Help Needed! Hip dysplasia with luxation - FHO vs THR

embulldog

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Feb 18, 2021
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Emmy
Hi everyone. We are longtime readers of this thread, and we thank you for all of your helpful advice.

We have a 10 month old bulldog, who unfortunately after she was spayed had hip luxation (out of socket) on both sides. We absolutely do not blame our vet. On the X-ray there are signs of severe hip dysplasia (our dog was not showing any signs of pain prior) on both sides. What we think happened, was with the relaxation of the muscles with the anesthetic plus the positioning for the spay plus her severe HD, her hips fell out of their socket.

Now we are faced with a very difficult decision. We obviously need to do surgery (medical management not an option for her, given both hips are out of the socket). She is currently happy, excited and playful, eating and drinking well with both hips out.

We have two viable options for surgery.
1) Total hip replacement on one side and then an FHO on the other side. Pros of this THR has 95% return to normal function, i think less pain but there is some controversial evidence and a faster (but more restrictive) recovery time. The cons of this, are an up to 10%-17% risk of complications, of which half of those will need another surgery, it is almost twice as expensive (8-9k/leg), including hospitalization, medications, X-rays). It seems our Em has had pretty much every complication you could have so, we are a bit hesitant about this. Complication risk decreases if we are able to keep her only walking, no running or jumping. She never jumps off furniture anyway and we would just need to control her zooms. We would then do an FHO on the other side, as we cant afford two hip replacements (we have pet insurance, only up to 7500 return, and we do not have 20k sitting around). The surgeon also does not think that he would be able to do a THR on the other side, as the muscles will have likely tightened over time.

2) FHO on both sides - Pros are that there is a much lower complication rate, the recovery is a bit longer, but is less restrictive so more feasible, with appropriate strengthening exercises and anti-inflammatory use, her pain will be limited. It is much more affordable, about 4k/leg and much much lower risk of needing a repeat surgery for complications (this is good from a health and financial perspective). Cons are that she will only return to 75% normal function, there is increased risk of her having pain and I am a bit worried long term pain and function. This is more of a "salvage" procedure for quality of life and pain management, rather than actually fixing the issue.

We are wondering if anyone has been in a similar situation, and what you have done. We don't want to cheap out on her if the THR will have a significant improvement on her quality of life, but there are obviously some financial constraints and concerns with complications. We have already reached out to our breeder, as clearly this severity of hip dysplasia at a young age has a genetic component. They were ??sorta helpful but really just stated that "all bulldogs have hip dysplasia and this has nothing to do with breeding" which is not the case, but I am not willing to get in a battle about this.

I would appreciate any insight you guys may have!! Thank you so much.
 

gobronco

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Dec 16, 2011
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Mila and Bruno
IMHO get a second and maybe a third opinion. is your bully overweight? IMO she should be between 43 ad 48 pounds but I don't know her lineage. we had big problems with Mimi (RIP) growing too fast and causing joint hip problems. Growth management, recommended by a good vet instead of surgery, kept her moving and running until she passed at 11 years old. Bruno walks like a cowboy with loose hips but he still outran me when I had to chase him down the street the other day. we rescued him and put him on a weight management diet but he is still growing at 15 months. Sorry I don't trust when a vet says a bulldog needs hip/leg surgery. at 10 months your bully is still growing. I would look at reducing food intake first. weight management and growth control are really important in keeping a bulldogs joints healthy.
 
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embulldog

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IMHO get a second and maybe a third opinion. is your bully overweight? IMO she should be between 43 ad 48 pounds but I don't know her lineage. we had big problems with Mimi (RIP) growing too fast and causing joint hip problems. Growth management, recommended by a good vet instead of surgery, kept her moving and running until she passed at 11 years old. Bruno walks like a cowboy with loose hips but he still outran me when I had to chase him down the street the other day. we rescued him and put him on a weight management diet but he is still growing at 15 months. Sorry I don't trust when a vet says a bulldog needs hip/leg surgery. at 10 months your bully is still growing. I would look at reducing food intake first. weight management and growth control are really important in keeping a bulldogs joints healthy.

We did get a second opinion! Due to the fact that both hips are fully out of the socket they have agreed that she needs surgery :( second opinion was from a vet who is very familiar with bulldogs. She is actually a great weight, super active before all of this as well. 50lbs (her dad was 88!).
 

helsonwheels

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Jan 10, 2016
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We did get a second opinion! Due to the fact that both hips are fully out of the socket they have agreed that she needs surgery :( second opinion was from a vet who is very familiar with bulldogs. She is actually a great weight, super active before all of this as well. 50lbs (her dad was 88!).
[MENTION=15364]oscarmayer[/MENTION]...
 

gobronco

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Dec 16, 2011
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San Jose, Ca
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Mila and Bruno
We did get a second opinion! Due to the fact that both hips are fully out of the socket they have agreed that she needs surgery :( second opinion was from a vet who is very familiar with bulldogs. She is actually a great weight, super active before all of this as well. 50lbs (her dad was 88!).
Sorry to hear that. Seems like you have a long road ahead of you. Wish her all the best. With her age, I was hoping it might be a puppy growth related issue. btw, where are the pictures of this girl?
 

oscarmayer

Have Bulldog Will Travel
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Jan 20, 2016
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Bilateral hip dysplasia can usually be corrected with FHO surgery. The surgery is fairly quick and, for a young dog, the recovery rapid. Vet will want the patient up and supporting weight soon after surgery. We use a towel(or other means) to help support the back end when going out to potty, etc. The Bulldog is naturally a good candidate for FHO because of its front heavy build. Figure $3500+/- for bilateral FHO...greatly depending on location.
In some cases THR is necessary...much more $$$$
 

EllieMay

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Oct 6, 2019
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Marshall Texas
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Cinder
I had numerous vets tell me that my dog needed surgery at 7months old and just before I was about to go through with it, an acknowledged bulldog specialist convinced me to wait.. it was the best thing I have ever done. They have such a huge growing spurt from 4- 7 months that their ligaments and such can’t always keep up.. if you can restrict activity and load your dog up with hip and joint supplements, you may see a huge change in just a couple months..if not, that’s still plenty of time for a successful surgery..
 

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