorous range of motion on the hip is performed.  
  5. Hip reduction is then assessed by measuring the width of the space between the tuber ischia and the greater trochanter and the restoration of the length of the limb 
  6. The doctor then makes a comparison to the contralateral side as a guide. 
  7. Once the veterinarian is confident he/she has obtained hip reduction, the dog’s limb is shaved, which will promote better efficacy of the Ehmer sling used to support the hip. 
  8. The veterinarian will wrap the leg with soft, flexible bandages and fashion a sling to keep the hip joint in place during the healing process.  

Efficacy of Closed Reduction in Dogs

Closed reduction in dogs has the best prognosis when performed soon after the luxation occurs. Patients with generally good hip health that tolerate exercise restrictions and confinement following the procedure have the best chances of making a full recovery. Reports have shown that approximately 50% of all closed hip reductions are completed successfully. 

Closed Reduction Recovery in Dogs

Following a closed reduction procedure, your veterinarian will recommend a reevaluation of the sling every five to seven days while in place. Slings used in the closed reduction procedure are usually removed after two weeks, after which time, the veterinarian will want to take radiographs of the affected limb to evaluate the hip, then again after a month’s time. If the closed reduction procedure was ineffective to reset the hip joint into the socket, the vet will advise some form of surgical intervention or repair. 

Cost of Closed Reduction in Dogs

The cost to complete a closed reduction in dogs can range from $1,500 to $2,500. However, this cost depends on many factors in the procedures, such as casting, use of anesthesia, and aftercare. 

Dog Closed Reduction Considerations

Closed reduction should not be used in dogs with hip dysplasia or hip fractures, or those that demonstrate recurrence luxation. Potential complications of a closed reduction procedure include recurrence of the luxation, rub sores from the sling, and long-term arthritis in the hip area due to the original trauma.

Closed Reduction Prevention in Dogs

A dog can be affected by hip luxation due to a hereditary defect or as a result of injury. The best preventative method is avoiding traumatic incidences and keeping the canine at a healthy body weight.