• ·  My companion is going for Total Hip Replacement (THR) surgery; now what? Your dog’s hip joint functions similarly to a ball and socket. In a healthy dog the ball (femur head) and socket (pelvis) joint work together, allowing your dog to run and play pain-free. Should an injury or disease occur, this can cause disruption of the normal anatomy, which can result in abnormal joint function. This result can create chronic pain caused by the ball and socket rubbing and grinding on each other.  When there is bone-on-bone contact in the hip joint, a Total Hip Replacement(THR) may be needed. The bone-on-bone contact may be caused by one of the following reasons:
            – A fracture involving the hip joint
            – Hip luxation or dislocation
            – Hip dysplasia
            – Severe arthritis of the hip      
  •  What does the THR surgery involve? This type of surgery entails the removal of the femoral head of the hip joint. This is  replaced with a cobalt-chromium metal alloy ball  The new socket is made from a high-molecular-weight polyethylene plastic.
  • What is the recovery time? Postoperative care for your companion is critical following a THR. Activity levels must be strictly controlled for the first 6 weeks after surgery to allow the new socket to seat well into the pelvic bone. This will be combined with a controlled-leash walking program. Followed by visits to your qualified veterinary physiotherapist as soon as the all-clear has been given by your surgeon. If your companion seems to be in a lot of pain or is not doing well at any point after surgery,return to your surgeon.
  • What can I expect post-surgery? Your dog will be painful. This is a major surgery. Use the medications. Follow veterinary instructions. Your dog will soon start to feel better and want life to return to normal. Do not be tempted to allow unsupervised activities!.
  • What are the post op do’s and don’ts? No running, no jumping, and no rough playing! Avoid stairs and slippery floors. Management of movement is required for a minimum of 6 weeks post-surgery, with the patient going out on a leash for potty breaks. Depending on the dog, this may mean cage rest. Pain management after surgery is very important. Please ensure to use all the medications that have been prescribed until they are finished. It is important to encourage use of the leg as soon as possible and to counteract muscle wastage. A program can be discussed with your veterinary physiotherapist.
  •  What do I need to look out for after the surgery? Around the wound site: swelling, heat, oozing, licking of stitches, worsening of lameness instead of improvement. If any of the above occur, call your veterinarian or surgeon, or return to the practice with your dog. 
  • ·Will my companion need physio? Yes, the patient will require physiotherapy after the surgery. This will help speed up the healing and strengthen the operated limb, setting up the procedure for greater success. When looking for a physiotherapist for your animal companion, please ensure that the service provider you select is registered with or authorised by the South African Veterinary Council.
  • ·When should I book an assessment for my companion? As soon as your companion goes in for surgery, phone and book your assessment for 2 weeks post-op so that we can see your companion at the scheduled time.
  • How long will my companion need to come for physiotherapy? After the assessment, we will book 6 to 8 sessions with a reassessment at the 9th session, where all the measurements will be redone to see what progress has been made and if therapy needs to continue.
  •  How many times a week will my companion need to come for physiotherapy? We recommend a minimum of once a week, but more sessions per week may be needed. This will be discussed at your assessment.
  •  Will my medical aid cover the physiotherapy sessions? Check what is covered within your policy with your Pet Medical Insurance provider.