Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO)

What is a hip Dysplasia?

Early hip dysplasia (HD) is seen as an increased laxity (looseness) of the hip joint. The late form of HD is characterized by degenerative joint disease (arthritis). Early signs can be diagnosed before 6 months of age, while the late stage is often apparent as soon as 1 year of age.

How is hip dysplasia diagnosed?

Radiographs (x-rays) are required to evaluate the hips. Early HD may not always be clinically apparent, so routine hip radiographs taken at the time of neutering has been recommended, especially in moderate to large breed dogs. Clinical signs of HD are variable. A limp is sometimes seen in one or both rear limbs, but signs may also be more subtle, such as a bunny hopping gait or reluctance to jump or climb stairs.

What if my dog has hip dysplasia?

Many animals have HD but are not demonstrating clinical signs of pain or limping. In many dogs without clinical signs, medical or surgical treatment may not be necessary. However, it is important to diagnose hip dysplasia while in its early form, as surgery can correct the problem and prevent or lessen future arthritis.

What is a triple pelvic osteotomy?

Triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO) is a surgery performed in moderate to large breed dogs with early HD, with the goal of eliminating the laxity of early HD, thus preventing the development of potentially debilitating late HD. A TPO involves cutting the pelvis in 3 places in order to rotate the socket portion of the joint; the effect of surgery is to provide better coverage of the ball portion of the hip joint, which eliminates joint laxity. Most dogs undergoing this procedure are close to 6 months of age, as arthritis is typically apparent by 1 year of age if not earlier. Once arthritis is apparent on radiographs, a TPO can no longer be performed.

What is the recovery like after the procedure?

Dogs will spend roughly 3 nights in the hospital following surgery. Strict rest is required at home for an additional 8 weeks and radiographs are required every 3-4 weeks to document healing of the surgery site.

Is my puppy a candidate for a TPO?

Candidates are dogs over 30 pounds, over 5 months of age and rarely over 1 year of age. If hip looseness is seen on radiographs without evidence of arthritis, the TPO is usually a very good option. A sedated examination is required in addition to the radiographs in order to evaluate the degree of looseness and to determine the degree of correction that would be required with surgery.

What are the complications or risks of this procedure?

Some dogs develop hip arthritis despite this procedure, which may lead to signs of limping later in life. Implant loosening or breakage are potential risks following surgery. However, with strict adherence to our postoperative restricted activity instructions, the chance of having a major complication following surgery is very minimal.

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