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Dog Dislocated Hip: The Ultimate Guide in How to Care for Them

Hip dislocation, also known as hip luxation, is a condition where a dog has a dislocated hip. This often painful and sometimes unpreventable condition is something that can happen to any breed of dog. Some dog breeds are more prone to hip dysplasia and dislocation than others. 

What is hip dislocation in dogs? 

Not all dog hip injury leads to a dislocated hip.A dislocation happens when the acetabulum is no longer attached to the dog's femoral head. In simple terms, hip dislocation in dogs is when the hip's ball pulls out of the hip socket. This injury is often the result of blunt force trauma such as collisions with cars, falls, and getting stuck in fences or other structures. 

 Some dogs suffer from hip dysplasia, a condition wherein the hip ball and socket development does not form correctly. The joint and socket do not fit together correctly, often leading to dog hip dislocation. While dislocation can happen to any breed at any time, hip dysplasia develops in growing dogs. Dogs with hip dysplasia suffer similar symptoms and often suffer from an early age. 

How can you spot hip dislocation in your dog?

There are several telltale symptoms of hip dislocation in dogs. Some symptoms of a dog suffering with a dislocated hip include the following: 

  • A sudden onset limp
  • Sudden onset lameness
  • Reluctance to walk or jump onto furniture; your dog might try to lie down as much as possible
  • Signs of pain to touch, or movement of the affected joint
  • Swelling of the joint and the area around it, with warmth to touch 
  • Licking of the affected area 
  • Tucking of the leg
  • Rotated leg when standing
  • Change in appetite - usually a decrease 
  • Lowered or decreased activity level
  • Hip pain in dogs can also cause behavioral changes due to pain

If you suspect any possible hip dislocation in your pup, contact your vet who will be able to diagnose and treat it with various therapies. Ensure that you take note of any falls or injuries, and monitor your dog carefully, as it is not always a dislocation isn’t always instant. Several small injuries over some time could lead to a severe injury, such as a dislocated hip. The good news is that a dislocation can heal, with minor long term issues and a few lifestyle adjustments.

How to diagnose a dislocated hip?

Any animal that has had a fall or was hit by a vehicle, has to be taken to a vet for a check-up. Often injuries can go unnoticed or overlooked, leading to suffering and long-term damage, and we definitely don’t want our pooches in pain. You must take your little one to the vet. A veterinarian will base their diagnosis on several factors. 

Due to the force required to dislocate a hip (that is not affected by hip dysplasia), internal organs, like the heart, lungs, and urinary system, could be injured. Orthopedic attention with the help of x-rays will help establish damage done in those regions and any damage to the joint. Your vet might also conduct bloodwork to establish any pre-existing health conditions and evaluation of organ processes.

Can a dislocated hip heal on its own? 

If you find yourself wondering, can a dog live with a dislocated hip, the answer is yes, it absolutely can! With a little extra care and a slight lifestyle adjustment, your pooch will be able to live a good life, even with a dislocated hip.

A dog hip out of socket injury cannot resolve itself. It does require the diagnosis and treatment by a trained veterinarian. The two main types of treatment for dog dislocated hip symptoms are Closed and Open reduction. A vet will most likely opt for a 'closed reduction' before opting for the more invasive 'open reduction' route. 

How do you treat hip displacement in dogs?

There are several ways to reduce and treat the symptoms of a dislocated hip in dogs. Two of the main ways to treat it immediately are Open and Closed reduction. Treatments work in conjunction with other supportive lifestyle changes. 

Closed reduction is the first port of call for any dog with a hip injury. The vet will manually realign and replace the hip joint into the socket without surgical intervention. Pets will be sedated and given anesthesia. The procedure has a 50% success rate, with 50% of patients re-dislocating the hip at a later stage. 

The other alternative is Open reduction, where the vet can reconstruct the ligament with prosthetic joints and pins. The pins will hold the joint in place. Alternatively, if the joint's ball is removed in a femoral head osteotomy, it will be supported by soft tissue, reducing friction between bones. For severe cases, some vets might recommend a complete hip replacement. 

Post dislocation care 

After a hip dislocation treatment, there are some changes that you will need to make to your pet's life. Consider adding a joint-care supplement to support all joints post corrective procedures of a dislocated hip. Dog breeds vary, and certain types are more likely to develop hip problems that can lead to painful dislocations.

Breeds that commonly suffer from hip dysplasia include: 

  • Rottweilers
  • Bulldogs
  • Mastiffs 
  • American Staffordshire terriers 
  • St. Bernards
  • Great Danes
  • Pugs 
  • French bulldogs

Several therapies are beneficial in the recovery period. 

  • Bed Ramps - non-slip ramps are the perfect solution to reducing the amount of strain placed on an injured hip. A ramp is also an excellent preventative measure for pets with pre-existing minor hip or joint problems. Jumping on furniture and onto beds can worsen any hip conditions. 
  • Physical therapy - A physical therapist can tailor a program suited to your pupster’s individual needs, support their recovery, and help rebuild any damaged or weak muscles. 
  • Joint supplements - With the addition of joint support supplements to your dog's diet, the body can begin internally repairing any damage done. Supplements can aid in the reduction of inflammation and pain. 
  • Swimming -  this non-invasive therapy can help develop strong muscle support for dogs that suffer from pain. 
  • Anti-inflammatory medications -  Medications can reduce inflammation and provide fast relief from tender and swollen joints. 

A dislocated hip is not the end of the world

A dislocated hip is not the end of the world; it is the start of a more supported life. Thanks to research with proper care, enough love, and understanding, your pup will recover with minimal suffering.

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