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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Triple Pelvic Osteotomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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German Shepherd

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Four Months

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Unknown severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Signs Of Hip Dysplasia

My puppy is showing signs of Hip Dysplasia at only 4 months, I fear this means he may end up with a severe case. Thinking of taking him to have TPO surgery.

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If that surgery is done early enough, it can be quite effective for a long-term pain free life. It would be best to have a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon, as there is a small window when they are young as to when it can happen. They will be able to let you know if your dog's age is okay and will be able to assess X-rays and see if that's what's going on. I hope that everything goes well for your dog.

July 26, 2020

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Jag

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Mix

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9 Months

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Serious severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hip Displasia

My nine month old puppy has hip displasia in both hips . His left hip was extremely bad and not a good candidate for TPO , however the right hip is an option . My question is should we do the surgery on the right side and do a total hip emplacement on the left down the road . Or just wait and do a total hip replacement later??

July 18, 2018

Jag's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Without examining Jag and seeing x-rays I cannot make a judgement on what the best course of action would be, your Veterinarian would be in a better position to advise you; if you’re looking for more clarification you should refer to an Orthopaedic Specialist (send the x-rays to PetRays for example) for a second opinion. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 19, 2018

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Rufus

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retriever x

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8 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Clicking
Gait Changes

My retriever x lab puppy is 8 months old. Over the course of the last week I could hear an audible click. I have now narrowed it down to left hip. My vet isn't 100% convinced its HD. Today I took him for a walk around our property (<1Km off teh lead on dirt and grass) and I think I can now see gait changes including bunny hopping and turning his left leg in. I am completely gutted. This pup is my child. In 3 weeks hes booked to be fixed and while hes under they will do xrays. Tonight I laid him on his right side and pushed his leg up then out and I heard the click. Could it be anything else other than HD?

July 18, 2018

Rufus' Owner

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0 Recommendations

Hip dysplasia is a likely candidate but joint laxity or other anatomical issues may cause similar issues; until you get x-rays done I wouldn’t recommend letting Rufus off the lead or having him running, jumping etc… as an increase in activity may cause further damage. Without an x-ray we cannot really diagnose anything. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 19, 2018

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Charlie

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German Shepherd

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10 Months

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Serious severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hip Dysplasia

My furrbaby was diagnosed yesterday with HD in his right leg. I live in a remote community where he will have to travel 17 hours for sugary. The vet is recommending Triple Pelvic Osteotomy. But I am very worried about recovery and not having the proper resources where I live. I’m really not sure what to do right now. He has been put on deramaxx 75mg half twice a day. I have ordered a product called extend that I have heard great things about. I don’t want him to be in pain meds forever but I don’t know if surgery is the best thing either. Just looking for some ideas and opinions.

July 15, 2018

Charlie's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Without examining Charlie and seeing x-rays I cannot fully weigh in but triple pelvic osteotomy is a treatment of choice in some cases in younger dogs; you should discuss this with the Veterinarian which will perform the surgery and go through your options. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 15, 2018

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Loki

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Multigenerational Australian Labradodle

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1 Year

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Stiffness
Gait
Hip Subluxation

My dog is 12.5 months old and we just confirmed he has HD, after wondering for several weeks, and will be seeing a surgeon ASAP regarding a TPO. There are no signs of arthritis yet but he only has about 15% contact in his left hip, ~30% right. He was from a litter of 13 whose father had excellent hips and mother had good hips according to their OFA rating. I am in contact with 4 other owers from within the litter. They don't see any of the instability and stiffness in their dogs. Should they be concerned and get X-rays?

June 15, 2018

Loki's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Given the severity of Loki's dysplasia, it would probably be a good idea to have the rest of the litter at least examined by their veterinarians, and x-rays if warranted. The rest of the litter may not be affected, but it is possible, and some degrees of dysplasia aren't always obvious.

June 16, 2018

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Willa

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Pain
Walking Tenderly
Joint Pain
Sore Hips

We have been told our 6 month puppy Lab has HD in both hips and they suggested TPO. Now they are saying alot of referral companies do not do this anymore as it tend not to be successful and I am very confused. Has anyone else heard this before?

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Boomer

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Goldendoodle

dog-age-icon

10 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Limping
Limping,Hip Dysplasia

My Goldendoodle is 10 months old, he was walking , running and jumping fine till he injure himself ( just slipped while he ran) to catch a ball in our yard like 4 weeks ago. We took him to the vet and after xrays they said he has a slip hip disclocation and are recommending TPO or FHO. He is on 50mg remedyl twice a day now plus i give him joint supplements. He is limping He currently weight 53lbs and i can send his xrays if needed Is surgery the only way for this or any other medical help can be done, Please advise

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