What is Triple Pelvic Osteotomy?

Some dogs experience very debilitating problems with their hip joints that gradually worsen over the course of their lives. In order to prevent this from happening or to cure the condition, a vet may choose to perform a 'triple pelvic osteotomy'. The procedure entails cutting through the dog's pelvis in three places and rotating the bone down before locking it back into place with a group of metal fixtures. As a result of this, the pelvis will now be positioned in a manner that provides the dog with a more stable hip joint, effectively ending their symptoms.

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Triple Pelvic Osteotomy Procedure in Dogs

Before starting the operation, the vet will sedate the dog with a general anesthetic and then remove the hair from a large portion of the pelvic area and apply an antiseptic solution. The surgeon will then make incisions through the skin on each side of the pelvis and move aside the underlying tissues in order to give the surgeon the best possible view of the bone. They will then use a specialized saw to make three cuts through the bone in order to detach the outer portion of the pelvis on each side. The pieces of bone are then rotated until they reach the suitable angle and are then secured in place using metal plates and screws. Depending on the angle, a bone graft may be taken from elsewhere on the hip to strengthen the join between the pieces of bone. Afterwards, the incisions can be sutured closed, with the procedure having taken roughly two to three hours to complete.

Efficacy of Triple Pelvic Osteotomy in Dogs

It will take some time before the full effects of the surgery become apparent, though the use of metal components allows the dog to resume movement very soon after the operation has been completed. Some owners may be adverse to the idea of realigning the pelvis and as such may seek different methods of treatment. Alternative treatments may include a total hip replacement using prosthetics or a femoral head removal. Whilst both of these can be very effective, they are generally not regarded as suitable for use on younger animals, whilst the triple pelvic osteotomy is expressly intended for puppies.

Triple Pelvic Osteotomy Recovery in Dogs

The dog will need several weeks before it is able to walk confidently again, and will need regular physiotherapy in order to regain full mobility (though owners will normally notice vastly improved joint stability within the space of four weeks). For this reason, the vet will want to book follow-up appointments in order to conduct the physiotherapy and to check that the animal is healing properly. The majority of dogs will make a full recovery within the space of four to six weeks, with the femoral head becoming seated much deeper within the hip joint as more time goes by. Obviously, the owners of the dog will have to restrict their activity for some time following the surgery in order to prevent the sutures from being torn out of the incisions, as well as ensure that the dog receives regular doses of painkillers.

Cost of Triple Pelvic Osteotomy in Dogs

For the procedure to be carried out on both hips, most dog owners can expect to pay in the region of $3,000. The bulk of this cost is due to the extensive time and attention to detail required of the surgeons. In contrast, a full hip replacement can have a price of over $4,5000 due to the expense of obtaining and installing suitable prosthetics. It is worth bearing in mind that if the dog requires additional physiotherapy, this too can increase the cost of treatment by several hundred dollars.

Dog Triple Pelvic Osteotomy Considerations

Although the triple pelvic osteotomy is extremely effective at treating hip dysplasia in younger dogs, some owners may feel somewhat squeamish at the prospect of having such a major surgery conducted on a puppy. The main source of worry is that the re-shaped pelvis will cause pain and discomfort as the animal continues to grow. Fortunately, these fears are unfounded, as the joins between the hip bones and the rest of the pelvis will only strengthen as time passes, improving the overall stability of the area. It is also worth pointing out that as the dog undergoes physiotherapy and starts to exercise again, their musculature will adapt to their new bone structure.

Triple Pelvic Osteotomy Prevention in Dogs

Unfortunately, it is very hard to predict the presence of the genes responsible for hip dysplasia without having direct knowledge of a puppy's parentage. Whilst some larger breeds of dog can be especially prone to the problem, the condition's appearance will usually be a surprise to the majority of owners. This means that surgery is often the only option for dogs suffering from debilitating forms of hip dysplasia.

Triple Pelvic Osteotomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Labrador Retriever
8 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms


We have an 8 mon old lab that will need a Triple Pelvic Osteotomy....what are the percentages of full recovery? Will she be able to go waterfowl hunting? She is a British lab will range full size of about 50 lbs. X rays reveal hip dysplasia

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1485 Recommendations

The success rate for triple pelvic osteotomy is around 90%, this figure includes cases which are ‘improved’; do not expect a 100% recovery but you should expect improvement. I wouldn’t recommend waterfowl hunting and I cannot give you any indications since I haven’t examined Tesla and obviously we haven’t seen the after surgery results. It is important to have the surgery before ten months of age for the best outcome. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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