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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.

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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

Gracie
Australian Shepherd
8 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Difficulty Rising and walking, limp
Difficulty Rising and walking, lmpi
Difficulty Rising and walking
Difficulty Rising

Medication Used

Rimadyl 100 mg daily

My 8 month old Australian Shepherd was just diagnosed with hip dysplasia on her left side. I've now been reading about TPO and it sounds like this would be the way to go due to her age. Will she need future surgeries as she continues to grow? If the vet said the right hip looks fine, would she just need to the surgery on the one side (left) then or do you do both so they match?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2494 Recommendations
Triple pelvic osteotomy is an option for treatment and is typically well tolerated in dogs younger than ten months (but dogs less than a year may be considered) and over 30lbs; there are other criteria which your Veterinarian would need to assess to determine the suitability of Gracie for this procedure and may refer you to an Orthopaedic Specialist. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Oreo
Golden Retriever
5 Months
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Problem up after laying dow

Medication Used

Carodyl 100 + Petjoint

My Golden retriever pup Oreo age 5 months male weight 25kgs has been diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia. Doctors suggested femoral head and neck excision whereas my colleague is considering TPO. I cannot choose. I am worried can u plz guide me.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2494 Recommendations
Femoral head ostectomy and triple pelvic osteotomy are both surgeries used in dogs with hip dysplasia; whilst each case is different and a surgical plan should be made tailored to each patient, I would recommend triple pelvic osteotomy as it is more suitable for a Golden Retriever but if the articular surface is already showing signs of wear or abnormalities then femoral head ostectomy would be the way to go. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Enz
Golden Retriever
6 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Trouble getting up after laying dn
Trouble getting up after laying
Inactivity

Hi, my Golden Retriever is 6 and a half months of age and is a candidate for TPO, since he is still young is there any chance that the Hip Dysplasia go away as the bones eventually continue to grow into place and adapt or will it just get worse with time? Also is TPO performed on both hips at the same time?

Thank you so much.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2494 Recommendations
If Enz is showing signs of hip dysplasia and has been diagnosed on x-ray then surgery is most likely indicated, there are varying degrees of severity but surgery at a young age (less than a year) is the treatment of choice at this stage. Whilst both hips may be corrected at the same time, it is common for one hip to be done followed by the second one six to eight weeks later. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.acvs.org/small-animal/canine-hip-dysplasia

My pup Hugo is 12 months and underwent TPO surgery on both hips.
He's recoverying very well after 3 weeks.

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Tesla
Labrador Retriever
8 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Limping

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
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2494 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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