Hip Dislocations

Hip_luxation_2 So here we are with our hip joint back in place, taped up in a "sling", but still under anesthesia.  It usually takes a lot of force to dislocate that ball-and-socket joint, so it’s unusual to have a big dog like this with her hip dislocated and no other major injuries.  If there’s that much force, it usually breaks a few other things, too.  Calli here just has some road-rash and minor cuts to go with her injury.

Hip_out_side2 We medical professionals call this a "coxo-femoral luxation".  "Dislocated hip" just doesn’t sound scientific enough for us cool guys.  Most can be replaced without surgery (though some cannot).  Most of the time, the head of the femur (the "ball") is displaced in front and above the socket.  Then the muscles lock up in a spasm, so that even under anesthesia it is really hard to manipulate things back to their normal alignment.  You have to fatigue the muscles by pulling on them and manipulating the hip.   Bigger dogs have bigger muscles and are more difficult to manipulate. It took about 45 minutes for this one on Saturday night (which is unusually long).  I began to wonder whether my own muscles would turn into dishrags before Calli limbered up enough to pop back in place.   It reminded me of when I had my shoulder dislocated the first time — a complete separation, they called it.  The next day my wrist hurt worse than my shoulder (I think they pulled on it pretty hard when they put things back in place).  It didn’t hurt as badly as the shoulder did when it was displaced, though.

Sometimes it feels almost right, so you stop and take an X-ray.  It’s still out, so back to the tug-of-war.  When you finally get it right, everything moves smoothly and the muscles relax.  You push hard while you manipulate the hip so that you mash the blood clots out of the socket and make room for the femoral head.  Then you tape things up.  Those muscles and ligaments are really stretched out, and they need time to tighten up and heal a little before the dog puts weight on the limb.

Most dogs return to normal activity in a couple of weeks.  That hip may get arthritis before the other one, but not for a few years (we hope).

Calli went home with her sling, instructions to rest (on a 10-months old Lab: good luck with that!) and pain meds, of course.  We’ll be rechecking her soon.

314 thoughts on “Hip Dislocations

  1. Vicki McPhee says:

    Unfortunately my sister has been unemployed for over 2 years and loosing her home. Her girls (her 2 dogs are her children). One jumped on the bed and popped her hip out of place an she has no money to get it fixed. Any suggestions?

  2. Doc says:

    Hello, Vicki,

    Replacing a dislocated hip is rather difficult, even when it’s fresh, and the dog is anesthetized. It’s something you are unlikely to be able to accomplish with home remedies.

    The only thing that I can suggest is to try to control the animal’s pain. In the initial 24 to 48 hours, you would use a cold compress to limit swelling. After that, warm compresses help keep the muscles relaxed.

    I cannot really prescribe medicine for animals I have not seen.
    Over-the-counter pain medications have drawbacks for long-term use.

    However, most dogs can tolerate one regular-strength aspirin or one regular-strength tylenol for forty pounds of body weight. A ten-pound dog would take 1/4 tablet. Using this dose two to three times daily for a week or less should be safe for most dogs.

    Ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) are not considered safe for use in dogs.

    I am sorry that I cannot give you a simple answer. In time, the dog’s pain will subside. It may or may not form a false joint and use the leg. It may just wind up carrying the leg, but being relatively free from pain.

    Good luck.

  3. Sissy's Mama says:

    My dogs hip was dislocated for about 9 days before we had realized what was wrong with her. She is a 4 year old, 50 pound, bull dog who loves to hog hunt and was bit by a hog on her back leg, we thought she was just sore. I immediately took her to the vet, after I realized what was wrong with her, and he did the procedure to “pop” it back into place. She’s on rest for 10 days and then she’ll be checked again. We live in a small town where there’s not much of a choice in vets, and I was told there’s a 50% chance her hip will come out again. Do you think it is likely it will come out again? We have already decided to “retire” her from hunting.

  4. Doc says:

    Hello, Sissy’s Mom,

    The reason that your veterinarian gave you the 50/50 thing is because the hip stayed out so long. The supporting structures really got stretched, and a lot of gunk filled in the socket. The longer she waits before putting pressure on it, the more likely that things will tighten up and it will stay in.

    If it doesn’t stay in, it might eventually form a “false joint”, where the ball of the femoral head finds a spot in the muscles that doesn’t hurt much. The muscles and tendons will support the dog’s weight, even though the hip isn’t in the socket.

    On the other hand, you could get a bone-on-bone situation, and that is painful. The dog would probably not bear much weight on the leg in that situation.

    It is possible to do an orthopedic surgery, using pins and wires and so forth to hold the hip in place. That takes a pretty good bone surgeon, and it wouldn’t be cheap.

    Another alternative (though it’s not as good for big dogs as small ones) is to amputate the ball part of the femoral head. That gets rid of the bone-on-bone rub (source of pain), and most dogs get around pretty well with just the muscle and tendon attachment to the rest of the leg.

    I hope this helps you with your questions.

    Good luck.

    • luna says:

      hello! my 6 year old dog pomeranian dislocated her hip yesterday night. she fell off my bed. my bed is not so high and it is about 7 inches high. we went to the doctor this morning and doc popped it back to place. doc told us to keep her in a cage for approximately 2 months to prevent her from running and jumping around. is it possible for her to be normal *walking, running, jumping* after two months in a cage? how long does it take for her to fully recover? is it okay to let her walk and run after recovering??

      • Doc says:

        Hello, Luna,
        Keep your doctor posted about the dog’s progress. He/she needs your feedback in order to best help you.

        While two months seems like a long time, there are plenty of “puppy mill” breeding dogs that spend most of their lives in cages, and they are still able to get around okay (physically), once they get an opportunity.

        Sometimes we attempt to keep the leg in a non-weight-bearing position by taping it up in a “sling” arrangement. These are hard to keep in place, and often rub sores on the leg.

        What we are trying to do is to keep stress off the joint while the structures stressed by the dislocation have a chance to heal.

  5. Minky's sis says:

    hi, I just recently adopted a dog. She is an 8 year old Volpino Italiano, she is very small. She was running, slipped and fell. She (i believe) dislocated her left hip. I will not be gettin paid until the weekend. I have given her some pain meds. but I don’t think that I will have enough money to afford her vet bills. and suggestions on what to do..with out having to try and “pop” her hip on place?

  6. Doc says:


    Over the counter pain meds are a little risky in dogs. For short term use, they can tolerate one baby aspirin per 10 pounds of body weight, or one children’s tylenol per 10 pounds body weight, two to three times daily.

    Ibuprofen and Aleve (naproxen) can cause bleeding ulcers.

    Hip dislocations are very unusual unless there is some pretty heavy force trauma (rather than just slipping and falling). If this were actually the case, there’s no way you could replace it without general anesthesia.

    That type of sudden onset lameness occurs more often when you damage a ligament in the knee joint.

    If you can determine a painful area, cold compresses (ice water, not ice) applied for 20 minutes,three times a day, can help to reduce swelling and discomfort. Cold should be applied in the first 48 hours.

    After that, heat applied for 20 minutes three times a day helps improve circulation in the area and speed healing.

    If something is torn, broken or dislocated, there’s no substitute for surgery, unfortunately.

  7. bianca king says:

    hi i have a toy poodle, 4 years old. he’s hyper active and likes to dart around when he’s excited. i came home yesterday at midnight to him limping and crying. our nanny said he had been like that for about 6 hours already (since the later afternoon). i rushed him to the vet. his hip was dislocated and i had to go back this morning so the senior surgeon can perform closed reduction about 20 hours after the supposed accident no one saw.

    the vet said it’ll pop back in but if it falls out with a small push, we have to operate. it fell out a few times and i said no to surgery because i believed my dog is an extraordinarily healthy dog who can heal organically with some vitamins and bed rest. he said we wait a week and if it still falls out, i have no choice but to do the surgery.

    after reading a bunch of articles, i learned that if u wait, it can form a false joint that may cause dog to never walk normally again. plus surgery is a quick fix that will heal in 2 weeks as opposed to monitoring a closed reduction every week for 6 weeks then finding out that its still not holding together.

    i dont know if my decision was smart but i just didnt want to cut my dog open right away. if it turns out im doing him more harm by waiting, im open to the surgery. i just need more professional opinions. and i cant bare to see my dog depressed.

  8. Doc says:

    Hello, Bianca,

    There is always the potential for complications with any surgical procedure. Nobody can guarantee success.

    However, your dog is more likely to return to normal function and have less pain (in the long run), if he does have the surgery.

    Without the surgery, he will probably walk, but it will never be right.

    If you are uncertain about your veterinarian’s recommendation, ask for a referral to an orthopedic specialist for a second opinion.

    Reading stuff on the internet gives you a lot of information, but sometimes the information is not correct. In any case, it’s no substitute for a hands-on examination of the patient.

    Good luck.

  9. Amckane says:

    I own a 10 year old chocolate lab. My son was throwing a toy for her in the house when she all of a sudden layed down. She had no whimper or yelp. She allows me to touch her but she will not put any pressure on her back left leg. I am unable to do anything until this weekend. I am curious about a popping sounds her leg makes when she somewhat bends it at the knee. I see no swelling on her leg or hip. What else should I look for? She appears to be in no pain trying to walk around and wagging her tail as always just not walking on leg.

  10. Doc says:

    It’s always difficult to make a diagnosis without seeing the animal.

    I would guess from your description that the most likely diagnosis would be damage to the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee joint. This usually requires surgical repair to restore the dog’s leg to normal use.

    Do NOT give Ibuprofen or Aleve or any other human-type pain reliever without consulting your veterinarian, as dogs can suffer severe side-effects from them (such as bleeding ulcers in the stomach, and kidney damage).

    Your best bet is to get the dog to her doctor as soon as you can.

    Good luck.

  11. Ana says:

    Hi there,

    my 13 year old Golden Retriever was hit by a car tow days ago. I put her into my car and rushed her to the verts. Luckily she “just” dislocated her hip and nothing was broken.

    The next day they narcotized her and relocated her hip. Now her leg is in a sling.

    The doctor said that her hips lock great (despite her age and race) and that in general there is a 50% chance that she will do fine without surgery.

    I am scarded that the hip will pop out again. My dog is old and she has arthrosis in her forelegs, and I’m not sure she could that the surgery and the weeks and months of recovery and physio therapy.

    At the moment she seems absolutely fine, she even started to roll around in the garden (what she loves to do), but I’m not sure if this “rolling around” could damage the healing process of my dog?

    Is there really just a 50’% chance?

  12. Doc says:

    Hello, Ana,

    I believe that your veterinarian is trying to be conservative in the prognosis. The odds are likely better than 50/50, but there is certainly a possibility that the hip won’t stay in. You have to be prepared for that.

    Watch out for any rubbing or chafing with the sling.

    As long as the leg/sling doesn’t get caught on something, the rolling shouldn’t cause problems.

    We just need to keep weight off the leg while those stretched-out tendons, muscles and ligaments heal and tighten up again.

    Good luck.

  13. Alison says:

    I got a lab from a rescue just after thanksgiving. He had been hit by a car in sept. and had an fho surgery on Oct. 5. When we got him it was almost 2 months after his surgery. I have not seen much improvement in his leg since then. Today it seems much worse than usual. How long will his recovery take and should I be concerned that there has not been more improvement?

  14. Doc says:

    Hello, Alison,

    I would expect the dog to be much improved by this time. Certainly, with the loss of the femoral head we could expect some difficulties from time to time. Really, though, I would expect him to be a lot better now.

    If he just needed occasional anti-inflammatory medicine (like Rimadyl), I think that would be about par for the course. If he is just having trouble all the time, then I would ask your veterinarian to evaluate the situation.

    There may be some complication in healing, or there may even be another problem that needs to be addressed.

    I think it’s time for a recheck exam with your veterinarian.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  15. Gwen says:

    Hi. I own a 3yr old male Chihauhau. He was hit by a car 2 days ago and now I believe his hip is dislocated. He is not eating now as well. I cannot afford to take him to the vet, so what do you recommend?

  16. Doc says:

    Hello, Gwen,

    If nothing else, I suspect that the dog needs something for pain. I cannot prescribe for him long distance, unfortunately.

    I am concerned that he may have other injuries besides the obvious lameness.

    I understand that money can be tight, but he really needs to get looked at by a doctor.

    Best wishes.

  17. Nina says:

    Hello Dr,

    Three weeks ago my 13 lb dog was hit by a car and ended up with a dislocated hind leg. We immediately took her to the vet, x rays were taken, and he performed the closed reduction on her. Unfortunately the joint popped back out not too long after. Since last week my dog started putting more and more weight onto her dislocated leg. She is actually walking normally on it but holds the leg up when running, she is almost back to her old active self. Could this mean she has started to form a false joint and her pain is subsiding? Im trying to decide if I should put her through painful (not to mention expensive!) surgery that will result in a long period of rehab or leave her in the current condition.

  18. Doc says:

    Hello, Nina,

    A small dog like this often does form a false joint and return to normal function.

    You should really discuss this with your veterinarian, as he/she is much more familiar with your dog’s situation.

    Good luck.

  19. Nicole says:

    My mom’s dog was hit by a car a few days ago and when brought to the vet she found out that the dog’s hip was dislocated. At the time the vet put the joint back into place, but said if it popped out again that FHO surgery was recommended. Well her hip has popped out again and FHO surgery just seems so hit or miss I am hoping to hear there may be other options. The dog is lab around 75lbs. and from what I have been reading is the surgery is less successful on breeds over 50lbs. The dog is close to 3 years old and typically very active with running, jumping and swimming. Hoping to get another opinion on this situation.

  20. Doc says:

    Hello, Nicole,

    Your veterinarian is probably better able to assess the situation than anyone else who has not seen your dog.

    Other options include surgical repair of the dislocation, or even a total hip replacement.

    You are correct in saying that larger dogs do not have as good a result from FHO as smaller dogs. However, I have seen some large dogs do pretty well with it.

    You might ask your veterinarian for referral to an orthopedic specialist for a second opinion. The specialist will need to see the dog and the X-rays, though.

    Good Luck.

  21. Richard says:

    Driving home after walking my dog, the car in front of me hit a stray puppy. I took it to the vet that day. After x-rays, and a huge vet bill, I found out she had a dislocated hip, and a slight fracture in her pelvis. After 4 weeks she is off the sling and still holding her leg up.
    She is unable to completely stretch out her leg. She can’t stretch out her elbow. Why is this? How can i get her on four legs so she is more adoptable? I do not have a swimming pool rehabilitate her.

  22. Doc says:

    Hello, Richard,

    You really need to call the veterinarian about this. They may recommend some mild physical therapy, like gently flexing and stretching the affected legs.

    I really cannot recommend treatment for a dog I haven’t seen.

    Ask them about supporting her with a big towel like a sling so that she can start using her legs a little.

    Good luck.

  23. Heather says:

    I’ve read every question and answer, but none of them are directly related to mine. I have taken in a stray dog (she appears to be a rat terrier mix, maybe a bit of dachshund). She weighs about 20 lbs. She is quite old, by the looks of her teeth and the amount of sleeping she does.

    I believe she had her back right hip dislocated at some point as it just doesn’t look “right.” It seems to stick out to the side more than the other back hip, and she walks funny. Not necessarily a limp, but just not right. However, I have rubbed/touched it (none too gently at times) to try to feel her out for any pain. She never indicates she’s in pain. She eats/drinks/potties normally. She rolls around on the bed, in the yard, etc.

    Reading the other answers in this thread makes me think perhaps she formed a false joint. I just moved into a new house, just graduated college, etc. In other words, I am not in possession of large sums of money for surgery. Do you think it may be fine to leave her as she is? It could have been years ago that this happened to her, who knows.

  24. Doc says:

    Hello, Heather,
    It does sound to me as though the dog has formed a false joint. If she gets around fine and seems free of pain, then I don’t know that anything needs to be done. An X-ray would tell the tale.
    My only concern is that perhaps there is some other type of mass in the area making the hip “look funny”, such as a tumor that needs to be dealt with.
    If you see the area growing, changing, etc., then I would definitely get it looked at.
    Good luck.

  25. Pam Holloway says:

    Thanks Doc for all your help. I’m in a similar boat with 11 year old Jack Russell. Dislocated his hip and had it put back in place and in a sling for a couple of weeks. Once out, he slowly started to put some weight on it, but not consistently. Some days he seems better, other days not using it at all. I am trying to avoid more xrays and trips to the vet if he’s not in pain, but I don’t want to screw anything up by ignoring the limp. Is it normal to still be limping after 4 or 5 weeks? If it is back out, assume my only choice is expensive surgery? He seems to be his same energetic and happy self on 3 legs. 🙂

  26. Doc says:

    I would hope that after four or five weeks the dog would be returning to normal function. If he is not, then it’s pretty hard to tell whether he is just suffering the after-effects or the hip is actually out of place again.
    At this late date, just replacing the ball in the socket would not be helpful.
    If it is out of socket again, and the dog cannot use the leg, then I’m afraid that surgery is your only avenue.

  27. TigerRyan07 says:

    Hey Doc,

    My wife and I took our 3 year old treeing walker coonhound (she is about 90lbs)to the park near our house for some exercise. A friend was there with two of his dogs, one of which is a puppy (~30lb yellow lab mix). My dog’s leg accidentally got tangled up with the puppy’s leg while playing, and the puppy started yelping and couldn’t put any weight on her back leg. After ~30minutes, the dog was able to walk home but was still limping pretty good. Think it could be a hip dislocation, or more likely just a bruise? Thanks!

  28. Doc says:

    It usually takes a very heavy trauma to dislocate a hip, but sometimes you hit it “just right” like cutting a diamond. It is unlikely that the dog would be bearing any weight on the leg at all immediately after a hip dislocation.
    You could certainly have bruising or strain or sprain (stretching and damaging of ligaments and muscle).
    If the dog is not much improved in 24 hours, you should get the hip X-rayed.
    Good luck.

  29. April says:

    I have a 6 yr old Queensland Heeler whom unfortunately decided to leap off of the side of my truck (While we were unloading hay)… she landed on a bale below her and Dislocated her hip. This all happened Tuesday night, We live in a small town and i took her to the nearby vet right away Wednesday morning. After charging me a huge vet bill and not getting to her for over 24 hours (didn’t pick her up till Thursday), he said “i don’t do orthopedics, but i think it’ll be fine, just keep her activity to a minimum.” She is only 30 pounds (small for a heeler), and he sent her home with Tramadol 50Mg, and Rimadyl 75mg. He never taped or bandaged her leg, and actually had her limping around the clinic when I got there. Now I’ve noticed after a lot of research that she should have probably had a Ehmer sling, or something to help stabilize the leg. Is it too late to take her to a different vet, to stabilize the leg, or do a closed reduction? I dont think i can get her in until Tuesday, which makes it 7 days from the time of injury, and 5 days from the original “attempt” my other vet to do a closed reduction. (which upon viewing the x-ray the hip was still a sub-luxation). This dog has good hips on her, and no displacia. She is still not bearing any weight on the leg, which in one way is good, but will lay on it, and use it to get up which worries me that it will dislocate again. Would love your advice on this before i make the 2 hr drive to a different vet office.

  30. Doc says:

    Hello, April,

    The use of the Ehmer sling has become controversial. If improperly applied, it can create problems of its own. Many orthopedists prefer to simply restrict the dog’s activity by crating it instead.

    If the hip has been out of the socket for a week, closed reduction is unlikely to be successful at this point. The structures are stretched, and the socket is full of junk.

    A small dog may eventually form a “false joint” and use the limb, but it would certainly be preferable to have it back in the socket. At this point, it will probably require an orthopedic surgery to get the hip to stay in place.

    Long term results will be best if you consult a veterinarian who does a lot of orthopedic work.

    Best wishes.

  31. JohnVV says:

    My puppy hdislocated her hip and its been about a week and a half we realized. the vet thought it was growing pains because she is a german shepherd. we x-rayed her and found out it was dislocated. i do not have enough money for surgery. i was wondering if i leave it as is, will the pain eventually go away and she will just be carrying her leg?

    if i give her to the adoption shelter, since they have a hospital they are connected to to get their dogs fixed before adoption, will they give my puppy surgery if i give my puppy away?

  32. Doc says:

    Hello, John,
    You ask questions that are difficult for me to answer. With a small dog, she might very well develop a “false joint”, where the hip is supported by muscle attachment alone. In a large breed dog, this is less likely to provide a serviceable limb. I would expect arthritis problems and pain and lameness.

    A good orthopedic specialist could tell you more after looking at your dog and your X-rays.

    As to what the shelter would do, you would just have to ask them. Most have limited resources, and their hospital facilities are directed toward doing the most good for the greatest number of dogs. I do not know whether they would have the resources available to allocate to a major surgery. You would just have to ask them.

    Best wishes.

  33. JD says:

    With a dislocated hip, will it make a “popping” noise as the dog ambulates? I also feel asymmetry between the right and left hips. On the right side, she favors the leg, the femoral head(??) is felt on palpation and there is the associated popping.

    She has a history of some mild hip dysplasia and mild arthritic changes in the hips (as of her last x-rays about 2 months ago). She is a 9 year old lab-mix. ACL repair one year ago, same leg.

    I am trying to decide between taking her in now to the emergency vet, or wait until Monday morning when her normal vet will be available.

  34. Doc says:

    Hello, J.D.,

    You certainly describe what sounds like a dislocated hip.

    Sometimes you can’t tell without a good X-ray.

    If it just happened, I’d want it looked at as soon as possible. That would give a much better chance of being able to do closed reduction and have the hip stay in place.

    Good luck.

  35. kristy says:

    Hi Doc.

    So my first child, a 14 yr old lab mix, decided to go head first down a steep slope to reach the river when her rear leg tangled in tree roots and dislocated the joint. The vet briefly went over the x-ray and heavily pushed for surgery, removal of part of the femur to build a false joint. He said that 80-90% of joints would pop out of place if that were the remedy. His numbers seem a bit steeper than what I’ve read. And his bedside manner wasn’t great.

    I guess I’m wondering what you would do. My hound-dog has become more sedentary this year and I would like to believe that if popped back into place and put in a sling, we could get that old joint to build it’s own muscles back…without losing half the femur knob.

    We will be seeing a new vet tomorrow, but what would YOU do? I know every dog and every parent is different…but let’s just say this was your old girl who still has several good years left in her…

  36. Doc says:

    Hello, Kristy,

    I am very ill-equipped to advise you, as I have seen neither your dog nor your X-ray, and I am by no means an orthopedic specialist.

    With a dog of this age, the best advice I can give you would be to see an orthopedic specialist.

    Best wishes.

  37. kristy says:

    Hi, kristy again…

    Just wanted to let you, and well, others out there know that after visiting the second veterinarian (who happens to be an orthopedic specialist) my 14 year old lab mix is on her way to healing. Because we came in soon enough after the dislocation, and it was a clean “unhinge”, as it were, the doctor was able to put the femur back into it’s joint. Legend is now slung tightly with strict regulations on her movement for the next ten days while her body mends itself. And of course, we will be carefully watching what she does for a while to come. I just wanted to share this in case anyone else believes that their dog is awesome enough to take care of business. Without surgery or being on meds for the rest of their life. Legend is most certainly in a league of her own. As I’m sure most pet people feel about their own pets.

    Thanks doc. This forum helped me comfortably decide which road to take.

  38. Brenda says:

    hi what does a dislocated hip look like? Can a dog walk on it? What are the symptoms? Would she sit on it? Our dog got run over a week ago, we took her to the vet the day after and the vet said she seemed ok just really swollen. We did not get xrays so I’m starting to get scared because she is still crying and trying to lick her hip, but she can’t reach it.

  39. Doc says:

    Hello, Brenda,

    The hip may look “higher” on one side. It is often difficult to tell without an X-ray.

    She may sit on it, but is unlikely to walk on it.

    I would take her back for a recheck.

    Good luck.

  40. david storer says:

    my 60 pound mix breed was hit by a semi tanker and dislocated her left hip about 3 weeks ago sling is off waiting for her to start using it more very little progress so far what can i expect for recovery

  41. Doc says:

    Hello, David,

    Sorry about the late reply. I was out of the country for two weeks visiting my daughter who is a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. We had not seen her for 17 months.

    If things have gone well, I would expect your dog to be starting to use the leg some by now (10 days later).

    If she isn’t using it at all, I would have the area X-rayed. If the hip is in place, but she’s not using it, I would try swimming as physical therapy.

    Good luck.

  42. Ellis DVM says:

    Hip dislocations can be tough as Doc has said. early replacement is the key. Also any breaks in the pelvis will slow recovery. Doggie Doc

  43. Rachel says:

    Hello Doc,

    I am writing about my 12 year old Husky/ Lab mix, Lanie. She was hit by a car in June, and fractured her femur. We got a great surgeon to do an “interlocking nail” surgery. The recovery was slow, as she is very arthritic, but she got back to her normal slowish self. Anyway, she went in for her 8 week follow-up with the vet and came out holding that leg up, and in serious pain. We thought they had just pulled on her too much to get x-rays, but now we are 2 weeks later and she is resistant to eating, and is still not using the leg. Our neighbor, an Orthopaedic surgeon suggested he thinks in doing the x-ray they dislocated her hip. Have you ever heard of such a thing? The surgical hospital says they were gentle, but she hasn’t walked on her own (we use a sling) for 2 weeks and her appetite is gone. She goes for a repeat visit to the surgeon in the morning, and I am trying to figure out what it could be — they thought maybe she pulled her groin (but there is zero improvement). Now that so much time has passed, if it is a hip dislocation, could we do a surgery to help her? She is big, was 70 pounds, though I’m sure she’s lost quite a bit in the last 2 weeks. What do you think, anything we should consider?

  44. Doc says:

    Hello, Rachel,
    Sorry to be late in replying.

    I cannot imagine pulling hard enough to dislocate a hip joint. It is so tight. If you were ever present while someone is trying to replace a dislocated joint, you would not find this theory very plausible. Maybe if it were a tiny dog and you swung him around in the air by his leg? Just not happening.

    I am concerned about possible nerve damage, or other complications in the bone healing process. Orthopedic surgery is only half carpentry, putting the bone fragments together. The other half is gardening, getting them to GROW back together.

    With an older patient you are more likely to have trouble with the gardening. The metal implants can fail.

    Also, older patients may have other medical problems that make them slow healers.

    By this time, I suspect that your surgeon has re-X-rayed and is zeroing in on the problem.

    If the fracture seems to be doing well, there are veterinarians who specialize in rehab therapy, and your baby may be needing that.

    Good luck.

  45. Rachel says:

    Thank you Doc,

    I responded before, but it seems to have disappeared. Oh well. Thank yo for your thoughtful response. The vet agreed, no hip dislocation. He was a bit stumped to see her much worse after the 8 week exam as well. We are going to give her a few days of antibiotics because her knee was very painful, and he thought the fluid could be infected. If that doesn’t help, the next step will likely be removing her interlocking nail implant. He says her bone is strong enough, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that antibiotics work!

    Anyway, I appreciate your response!


  46. Barbara Yoder says:

    Hello! We have a 3 year old Australian Shepherd mix, Blaze, who was hit by a car a week ago, and has a dislocated hip. We took him to the vet shortly after it happened and after 3 attempts, the hip would not stay in, so we were sent home to consider our options.

    We have FHO surgery scheduled, but I have a question — is there any way to tell if he could live pain free without the surgery?

    I ask this because Blaze is still on Rimadyl and an antiinflammatory and is doing better each day. He uses the leg more each day, and is getting back to his old self — harrassing the cats and chasing my mop. He enve just jumped up on the bed! He is impossible to confine.

    We are ok with spending the money, but we would like to avoid surgery if possible just because there are always risks involved.

    Can you offer any guidance here to understand what kind of pain he might be experiencing?

    THank you so much!

  47. Doc says:

    If the dog is not too large and heavy, they can develop a “false joint”. The head of the femur sort of settles into a space in the muscle tissue.

    This is certainly not the same as a normal joint. However, it may not be painful, either, after the dog becomes accustomed to the new alignment.

    I have experienced multiple shoulder dislocations, eventually requiring surgical correction myself. It hurts like hell when it is first out of socket. I didn’t want to try to live with it that way.

    The purpose of the FHO is to remove the pain of bone grating on bone.

    You should discuss this further with your veterinarian and share your concerns with him/her.

    It is possible to let the dog continue to heal and then evaluate his behavior with and without the pain medication. Sometimes we don’t realize how much pain the patient is in until we compare those situations.

    Please discuss this with your veterinarian, as he/she is actually seeing your dog and is better equipped to advise you.

  48. Barbara Yoder says:

    Hi again,

    Thanks for your honest thoughts on this. I wanted to ask you b/c the vet doing the surgery felt — w.o seeing the dog yet — that if we were not going to do the surgery, then the Blaze should be put down. That was such a strong and unequivocal response that I felt uncomfortable with him giving me an open-minded opinion, especially since the vet who treated him (Sat. emergency clinic) presented things in a different light — that Blaze might develop this false joint and be able to live pain free.

    I just didn’t know if there was some way to tell, so thanks for your suggestion.


  49. Tash says:

    2 days ago I put my 4 month old lab puppy outside to do her business. I always put her out and leave the door open as she commes right back when she is finished. When she returned back inside I could tell she was in pain. She will not put any pressure on her right back leg, it kinda just hangs there limp like. Right after I first noticed it I put her back outside on her line hoping she might have twisted her leg the wrong way and would maybe walk it off. I looked out the window at her and she was drooling excessivly. I immediately called the vet and she said that she may have sprained it and was drooling due to nausea from the pain and it should get better within a few hours. Although the drooling has stopped, her leg is still limp and she refuses to walk on it. There is also swelling near the hip. Could it be dislocated or what else could be wrong with it?I am taking her tomorrow to the vet but I am still very worried now and looking for piece of mind. Thank you

  50. Doc says:

    Hello, Tash,

    I am very concerned that the leg may be broken, a ligament torn, or there might be a dislocation (less likely.

    I would keep the puppy as quiet as possible, maybe even putting her in a crate when you cannot supervise her.

    Over-the-counter pain relievers are not generally safe in dogs. Mixing pain relievers is also dangerous.

    You could apply a cold compress to the area to help with pain and swelling. Fix a pan of ice water and use a cold towel for 15 minutes at a time, maybe two or three times tonight.

    Do not put ice directly on the tissue, as it will cause damage.

    Good luck.

  51. Maegan says:

    I “inherited” my brothers 9 month old golden/lab mix. She was hit by a car at 3-4 months, had her hind right femur reinserted into her hip, but it came out a month or two later. He could not afford to take her back to the vet, it has now been out 5 months or so. She uses it a bit when walking and holds it up when running, and does not appear to be in any pain. My question is, does she need surgery to have it reinserted or will she be ok the rest of her life with it out of socket?

    Thank you for your site and blog, it is very helpful and informative!

  52. Doc says:

    Hello, Maegan,

    A big dog like that is less likely to have long-term good function with a “false-joint” situation like this.

    She may be functional with just the muscle tissue sling that develops to support the dog. However, since the bones are not in normal alignment, there is a good chance that you will get some bone-on-bone rubbing that doesn’t have the cartilage cushion of abnormal joint. This is painful.

    With it being out of socket that long, you would want to have it evaluated by an orthopedic specialist.

    Sometimes they will remove the femoral head (the ball of the ball and socket joint), which eliminates the bone-on-bone thing.

    To put the joint back in its original alignment would be a major orthopedic surgery. Success would depend on a lot of factors, including any changes that have occurred to the joint surfaces during this long period of time.

    You really need new X-rays and a specialist to evaluate the situation.

    Best wishes.

  53. Barbara says:

    My 8 month old German Shepherd /Rottweiler mix was playing, jumped a few inches in the air and when he landed he was screaming. His hind leg is curled up at the hip, he won’t put any weight on it and he’s just laying around. I am able to fully extend the leg, but when he stands (only for a couple seconds at a time), he keeps the leg curled up and won’t straighten it or put it down at all. I don’t have a dollar much less the hundreds it would cost to take him to the vet….IDK what to do!

  54. Doc says:

    Hello, Barbara,

    I with that I were better able to help you without seeing your dog. I would really need to actually touch and manipulate the leg, if not X-ray it.

    It is unlikely that he dislocated the limb playing by himself.

    He could have sprained or strained a ligament or joint.

    Do not give Ibuprofen or Naproxen (Advil or Aleve), as these can cause serious bleeding ulcers in the dog’s stomach with very few doses.

    Tylenol and aspirin are not good for long-term use, but one regular strength aspirin or Tylenol (not both) per forty pounds of body weight would be safe for most dogs for a day or two. One tablet per forty pounds of body weight can be given up to three times daily for a couple of days.

    Do not give this long-term. This is for emergency use only to control his pain.

  55. Paul says:

    My 4 year old Great Pyrenees dislocated his hip at about 9AM Friday morning. I got him to the Vet at around 10:30AM. The vet put him under and was easily able to pop it back in. She called and said that we could pick him back up later that day. We picked him up and brought him home. The next morning his hip dislocated again and all he did was stand up. We had to take him back and this time they kept him for 2 days and kept a sling on him. I just picked him up a few hours ago. Is 2 days long enough for his ligaments to heal to keep everything in place. I am just worried that it will pop out again…..

  56. Doc says:

    Hello, Paul,
    These cases can be very frustrating. Whether to sling or not is controversial. That is the way I was trained, and many veterinarians still swear by it.

    Others now say that the sling may cause more problems than it solves. Better to just keep the animal crated and not moving until the stretched and swollen ligaments have time to heal.

    Some patients will require surgery no matter how speedily or skillfully the injury is treated.

    Share your concerns with your veterinarian and ask them how best to manage your dog. Ask what to do and what to look for. Give them plenty of feedback.

    Good luck.

  57. Mike and Patty says:

    Our four month lab has dislocation in his hip bone. We keep getting mixed opinions on what he really has wrong and what procedure he needs done. We have the XRay available by email , would you be willing to look at it if we emailed it ?

  58. Doc says:

    Hello, Mike and Patty,

    I really am not a radiologist or an orthopedic specialist.

    It sounds like that is what you need.

    Ask your veterinarian if they can email the X-rays to a specialist for you.

    They will have the advantage of also being able to add the information from your pet’s medical history and their examinations. The X-ray is just one piece of the puzzle in a case like this.

    The teaching hospitals at the veterinary schools are a great resource for this.

    Good luck.

  59. Emily says:

    I’m curious as to what the difference between hip dysplasia and a dislocation would look like…are they easy to tell apart? my Aussie Sheppard momma dog came home today after running in one of our fields and has been in pain most of the day with what appears to be her hip joint enlarged. I plan on calling our vet in the morning but i was curious about the hip dysplasia vs. dislocation.

  60. Doc says:

    Hello, Emily,

    Hip dysplasia means that the hip joint has not developed in a normal manner as the dog grew and matured. Instead of a nice deep ball and socket joint, you may have a shallow socket, or a poorly formed “ball”.

    Also, some dogs whose bone structure appears normal do not have a tight muscle and ligament structure. This allows the two bones in the joint to separate and bang into one another. This beats up the joint surface, generally leading to arthritis at an early age.

    If the hips are very “loose”, the dog might be more prone to dislocation of the hip joint. Dislocation means that the ball just isn’t in the socket and won’t go back in by itself.

    It usually takes a pretty heavy trauma to dislocate a hip joint, but sometimes you can fall and just hit exactly wrong and do it.

    Because of the large amount of muscle tissue in this area, it usually requires an X-ray to evaluate the situation.

    Your veterinarian can give you more specific information after examining your dog.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  61. Ivan says:

    Hi Doctor,
    My 45 pound chau chau misteriously dislocated his hip. Took him to vet and they put a sling for a couple of weeks. About 2 weeks ago he startef running around in circles and I dont know if his femoral head came out again or he just hurt his already hurt muscles. He is not using his leg when he is on the tile floor but if I take him for a walk he uses his leg although he limps a little bit but it does not seem to hurt as he even stands on that leg to pee or on the other leg and abdopts the bad one like nothing happened. He even scratches the grass with the two bag leg. I dont know what to think. Do you think he needs surgery?

  62. Doc says:

    Hello, Ivan,

    It certainly sounds like the hip may be out again.

    I would recommend visiting your veterinarian for a follow-up X-ray. With the information from a new examination and picture, they can contact an orthopedic specialist if necessary.

    I really cannot advise you from this distance, but it sounds like surgery may be needed to keep the hip in place.

  63. Nes says:

    I have a 2month old puppy and i got home yesterday to find that he was trying to walk or hop on three legs instead of all four. his right hind leg just hangs there he cant move his paw or anything he just drags his whole leg. his hip looks like its further up than his left you can not touch it because he will cry. Is it broken dislocated? Im trying to find money to take him in but is there anything i can do to make him comfortable at home until then.. he has a very difficult time walking as well since that leg is like that.

  64. Doc says:

    Hello, Nes,

    It could be broken or dislocated. I don’t know how to tell without an Xray.

    Over the counter pain medicines are really not safe for such a small puppy.

    I wish I had another suggestion, but he really needs to go to the veterinarian.

    Good luck.

  65. Hewitt Travis says:

    My 65lb lab mix had a dislocated left hip repaired by removing the ball. The dog is over weight and the recovery has not been as good as I had hoped. During the treatment we found hip dysplasia in the right hip. Is the same type surgery the right repair for this hip. Are there more appropriate treatments?

  66. Doc says:

    Hello, Hewitt,

    That might eventually be necessary. Most dogs have mild enough arthritis problems that taking anti-inflammatory medicines will control it without surgery.

    Using glucosamine and chondroitin products (nutraceuticals) really makes a difference for a lot of dogs. No side effects, either.

    More severe cases can benefit from NSAIDs, like Rimadyl or Deramaxx, or Metacam.

    Worst case scenario would be total hip replacement surgery. This requires an excellent orthopedic surgeon and is quite expensive.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  67. Hewitt Travis says:

    The Lab I am talking about is only one year old, He is not using the left rear leg as much as I think he should and now the right hip comes out of the joint quite often and causes pain. My question is with the left leg having the ball removed and using it as a false joint would it be ok to make a false joint on the other hip also. with ball removed from both hips would he be able to run and play, etc

  68. Doc says:

    The FHO (femoral head ostectomy) has better results in small dogs than in large dogs like Labs.

    I think the results would be an improvement over constant pain, but he certainly wouldn’t have the athletic capability of a normal dog. There is also the potential for some discomfort with the weight on muscular attachments with no bony articulation for support.

    It sounds to me like you really need to see an orthopedic specialist for advice. This is a bit out of my league.

  69. norma says:

    my 5 year old sheltie dislocated his hip and injured his stifle – got away while on leash and hit by a car. It has been 10 days, and the sling is off (after closed reduction) and he is using the leg we are still confining, no stairs, no jumping, but he can walk thru living and dining room. Vet said keep him confined for 2 more weeks -does that seem like long enough? Will he be able to jump onto an off the couch (he is 42 pounds and about 20 inches tall at shoulder) He is a very athletic dog, but I am ready to change his lifestyle to avoid his future pain. THank you (He is a LUCKY dog)

  70. Doc says:

    Hello, Norma,

    Your veterinarian knows your dog and his situation, and is best qualified to advise you in this.

    I agree with the recommendations for exercise restriction for an additional two weeks.

    As for jumping, if you can prevent that for at a month, I certainly would.

    My best recommendation would be to have your veterinarian re-evaluate your dog’s situation after the 4 weeks of restricted activity. He/she will be better able to advise you after that recheck.

    Good luck.

  71. Christine says:

    My 13yr old Shih Tzu was knocked down the stairs by my other dog. His hip was amazingly only dislocated. (the xrays make it look like it was a bad break). He ended up getting a graft to his eye, and two closed hip reductions before I even brought him home, and they believe that it was out again upon discharge home when we came back ten days later. We then did an open reduction with toggle in place and he was walking great. Three days before the four week check up, his toe nail was catching on the carpet ( of the affected leg) , I went to clip the toenail and heard a pop. The pop was the thread breaking. We then did a second open reduction with the dog not walking right, with his leg out to the side and a call to the vet before we left the hospital only to receive no reply. We are ten days since surgery, and he is walking but will wax out frequently. I’m not convinced it is in place. I do not wish to do repeat surgery, and we were told only if the femoral head was cut off would the leg form a false joint. From what I’m reading here, if we are not successful, he should form a false joint around where the hip is. I asked this a few times from our ortho specialist surgeon, and he said I couldn’t leave him like that as he was in pain. The dog was eating, playing, rolling, and getting around great on three legs.The poor dog has been isolated in a crate, only to be taken out to be fed and small short walks. It’s not a quality of life for my poor baby!!!! What do you think. By the way, we did have the put down the dog talk, and I was told no as there is nothing wrong with my dog. I love my baby, and am $7000.00 in the hole.Pls give me something positive and cost effective.

    Looking for hope, and my dog back

  72. Doc says:

    WOW!!! You are one committed dog-owner.

    While a dog may certainly form a false joint with a dislocated hip, you can also get some bone-on-bone with that, and that’s painful.

    With removal of the femoral head, there’s no bone-on-bone. With a small dog, there should be enough support with the muscular attachments for the dog to use the leg pretty effectively.

    With the FHO (femoral head ostectomy), you should get a 4-legged dog instead of a 3-legged one.

    A dog who is not using the leg is not using it because he can’t, or because it hurts, or both.

    You can’t predict the future, but it sounds to me like you would be happiest with the FHO.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  73. Paul says:


    I wote back in October about my Great Pyrenees dislocating his hip. Well it has happened 2 more times since then and vet has suggested surgery. The 3 types of surgery she has told us about are 1. FHO… Where cut the bone and have a free standing joint. (We are not for this.) A full hip replacement (Too expensive) and tightrope for coxofemoral luxation repair. (She has never performed this and I haven’t found anyone in our area that has either. Can you tell me a little about it and if there are other options? The xrays show no Dysplasia and our vet is surprised at how good his hips are. His muscle doesn’t seem to be able to keep his leg and hip together.

    Thanks for your help and any suggestions.

  74. Doc says:

    Hello, Paul,

    At this point, it sounds like you need the advice of an orthopedic specialist, which I certainly am not.

    That’s the best suggestion I can give.

    Good luck.

  75. Dawn says:

    We have a 19 pound Pomeranian. He is a big pom and should be 15 lbs. I walked in from work last night and he did a strange little jump to greet me and fell on the floor screaming. His bladder cut loose and I rushed him to the vet. They said his ligament was torn and his hip dislocated. They told me this only could happen with a traumatic injury. Car accident etc. But that’s not what has happened he only did a strange twisting jump. Have you ever heard of something like this?

  76. Doc says:

    Hello, Dawn,

    While it would ordinarily take a pretty significant trauma to dislocate a hip, sometimes you land “just wrong”. It’s like cutting a diamond. If you hit it just right, you don’t have to hit it hard.

    I know a young man who ruptured the knee ligament stepping off a curb “funny”. He wasn’t even running.

    So, yes, I’ve heard of similar situations. Fortunately we don’t see them every day.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  77. Mary Lange says:

    My 9 year old jack russel dislocated her hip a week ago and the vet put it in a sling. She is hopping around and seems to feel just fine. I however am a paranoid basket case! I have heard that they can dislocate again and was wondering if that could happen easily with it in the sling. And also would it be painful, would I know if that happened? It seems that her leg may have moved further under her belly. Would that be a sign of re-dislocation? Thank you so much. Mary L.

  78. Doc says:

    Hello, Mary,

    The point of the sling is to keep the dog from putting weight on the hip and popping it out again. You want to give the damaged surrounding structures time to heal and shrink back to their normal size again.

    It is true that sometimes the hip pops out in spite of the sling. The best way that I know to tell this is to take another X-ray.

    You could crank around on the hip to tell, but then you might pop it out again in doing that manipulation. That’s why an X-ray would be better.

    Talk to your veterinarian and let him/her know your concerns.

    Best wishes.

  79. clare says:

    Good morning,
    my 10 year old afghan hound has had her dislocated hip manually manipulated back in place. The surgeon does not agree with using a sling. She also has a large, though draining, haematoma. I pick her up today and am worried as to the outcome as she was/is a very fit, active dog. Would you advise crating and can she be walked for lavatory needs?
    Thank you for your help.

  80. Doc says:

    Hello, Clare,

    The use of the sling is really controversial. Many specialists feel they can do more harm than good, while others feel that if properly applied they can keep stress off the joint.

    If you have a big hematoma, I would guess that the sling would be even more of a problem.

    You should really talk with your veterinarian about this, as he has seen the dog and I have not.

    Just from the information you have supplied, I would keep the dog crated. I would keep her on a short leash when walking her outside to use the bathroom.

    We just don’t want her to put any weight on that limb if we can help it.

    Good luck.

  81. clare says:

    thank you so much for prompt reply.
    She is now home and frankly has no desire to move at all – nor eat, nor drink which is more worrying. Even her favourite roast chicken has no interest and she appears not to have eaten since Monday.
    I am prepared to clean her inside.
    They felt she would recover quicker at home although were prepared to keep her. Just noticed she is now panting heavily.

  82. clare says:

    Apologies, just to add: She has now taken a large drink from her bowl and is occasionally panting. I am so sorry for troubling you and sincerely thank you for providing such a forum.

  83. Doc says:

    Hello, again, Clare,

    I would recommend that you speak with your veterinarian about this, specifically in regard to pain medication.

    Sometimes the dog’s pain is not adequately controlled, so they don’t feel like eating.

    Alternatively, sometimes the pain medicine itself can be sedative and cause a poor appetite. The pain is under control, but the side effects reduce appetite.

    Again, let your veterinarian know what is happening.

  84. karen kilpatrick says:

    I HAVE A 6 YR. OLD PUG. 4 WEEKS AGO SHE TRIED TO JUMP UP ON THE COUCH AND SHE MISSED AND FELL DIRECTLY ON HER BUTT. SHE MADE A REALLY WEIRD FACE AND I THOUGHT SHE WAS HAVING A STROKE SHE HAD NO CONTROL OF HER BACK LEGS,THEY WERE JUST HANGING THERE,SHE COULD NOT WALK for 2 days. I tuck her to the vet and he said that she hurt her back and that it would heal in about 6 weeks but not to let her go up or down stairs or jump off anything. it has been 6 weeks now and she walks but she sort of looks like a bent car frame. I am wondering could it be a dislocated hip? and if so is it too late to have it manipulated back into place? she seems to still be in pain and is not walking properly,

  85. Doc says:

    Hello, Karen,

    It could be hip or back problems. Regardless, it sounds to me like a trip back to the veterinarian for re-evaluation is what is needed.

    I do not think that anyone is going to be able to make an accurate appraisal of the situation without seeing the dog as she is now.

    Good luck.

  86. Rosa L. Haddock says:

    Hello Dr.:

    My dog is 9 months old and he had a traumatic hip dislocation (with no other injuries fortunately). We took him quickly to the vet and they made a close reduction and placed a sling on it. However, after 1 week, the hip dislocated again, and they again reduced it and put a sling on it… Now, almost 3 weeks after, the hip dislocated once again, the muscles look atrophied and it seems like he doesn’t feel anything on the leg. What should I do? Do you think the vet waited too long to call in the surgeon? Because for some reason, I believe this should have been called earlier… I don’t know. :/

  87. Doc says:

    Hello, Rosa,

    These can be difficult judgment calls. Closed reduction is certainly the initial treatment of choice, and I myself would have tried it a second time.

    I do not feel like your veterinarian has given you sub-standard care. The results are not what we would have wished for, but we cannot always control that.

    At this point it would seem that surgery is your best option. I do not think that many doctors would have opted for doing surgery earlier in the case.

    Good luck.

  88. Lauren says:

    Hi Doctor,

    We recently got a Dutch Shepherd puppy. My husband picked him out at 4 weeks old. At that time, I was concerned that he was not as active as his littermates and mostly just sat there, but my husband really liked him. When we picked him up to bring him home several weeks later, I still thought his rear end looked like a rhino and he fell and flopped quite a bit, but he steadily got stronger and more active. He is 10 weeks now and runs and can go up stairs and doesn’t have any limp, but his right hip has a lump that the left hip doesn’t. When I manipulate the leg I hear a crackle. He does bunny hop in the rear at a run, but trots fine. His bottom wiggles a lot at the walk and his knee turns out on that side.

    Unfortunately, judging by his feet he will end up around 70 lbs. We are scheduled to go in for x-rays, but I was hoping to get some advice as to what options would be available now? Is it possible for a pup to have a hip dislocation during birth (it was reportedly a long, hard labor)?

    Thanks so much for your advice!

  89. Doc says:

    Hello, Lauren,

    I suppose it would be possible to have a traumatic dislocation during birth, but it is very unlikely. They get squeezed through the birth canal like toothpaste, and it’s not the plane of force that one would expect to produce that trauma.

    It is unfortunately more likely that he is extremely dysplastic, meaning that the hip ball&socket joint is just very poorly formed, and unstable.

    We have a patient with similar clinical signs. We x-rayed his hips, and it looked like both were totally dislocated. The joint structures that hold it together were just super loose.

    This dog was about 8 months old when he was presented. Rather than start lifelong anti-inflammatory drugs or send him for two total-hip replacements (which the people could no way afford), we decided to try acupuncture.

    There are no guarantees with a patient like this, but our patient did respond well. His gait is certainly not normal, but his degree of pain has been drastically reduced.

    The x-rays should tell the tale and your veterinarian will be the best person to discuss your options.

    Good luck.

  90. Mary says:

    My pomeranian dislocated her hip the vet put it back but then taped her two back legs together, she can not squat to go to the bathroom. Is this necessary, I thought they would tape it up not together.

  91. Faye Leck says:

    Hi Doctor,
    My 8 year old Siberian Husky, Snowball, dislocated his hip last week for no apparent reason. We brought his to the vet and they tried Closed Reduction. However we brought him back today for a follow up and the procedure didn’t work.
    The vet has scheduled a surgery in three days, however we haven’t decided on what kind would be the best for Snowball.
    Do you have any advice on the type of surgery we should go for considering his age and breed? Is 8 years old counted an old age? He hasn’t had any other injuries or illnesses before except those occasional minor diahorrea, so he’s a healthy dog right?
    I really hope he’ll be able to recover ASAP as it really pains me to see him limping on threes and dangling his hurt leg. 🙁
    Thanks for all your help doc. :’)

  92. Doc says:

    Hello, Mary,

    Sorry to be so late replying, but have been out of town and catching up.

    I must say that I have not seen that technique of taping the dog’s legs together.

    If you have not already done so, please let your veterinarian know the trouble you are having with her bathroom situation.

    When we don’t hear from our clients, we often assume that everything is going okay.

    Let your veterinarian know what is happening and share your concerns with him/her.

  93. Doc says:

    Hello, Faye,

    Sorry to be so late replying, but have been out of town and catching up.

    Without seeing your dog and his X-rays, I really cannot advise you. Also, I am not an orthopedic surgeon. When I have problems of this nature, I consult a specialist.

    Eight years is a lot older for a large breed dog than it is for the toy breeds. If his health has been generally good, then I would expect him to do well.

    Your veterinarian can also talk with you about pre-surgical risk factor testing (blood tests, electrocardiogram, chest X-rays, and so forth).

    There’s never a guarantee of a good outcome, but a good orthopedic surgeon has a very good chance of restoring your buddy to full function. He may have a little more chance of arthritis as a result of this injury, though.

    Best wishes.

  94. Clare says:

    Good evening….from France!
    I posted back in February after my Afghan Hound dislocated her hip following, we think, a car hit.
    It was a closed manipulation which appeared to work well, until, she slipped her collar and did a runner, leaping over and into ditches…and dislocating hip again.
    She had subsequently an operation with an orthopaedic surgeon and had a figure of eight suture to hold all in place. Was doing well, until after a week, I noticed her leg seemed somewhat displaced.
    It was out again, following x-ray, although sutures still in place. Appears she gets up from sitting in such a way that she pushes the femur down rather than up.
    Today it was re-manipulated into place and she will be home tomorrow with the Ehmer sling, despite the surgeon finding it somewhat old-fashioned.
    If that fails, it will be pins and failing that the cutting of the femora ball.
    She is ten years old and I asked him at what point all of this becomes for me rather than her. He was adamant that this point had most certainly not been reached.
    Forgive me, the whole point of this is how do I manage her with the sling. She is only 17kgms but I have a bad back and cannot carry her out. I depend on neighbours in rural France but they will be leaving for a fortnight tomorrow.
    She is not a dog who will soil herself indoors although I would happily deal with all that.
    Oh dear, what am I saying? Basically, what do you think?
    I am most happy with her treatment so far and the cost is probably at least a quarter of fees elsewhere e.g. her two and a half hour op plus x-rays etc etc cost in £409.
    In the UK it would have been three times that.
    Again, thank you so much for being there.

  95. Doc says:

    Hello, Clare,

    It sounds like you are very committed to restoring your friend to a normal way of walking.

    With all these problems, even if the slings or additional surgeries are successful, you will probably have more arthritis problems to deal with than if the dislocation had not occurred to start with.

    That should be manageable with things like glucosamine supplements, Adequan injections, or anti-inflammatory medicines like Rimadyl, Dermaxx, or Metacam.

    If you wind up having to amputate the femoral head (ball), the dog’s gait will not be 100% normal, but she will be free of the pain that results from abnormal articulation of bone on bone.

    As to managing the sling, the worst problem is usually that the tape can rub a raw place in the flank fold. Also, sometimes it gets tight around the paw. Do watch for swelling of the paw, or redness and chafing of the tape. The sling may need to be removed and re-applied.

    Best wishes.

  96. Clare says:

    Oh dear, I’m back again!
    It became quickly apparent that Portia was uncomfortable and unhappy. She started licking her paw and elbow to a raw state.
    I got her quickly back to the clinic where they cut off the sling. It was extremely painful for her and the surgeon showed me signs of necrosis, saying the bandage had been too tight and also blaming her lack of muscle and fat and angular long legs.
    There is no point in recriminations…however at one point he was talking of amputation; particularly as without the sling the chances of the hip staying in were remote.
    That was Friday: my weekend was hellish as I contemplated amputation and decided I couldn’t do that to a glorious hound who once ran free. However, I was swithering after reading all the successful tripod stories on line.
    But how much do you put a dog through?Today all talk of amputation gone. He believes there are two patches of ‘dead’ skin but a further 24 hr watch is upon her. I may get her back tomorrow.
    Then we’re back to old problem of hip coming out. My main question really is if she has the femoral ball removal what is so different that it can be guaranteed to stay in?
    There is also a suggestion of the pin op.
    I appreciate that without you seeing the dog, you will find it hard to comment; but I hope you can do a generalised answer for me.
    Again, again, my thanks.

  97. Doc says:

    Hello, Clare,

    Sorry to hear of your troubles. Removing the femoral ball means that there is no bone-to-bone joint anymore. The dog’s weight is supported by the muscular attachments to the femur, a sort of muscular sling.

    This is usually very satisfactory in small dogs. In large dogs, one is less likely to have full athletic ability, but the leg is often useful, and it is free of the pain that results when the dislocated hip “ball” rubs on the socket.

  98. Clare says:

    Okay…she is 17kgms , obviously thin but not a small dog as she’s an Afghan.
    But will it mean she can walk without the hip coming out again?
    Fine, she may not have full movement, but does it mean the ‘hip’ stays in place unlike all the open and closed reductions.

  99. Clare says:

    I understand that, thank you, but as she appears to have no muscle left nor fat how will it stay in place. Remember she is a large, though slim dog?

  100. Doc says:

    With the FHO (femoral head ostectomy, removal of the “ball”), there is nothing to stay in the socket anymore. It doesn’t really stay in one place.

    The muscles are there, just atrophied from lack of use. Some physical therapy will be required in her recovery whether she has the pinning procedure or the FHO.

    With the FHO, the hind leg is not as stable, but is serviceable in most patients. Certainly I would prefer it to
    amputation of the limb.

    I am by no means an orthopedic specialist. With all the concerns that you have, I would definitely look into seeing a specialist.

    Good luck.

  101. Christina Coburn says:

    Hi Doc

    I recently adopted a rescue dog with a known chronic hip dislocation. He is a 1yr old border collie/shepherd x. He weighs 50lbs. The rescue got him as a stray 2 months ago and noticed that he had a limp. When they did X-rays he had an obvious right hip dislocation, most likely from being hit by a car, and the vet thinks the injury is 6 months old as new bone growth and a false joint has formed. I’ve had him 2 weeks and I’m trying to assess his pain. He is high energy, loves to go for walks, and even loves to run for short periods of time. When he is at home I notice that he avoids stairs, doesn’t like sitting for longer than 30 seconds, changes positions a lot and doesn’t like lying on his right side. I’ve also noticed that when he postures to go the bathroom he will favor his good leg and curl up his bad leg to avoid putting his weight on it. I took him to an orthopedic surgeon for an assessment but he wasn’t convinced that my dog was in pain. The surgeon also wasn’t convinced that my dog had bone on bone grinding and he thinks that the dog won’t benefit from a FHO. We placed him on metacam and started pool therapy. Unfortunately i still think that my dog is in pain despite his current therapy. What should I do? I’m more than happy to cover any costs for surgery and rehab but it’s heartbreaking to think that the surgery may not help his pain.

  102. Doc says:

    Hello, Christina,

    If an orthopedic specialist has examined your dog and given his opinion, it is probably more valuable than mine.

    The FHO puts you into the “false joint” situation, but you don’t have that femoral head rubbing on things.

    My personal opinion about assessing whether the dog is in pain: fill him full of pain meds and see if his behavior changes for the better. In addition to the metacam, I would probably consider adding some tramadol. You could see whether your veterinarian thinks this is okay for your dog.

    If he acts the same with the pain meds as he does without them, I would tend to think his pain level is low.

    The behavior you describe certainly lets us know that he has a problem with the leg. The question is whether surgery will improve it that much.

    I really don’t feel qualified to answer the question for you.

    My apologies and best wishes.

  103. Christina Coburn says:

    Hi Doc,

    Thank you for your help! We will give the pool therapy/metacam a good trial and the tramadol is a great idea if he still has pain. Thank you so much for your advice!


  104. Lori says:

    My (now) 6 year old labradoodle, Buddy, decided to chase a rabbit into the street just as a minivan passed by. Buddy got ran over by one of the back wheels. The vets said he had a dislocated hip. We had them pop the hip back into place and his right hip was put in a sling for 2.5 months.

    A year later he runs around at the dog park loves going for walks, he is now on a leash at all times. However once he is laying or sitting down for a while his right hip cracks (not very loud just as if someone were to crack their neck or wrist), also if he runs around constantly (i mean for a VERY long time) he is obviously tired and sore.

    So my question for you is if you know of any excersices or physical therapy i could do with/for him? Thanks!!

  105. June says:

    Hi Doc,
    I have a 5 year jumpy, hoppy, 7 lb poodle. She dislocated her hip and due to circumstances out of our control, it took five days to do closed reduction with an emer sling, with an orthopedic surgeon. Tomorrow we go back to xray to ensure everything is going as planned. My concern and worry, if this does work and we are one of the lucky ones, does she need to live her life not jumping? She can hop on our bed usually easily and jumps off things with ease. How, once she heals, do we prevent her from being herself without causing injury? Do we need precautions in place? We are willing to do anything. This is a dog who hops when she is being walked, and jumps over four feet to catch the dog on tv.
    Any suggestions or comments are appreciated.
    Concerned in AZ.

  106. Doc says:

    Hello, June,

    My initial response is “good luck with that!”, but that’s not much help, I know.

    I would look at getting a big crate or doggy play-pen for when she cannot be supervised.

    I would start rewarding her for putting her butt on the floor. Always ask her to sit before she gets anything she wants: food, treat, toy, petting, anything.

    I would try my best not to reinforce the jumping behavior (though it is its own reward). If you want to discourage her, use a shaker can or some other noise to distract her, then ask her to sit, then reward the sit.

    You could try providing ramps or stair-steps to her preferred high locations (like a series of footstools).

    We don’t expect or want her to lie still for the rest of her life.

    Discuss this with your veterinarian. I’ll bet he/she has some good ideas and is better equipped to advise you, since he/she knows your dog and her situation.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  107. Mike Melvin says:

    Hey Doc,
    My rat terrier has only one back leg. This morning he can’t walk on that remaining back leg. If he sits the leg points up to his ear, like the hip is out of place but, he’s not sore to the touch. Any ideas

  108. Doc says:

    Hello, Mike,

    Sorry I can’t help you long-distance on this one. Could be his hip, could be his knee, could be something else.

    Time to see you veterinarian.

    Best wishes.

  109. Becky says:

    Hello. I have a 10 month old German Shepherd that dislocated her hip in an accident. It happened at 2 pm on a Sunday, I had her to the vet at 8:30 AM on Monday morning. They put the hip back in but it wouldn’t stay so they kept her for a few days to keep her quiet and sedated. They did follow-up x-rays this morning and the hip is not staying in. Why do you think this is? I thought with her age and getting it taken care of as soon as reasonably possible that she would have a better chance of success. What is my best option in this scenario? I am already over-budget with this incident. They are wanting to do surgery on her, but I am reading that for large-breed dogs that this is not always the best option. What will happen if I just leave it and try to let it form an artificial joint? I just want her life to be enjoyable and pain-free. If I cannot do this I will just have to put her down. Please let me know your opinions on this!!!
    Thank you so much!

  110. Doc says:

    Hello, Becky,

    The veterinarian seeing your dog is usually your best source of advice. It’s impossible for me to give you specific information about your dog’s case.

    You’re in a difficult situation, as there is no quick fix at this point. Even though you sought attention promptly, sometimes the joint structures are stretched so much that the hip just won’t stay in place after it is put back.

    Generally speaking, large-breed dogs are less likely to do well with the “false-joint” approach.

    It takes a pretty good orthopedic surgeon to surgically put that hip joint in place and get it “locked down”, but that is probably the best option.

    FHO (removal of the “ball” of the ball and socket joint, also called the femoral head)won’t give as good a result as the surgical replacement and stabilization. However, even in a large dog, it will probably be a lot more satisfactory than trying to form a false joint. It gets rid of the bone-on-bone pain.

    Small dogs do really well with the FHO. It’s not ideal for the big dog, as you probably will not have as good a gait. On the other hand, it will probably allow the dog to get around okay without being painful.

    I understand that you are already over budget, and the surgical replacement and stabilization won’t be cheap.

    I wish I had an easy out for you, but there really isn’t one.

    Discuss your options with your veterinarian, ask all the questions you can think of, and then think about it. This is not something that you have to decide in fifteen minutes.

  111. Tim says:

    Hey Doc,

    Great replies here- learned a lot, thanks for all of your answers.

    Our situation..
    This morning our 14 year old, 12 lbs, poodle-mutt dislocated her hip- we believe. We found her at the bottom of the stairs after a loud cry. She has had a history of hip problems since she was a puppy- every so often after jumping off of something just a foot or two high (I believe she’s even done it while running, once or twice) she’ll cry and hold her hind leg up. It’s always worked itself out- usually after an hour or two. Seems worse this time. She’s been laying on it all morning, not moving much. Did do a little 3 legged jump onto a lounger, which didn’t seem to bother her, but has been very lethargic.

    She is in pretty rough shape overall. “An aggressive type” of cancer was found a year or two ago, she’s on meds for that. Most of her teeth are gone, and she’s on her way to blind. Her mobility and temperament (till now) couldn’t be better, and so we haven’t given any thought to putting her down due to those issues…though we did decide quite some time ago that we couldn’t afford to dish out any more vet bills, given her age and medical issues.

    My question is- if this is in fact a dislocation, are we being cruel to leave it untreated? If the leg is useless but not bothering her, and the only alternatives are an $800 fix that comes with the risk of this happening again, or putting her down…bad as it may sound, my choice would be to leave her on 3 legs.

    I realize that ideally, we ought to have the vet check her out regardless of plan of action. Unfortunately where I live, we rarely get out of the vets office with much more than a check up for under $150…x-rays and we’re lucky if it’s under $400.

    Thanks for your time, Doc.

  112. Doc says:

    Hello, Tim,

    It takes a pretty heavy trauma or a “just right” (“just wrong”) landing to dislocate a hip.

    With that history, I would be more suspicious of a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Unfortunately, that’s also a surgical remedy.

    If the dog gets around okay on three legs and is not painful, that is an option to consider. However, the situation does need to be evaluated and pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication will likely be necessary in the short run at least.

    With an elderly dog, three legs may break down faster than they would in a younger, stronger dog.

    Also, you will need to provide closer supervision. If she fell down stairs on 4 legs, she’s not likely to be more able to handle them on 3 legs.

    I know that we all have lots of demands on our finances, but I really think your buddy should get an examination on this.

  113. Tim says:

    Hey Doc,

    Thanks for the info. You were correct in suspecting that this was not a dislocated hip. We had her crated all night and, surprisingly, Saturday morning her hip was fine.

    Hate to ask another one but we can’t get into the vet for a few days and they haven’t been very helpful over the phone (we’re rural, 1 option)…so I’m wondering if I can get your opinion..
    She’s been throwing up constantly since Saturday morning. Probably 10-20 times in all. Last night and this morning it was quite dark brown- almost black, mainly liquid (I don’t think blood, but I could be wrong).
    I suspect this was our fault. We gave her Aspirin on Friday, and made a few screw-ups in doing so. First, we didn’t realize we were giving her the extra-strength. Second, I gave her a third dose (quarter tablet) not knowing that my wife had given her a second one only an hour prior. She had approximately 3/4 of an extra strength tablet in roughly a 6-8 hour span (she is apprx 12 lbs). Third, as if the first 2 were not enough, we didn’t stop to think if the Aspirin might react to the cancer medication- Prednisone- that she is on?

    Our vet appointment is Thursday afternoon, but thats a ways away if this is something serious. Feeling like quite the bonehead to say the least, and wondering if there is something that I can do in the mean time.

  114. Doc says:

    HOLY COW!!!

    It is not good to mix NSAIDs of any kind (Aspirin is one) with Corticosteroids (Prednisone is one). It is very likely to cause stomach bleeding.

    If you have also given LARGE doses of aspirin, that compounds the problem.

    Aspirin inhibits platelet function, so that makes you more of a free bleeder. All of the NSAIDs, and definitely aspirin, can disrupt the stomach’s ability to make the protective mucus lining that protects the stomach itself from the powerful acid that digests the food.

    It sounds like you have produced bleeding ulcers in the stomach and this needs to be handled as soon as possible.

    Stomach protectants like sucralfate and antacids like famotidine will be needed.

    This does NOT need to wait until Thursday. Your dog is very likely to be vomiting partially digested blood from the ulcers.

    I cannot diagnose or prescribe long-distance, but if I’m wrong, and it’s something less sever, then your veterinarian can fix things more easily.

    This is potentially VERY serious.

    Let me know what happens.

  115. Tim says:

    Took her in Monday night after your post. The vet said that Aspirin should NOT be given to dogs, ever…too many GI issues. When I called they were concerned that she’d have to stay a couple of nights on a drip- possibly even put down if it were bad enough.
    But they checked her out and temperament, movement, heart rate and temperature were all great. Bloodwork came back excellent. They did not mention anything about ulcers, but did put her on 3 meds…horse pills for her GI, an antacid, and some sort of white liquid (maybe the sucralfate you mentioned?) which must taste awful- she’s not a fan.

    She’s been so-so since coming home. Has not eaten since Monday night- maybe due to the meds(?) and has thrown up twice during the night. Not a whole lot, but still the dark brown stuff.

    Bit of good news if she makes it through this bout. The vet said she should be weaned off the prednisone- no signs of cancer and it’s probably doing more harm than good. Blood work and overall she seemed great and no reason to think she’s on borrowed time.

    Have to swing by there on my way home from work to pick up a pain killer for her, will ask about 1) not eating, 2) puking during the night- if that’s something to be concerned about, 3) clarification on the prenisone- if it’s safe to give her the weaning-dose while she’s still recovering from this mess.

    Fingers are crossed.

  116. Juliana says:

    Doc, Can you please give me your opinion. My 1 1/2 year old, 63 lb. mixed-breed, has severe hip dysplasia. Petplan will pay for his necessary bi-lateral Total Hip Replacement! Yay to that. My question is…do you see any problem in waiting 3 months to do the first surgery? He is getting around fine at this time, but the surgeon recommends it sooner rather than later as his left side is partially subluxated. Is there a high risk that it will fully luxate? I don’t want to have emergency THR surgery as the recovery requires 2 months of confinement and we will be out of town several times over the next 3 months. (We are driving 8 hours to get the best surgery. So crazy what we’ll do for our 4-legged kids!)

  117. Doc says:

    Hello, Juliana,

    I am no expert in this field of orthopedic surgery.

    I understand that your schedule will make it difficult for you to supervise your dog after the surgery.

    This is something that you really need to discuss with your orthopedic surgeon. Just tell him your concerns. Obviously there will be a trade-off between waiting (and the possibility of more problems with the other hip), and going ahead (and possibly having problems with the post-op period).

    Just tell him what you have to contend with and ask him which he/she thinks is better.

    We always have to make choices in life, and I’m not very well equipped to help you make this one.

    Talk to the surgeon and give him/her more information about your situation.

  118. Tim says:

    Hey Doc,
    Just a quick update..
    All is well here. She’s stopped her puking and seems back to normal. Vet gave us a prescription for some pain meds in case her knee(?) goes wonky again, and we’re weaning her off of the prednisone.
    Thanks again for all of your input.

  119. Chelsea Linsley says:

    Hello, I have a dog about 4 yrs old he is some sort of pit bull mix. He was a rescue and the vet said he had probably been running around in the woods for about 3 weeks with a dislocated hip and a fractured leg. Since it had been so long that his hip had been out of place it had created a false joint. He said we could do the procedure to put it back in place but he was 100% sure it would pop back out again. So he gave us some pain meds and joint vitamins and sent us on our way. It’s been about 2 yrs since then and I’ve been keepin him on his vitamins and been trying to do as much physical therapy as I can at home and he’s doing good but he always get worse in the winter. With the cold coming in soon I’m worried that all the work we have done this summer to make him stronger with be undone. My question: is there anything you can recommend I do to make him more comfortable through out the year? It’s mostly running or laying on it for long periods of time that hurt him most, along with the cold weather of corse. Thank you so much for your time and any advice you can give.

  120. Doc says:

    Hello, Chelsea,

    It sounds like you already have him on a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement to help with his joint inflammation.

    While a big dog like this doesn’t do as well as a small dog, you might consider an FHO (femoral head ostectomy, the removal of the “ball” of the ball and socket joint). This can relieve the bone-on-bone discomfort that he is probably having. His gait would still be unstable, but it may reduce his pain, once he recovers from the surgery.

    Otherwise, I’m thinking NSAIDs (the non-cortisone anti-inflammatory pain-relievers), like Rimadyl, Previcox, Metacam, Deramaxx, etc. Most dogs can take these on an as-needed basis. Side-effects are possible, so be sure to discuss these with your veterinarian.

    Human OTC anti-inflammatories are generally not safe in dogs. I would stay away from any long-term aspirin or tylenol use, and no ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). These can cause bleeding ulcers in dogs.

    There is a generic form of meloxicam, but the only available tablet is a HUGE dose. Unless you have a huge dog, you really can’t cut it down small enough.

    Ask your veterinarian about using Rimadyl or something similar. Your dog may not need it every day, but it sure sounds like he needs something for the bad days.

  121. Valentines mommy says:

    I have a soon to be 10 year old mix. She is very tall and is about 65-70 lbs. I adopted her as a puppy. At about 6 months of age we took her swimming that night she went to get up and she couldn’t. I had her xrayd and both hip sockets are not developed. She was put on Rymadyl. Was told to keep her a little under weight and that we’d only have her for5 yrs being how bad her hips are. However, she will be celebrating 10 on Dec3 2012. She has had no further issues since being a pup and has not needed the rymadyl. Now here’s our problem Sun, mon, and today thurs. She will be laying down and will go to move or get up and u can hear a pop and she starts crying. At first I thought it was her hips, but It’s not its her front right shoulder. As if its popping out of socket. Which would make sense to me because all these years she has neen over compensating for her hips. I have given her some baby aspirin Mon and thurs. I feel like I can’t leave her alone…for what if it happens while we are at work. I massage her and it seems to help a little. Would a visit to the vet help or am I just prolonging the inevitable.

  122. Doc says:

    Hello, Valentine’s Mommy,

    I would definitely take your friend to see her veterinarian.

    There are safer and more effective pain relievers than the aspirin, especially if long-term use is needed.

    It is also possible that a surgical procedure may be needed to stabilize the shoulder.

    It is even possible that there has been some type of weird fracture in the area, and this isn’t arthritis due to compensating for the hip lameness all these years.

    Take her to the doctor and find out what’s going on and what you can do about it.

  123. Amna says:

    Hello, my 60lb American Stafforshire terrier accidentally jumped onto my 6year old 23lb. MinPin Ratterrier mix and her hind legs went limp and she was crying. She now walks not the same but doesnt quite limp. She is unable to jump or stand on hind legs. Her hip/butt area seem to slope slightly downward and dont appear inline. She is not herself. Could this possibly be displaced hips?

  124. Doc says:

    Hello, Amna,

    I would be concerned about hip problems, problems with the attachment of the pelvis to the backbone, spinal problems, or possibly just sprain and strain.

    Your little pal needs to see her veterinarian.

  125. Raven says:

    Earlier today I was holding my minature schnauzer(She’s pretty overweight for her size. She’s 19.8 lbs) while I was holding her she jumped out of my arms from approximately 3 ft from the ground. She hit the floor on her side kind of and she started crying for a while and when she stood up she wouldn’t put any weight on her left leg and it was pointed inward towards her body, also she would kind of lean her back body to the right, so me and my parents took her to the emergency vet and they examined her and said she dislocated her hip. They said they’ll out her under and pop the hip back into place and keep her in the kennel over night and we could pick her up tomorrow but they also said theres a chance it might pop back out of place later on within the 3 weeks we need to keep her rested and they might have to surgically fix it. It already came to $860 and we don’t want to spend any more money because we are haveing economical problems right now. What are the chances she’ll have to get surgery and how could we prevent it?
    Thank You.

  126. Doc says:

    Hello, Raven,

    Your veterinarian is in a much better position to tell you “the odds”, as he/she has seen your dog, seen your X-rays, and will have actually felt the nature of the injury during the treatment.

    I suspect their advice will include very strict restriction of activity, possibly even keeping the dog in a crate.

    Please try to follow their advice scrupulously. Often we feel sorry for the dog being confined, and let it out prematurely. Then the hip DOES come out again, when it might not otherwise.

    Since the hip hasn’t been out long, the chances of healing are much better than when it goes untreated for several days.

  127. Heather says:

    My friend recently seperated from her husband, and came to stay with us. She brought her 3 year old husky/white shep mix with her. I noticed the dog Sadie was limping and asked why. It seems she got out and was hit by a car a YEAR ago. It messed up her hip. She has not been seen by a vet, it seems like it may sometimes be out of socket and she does not use it. Other times she uses it, but with a limp. My friend has since moved in with her mom, but we still have Sadie. I am not sure if it is for good. I have to wait another 2 weeks before I can make her an appointment (money reasons). Just wondering what your thoughts are for a fix for her, after it has been so long. If she cannot be fixed or we cannot afford it, what are her other options. We have 3 indoor cats and 3 dogs of our own, 3 of them are seniors with health issues we are dealing with. Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism,IBD and Systemic Lupus, also have a younger dog with grade 3 patella luxation. We have lots of meds. to pay for, and an expensive surgery is pretty much out of the question. Thank you for any advise. I just feel so bad for her.

  128. Doc says:

    Hello, Heather,

    After that length of time, it is unlikely that a dislocated hip could be satisfactorily replaced.

    You could have anything from a dislocated hip, to a damaged hip, to bad arthritis, to a combination of all three.

    Some dogs will do best with anti-inflammatory medicines, while others may do best with a salvage operation – the FHO.

    FHO equals Femoral Head Ostectomy. You remove the “ball” of the ball and socket hip joint. This eliminates bone-on-bone pain. Gait won’t be normal, but it isn’t normal now.

    Your veterinarian can tell you a lot more after an examination (and possibly an X-ray).

  129. Courtney says:

    I have a rat terrior that got hit by a car 2 days ago and we took her to a vet and they were not able to put it back. They suggested surgery. But the funds are not available at the time. Is it possible for it to heal on its own and will she live a pain free happy life or will she always need pain meds.

  130. Doc says:

    Hello, Courtney,

    If the hip is not replaced, a small dog like that may form what is called a “false joint”. The ball of the ball and socket finds a place in the muscle tissue.

    A small dog may get around okay after that, but the gait will not be normal.

    It may find a spot that grinds bone on bone, and that will always hurt. Dogs in that situation can have the “ball” removed. This is called a femoral head ostectomy (FHO). The gait still won’t be perfect, but no bone-on-bone equals no pain.

    The FHO is certainly a major surgery, but much less complex than trying to keep the hip in place surgically.

  131. Ashley says:

    My cat had a femoral head ostectomy about a week ago and is now up and walking with a limp. I just noticed that the hip he had surgery on is now sticking out farther than his uninjured hip. Is that normal?

  132. Doc says:

    Hello, Ashley,

    Since the “ball” of the ball and socket joint has been removed, we do expect the rest of the femur (thigh-bone) to move outward a little. It is now connected to the back and pelvis by muscles only. These will be stretching a little bit, so we would expect a change in alignment.

    Let your veterinarian know how your cat is doing. He/she is the person best equipped to advise you, since they have actually seen your cat.

  133. Helen Soper says:

    My mini shnauzer jumped off the four wheeler today abd landed wrong. She immediately started dragging her back end. This scared me to tears. I checked her all out and nothing seems to be broken. She ran around after the kids with an occasional limp. With her dropping her back end and babying her right rear leg. She does not seem to be in pain but she can go down the stairs but not up them. My mom is taking her to the vet tomorrow since i have to work.until then …. Im a human clinical med professional. Do i use heat/ice? What can i give her for discomfort? Aleve, aspirin, or ibuprofen? I think she may have dislocated her hip.

  134. Doc says:

    Hello, Helen,

    Sorry I didn’t get to this earlier. I was out of town over the weekend.

    I hope that by now your veterinarian has things in good order for your buddy.

    Aleve (naproxen) and ibuprofen frequently cause bleeding ulcers in dogs. Short term aspirin use is safer, as is short term tylenol use.

    I cannot recommend doses for dogs I have not seen. No Aleve, and no ibuprofen, please.

    In the initial stages of a bruising type injury, cold compresses slow fluid leakage and minimize swelling. Heat is useful a few days later in the healing process.

  135. Doc says:

    Hello, Wendy,

    When the hip will not stay in place on its own, or with a sling, orthopedic surgery may be necessary.

    A specialist in bone surgery can use pins and wires to hold things in place.

    If you just let it stay out, some small dogs will eventually learn to use the leg, but there is no way to predict if it will work for your dog.

    You need to discuss your options with your veterinarian.

  136. GIna says:


    My 9 year old Pom dislocated his hip sometime on Saturday night. We were not home when it happened, so I don’t know how it happened. We took him to the emergency animal hospital early Sunday morning where they did a closed reduction and then sent him home with his back legs in a hobble. Have you heard of this before? I feel like his leg should be in a sling because he is struggling to go to the bathroom with the hobble and I am concerned he will injure himself more.

    Thank you for you time!

  137. Doc says:

    Hello, Gina,

    Use of a sling is traditional, but has its detractors. They tape sling is hard to keep in place, and frequently cuts into the skin creating sore places.

    Some doctors simply restrict activity by confining the dog to a cage.

    If your doctor is using hobbles, it is probably because that is the technique that is working best for him/her.

    I would certainly be carrying the dog out and carrying him him, and supporting him as much as possible.

    If the dog is really struggling with the hobbles, you should let your veterinarian know about this. He/she is best equipped to advise you, having seen the dog, and used this method before.

  138. Karla says:

    my dog tried to jump on my moms bed but missed and fell off he immediately started crying so we picked him up his back leg isn’t even being used and his spine looks a little crooked. any ideas?

  139. doc says:

    Way too many ideas. Could be a sprain, dislocation, fracture, lots of things.

    If he doesn’t recover on his own VERY rapidly (I mean in a few hours), then he needs to be seen by your veterinarian.

  140. Megan says:

    Hi, my dog (kelpie X 6years healthy active dog) dislocated her hip last week after bring clipped by a car. It was out for more than 12 hours as it happened late at night and she was walking and actually just went to sleep (i had no idea it was dislocated 🙁 ) I took her into an after hours first thing the next morning (on a Sunday) They popped it back in and put an Ehmer sling on her leg and sent me home with anti inflammitories and painkillers. With in 3 days I noticed wetness in her bandage and some blood, I took her into a different VET (not an exy after hours one) and they said the bandage had torniquet and cut off circulation to her paw. They dressed it and fixed the sling. Since then her hip has popped out and her foot is gotten bad, she has lost skin over two of her toes, she may lose her leg. If it is savable they will consider femoral head excision to fix her hip.
    It’s been one thing after another. The first vet cost me $1700 and gave me no post treatment care info on the Ehmer sling. I am pretty upset they did not inform me of the likelihood of the bandage becoming torniquet.. This could have possibly saved a leg amputation. An ex vet friend veiwed the initial bandage and said it was a terrible job. The paw was exposed and there was very little cotton wool dressing. Just an Elastoplast sling. I am not rich and had to beg & borrow to get this treatment. Should I contact the Initial vetenary clinic and explain the situation. The on going care resulting from the torniquet bandage is going to cost me $1,000’s again.. I simply can not afford this.
    Rather upset by it all, and my poor dog has suffered a lot more than necessary 🙁

  141. doc says:

    Hello, Megan,

    The fact that the hip popped out again is not unusual. These are often frustrating to deal with.

    The bandage issue is another matter. I would contact the emergency clinic with copies of the treatment records at the new doctor.

    I can understand your not wanting to pay an emergency fee for a recheck. I don’t know what the clinic’s policy is on that. Most emergency clinics refer the client back to their regular veterinarian for follow-up care.

    I do not know how they would handle your situation, but if they don’t even know about it, I don’t see how they could attempt to help you.

    I do not think it will help to get irate. You are more likely to get help from them by simply explaining the situation, and asking them if they can help you. Give them an opportunity to be a good guy, rather than trying to put them on the defensive.

    Most people want to help and do the right thing. Give them a chance.

  142. James Bechtold says:


    Our little 6 lb Chihuahua was hit by a car last Thursday. I immediately got here to our vet who showed me that she had a broken pelvis and dislocated hip to go with some road rash, broken nails and so on.

    They set her leg and did a taped sling for her. With in 6 hours of being home she had worked her leg out of the sling. She immediately walked on her leg and seemed to be less uncomfortable with her leg out and down. I called the vet immediately and asked if it was okay for her to be with out the sling. For many reasons it seemed to give her less pain, the ability to go to the bathroom since until she got her leg out she wouldn’t go and so on.

    We stay close to her and when she starts to trot or tries to walk to much we pick her up and make sure she is not allowed to really over use or put a lot of pressure on it. She sleeps with us and seems pretty content. We continue to administer her pain pills every 12 hours and things have been going fine until………..

    It’s now Tuesday and has been just shy of a full 5 days. We where woke up to the dog doing that horrific scream and screech. We instantly knew she was in the most awful pain and were not sure why or what happened causing this. She was sleeping between my legs and did not jump, run or really move that we are aware of.

    We immediately wrapped her up when we could calm her down, called the vet and met him at 5:30 AM this morning for an emergency visit. After sedating her and taking another set of X-Rays it is obvious her leg has dislocated again and needs to either be reset or be surgically repaired.

    That is the background and the vet recommended doing the femoral head removal (?? is this what it is called) surgery as opposed to the putting it back in and waiting, or putting it back in and doing the surgery to tie it in place.

    Sorry for the long drawn out story, but I wanted to give you all the info I could. Now here is my question and it’s got a few parts.

    1. Did us not keeping her off the leg and making sure it stayed in the sling make this worse?
    2. Should we consider re-setting it again as opposed to the surgery scheduled later today and see what happens?
    3. Is the head removal the best type of surgery? While cost is a concern and we are already into a big expense, well over $1,000 with the next bill coming in the $2,000 area. I would never let my financial issues determine the course of treatment I would give to her and if you say it is the $5,000 surgery I will find a way to make it happen. If I have to not eat to make her get the best treatment than that’s what my wife and I will do, so we ask for your and anyone’s help.
    4.Will she recover and be able to be her old self after the recovery process?
    5. She is a very playful and fun loving dog, her sister and her play every morning. Will this allow her to get back to doing those things after the recovery process?
    6. I asked the vet his experience and ability to do the surgery and he was very comfortable in doing it, as it is also his recommendation. Are there questions I haven’t asked that I need to make sure to ask before finalizing this treatment plan?

    If I have left things out, or have not gone about this the best way please let me know as soon as you can so that we stop the surgery. It is scheduled for late this afternoon and I want to do what is best for the little one to give her the best life possible. I am comfortable with the surgery if it’s time to do it I just do not want to rush into it and be hasty. At the same time I want to alleviate her pain and don’t want to procrastinate and not get it done if it is what should happen.

    Thanks for your time and answers. These are not only pets but to some of us children and we want to make sure we do everything we can to make it right. With that said I am grateful for any insight or help you can offer.


  143. doc says:

    Hello, James,
    I am sorry to be so late replying, but this did not show up in my email until this evening. Typepad must have had a glitch.

    First, with a small dog who has repeated hip dislocations, I think that I would agree with your doctor and recommend the femoral head amputation (sometimes called FHO, femoral head ostectomy), removing the “ball” of the ball and socket joint.

    Small dogs usually recover almost normal activity without pain after this operation.

    Second, I sincerely doubt that being in or out of the sling was the deciding factor. The sling has become somewhat of a point of discussion in recent years. It used to be 100% standard recommendation. There are now some folks who feel like it creates problems, and prefer to replace the joint and keep the dog crated to minimize stress on it.

    Dislocated hips often come out again and require surgical remedy, no matter how careful you are. I would not be blaming either yourself or your doctor in this matter.

    Best wishes.

  144. Ronnie Nelson says:

    my 12year old collie dislocated herhip nearly 2 weeks ago she had surgry just over a week ago but we are strugling to get her walking again any surgestions please

  145. Dana says:

    My small dog was hit by a car 8 days ago. We took her to the emergency vet. She has dislocated hip, pelvis is broken in 2 places, and deep internal bruising. He did an exploratory abdominal surgery yesterday based on concerns with her white blood cells rising.He found no ruptures or tears. He did remove a bladder stone we were unaware of til the accident and said he flushed some small floating blood clots. He advised we bring her home this afternoon because we have to wait and allow the deep contusions on her organs to heal before he can do surgery on her hip. He sent her home with meds and instructions, asking that I call and check in with him on her status daily. Due to the fact that we had only used him once prior to the accident I suppose my question is …Is this normal to put off the surgery? After researching hip dislocation it appears that waiting can make the procedure more difficult and meanwhile I hate the thought of her being in severe pain.

  146. doc says:

    Hello, Dana,

    If we were trying to simply replace the hip in the socket, then it certainly needs to be done as soon as possible.

    However, that is not the case here. Because of the other injuries, simply (and there is nothing simple about it) manipulating the hip back into place would not have been possible.

    Therefore, I agree with your doctor. Doing surgery on badly bruised, swollen tissue is not going to be a recipe for good healing.

    It sounds to me like your doctor is giving you excellent care and advice.

  147. Debbie says:

    I have a two year old Mali/Dutch herder 31kg and 21Inch,very fit and hypoactive… On Wednesday afternoon she collided with a goalpost when chasing her frisbee… Rushed her straight to the Vets, she was diagnosed with a dislocated hip and they manage to get the Hip back in very easily and they put a sling on it…
    She was back on Friday morning to have x-rays and the hip was still in place…
    The vet ordered for me a special sling and vest which was very expensive and was obviously too small for her… I got her home she couldn’t walk it was putting too much pressure on her back legs because it was squashing her chest to much and restricting her front legs .The sling on her back leg was just not strong enough to support her leg… I took her back and had to insist that they put a different sling on her which stayed in place till Saturday… It’s now Sunday, she still crated but when she goes to the toilet she is using her leg as normal and I’m afraid that it will just pop out… I have to take her back Tuesday… I’m confused… Would it be a backwards step replacing the sling…And would the journey to the vets without a sling cause the hip too dislocate again?

  148. Doc says:

    Hello, Debbie,

    Sorry I didn’t get to this yesterday.

    The sling thing is controversial. It used to be standard treatment, but it’s hard to keep them on, and they often cause problems with chafing.

    There are definitely some doctors who feel that crating the dog is as useful as anything.

    I’m glad you are seeing your veterinarian tomorrow. The doctor who is actually seeing your dog is the one best equipped to advise you.

  149. Isay says:

    Hi doc,

    My dog and I went to a store to avail their grooming service. (Shihtzu 5y/o). Few hours later as I was about to get my dog, the manager approached me that an incident happened while the groomer is bathing my dog.
    He had chills during the first few days. I also noticed that his left hind leg is shorter (and cannot move as well).

    I consulted other vet clinic- they told me he has dislocated left femoral head.I sent complaint letter to the store saying they should pay for whatever expenses my dog will be needing. They insisted that they will not cover all of my expenses since my dog is already old (they insisted its one of the factors)

    Is closed reduction really recommended for small dogs? And is it possible to get dislocated hip even without inducing physical trauma to the dog? Sorry quite long. Thanks in advance!

  150. Doc says:

    Hello, Isay,

    Obviously, I haven’t seen your dog, so I can only comment in a general fashion.

    Generally speaking, it takes a pretty significant trauma to dislocate a healthy hip.

    I have seen injuries that occurred in the home when a dog leaped out of an owner’s arms, and they tried to catch it by grabbing one leg on the way down. This can cause a lot of torque on the leg and produce damage to hip or knee. Not abuse, just a failed attempt to “make a save”.

    The dog “being old” is irrelevant in my opinion, at least in regard to its becoming injured. That isn’t going to make a hip just “pop out”. Being old can certainly affect ability to withstand anesthesia, the surgery, and length of time needed for healing.

    Closed reduction certainly is the method of choice if possible. You never want to do surgery if the problem can be handled less invasively.

    Unfortunately, the longer the hip stays out, the less likely closed reduction is to be successful. With a week’s delay, surgery may be necessary.

    I am sorry you are having to deal with this. I hope you can settle it without litigation.

  151. Jeanne says:


    Two weeks ago, my 8 lb., 1 year old papillon jumped out of a car going about 20 miles/hour, and dislocated his hip. He essentially did “the splits”, leaving his left leg hanging outward. We rushed him to an emergency vet, and were able to do a closed reduction within 4 hours of the accident. He was sent home the next day with hobbles to hold his back legs together, and instructions to keep him in a crate or small area for 2 weeks.

    After a week, I removed the hobbles per the emergency vet’s instructions. My dog was holding his leg a little bit awkwardly, so I had him re-checked at my regular vet that day. Fortunately, the hip was still in place. However, an orthopedic surgeon who was there that day said that he should actually be on cage rest for 4-6 weeks, not 2 weeks, like the emergency vet said.

    My dog is doing very well at this point, but he is getting harder and harder to keep quiet. I’m doing my best to follow the vet’s advice, but my dog is definitely moving around more than when the injury first happened. So I’m wondering – as the days pass, is there less of a chance of the hip popping back out, or are we actually in a more dangerous period as he feels better and wants to be more active? Perhaps you can describe the healing process for this kind of injury over a 4 week period?


  152. Doc says:

    Hello, Jeanne,

    You are right on both counts.

    The longer we go with the hip in place, the more the surrounding tissues can heal and tighten up.

    The better he feels and more active he gets, the more likely he is to re-injure the leg.

    I do feel that at four weeks I would be optimistic that things are going to work out well.

  153. AngelitaFeliz says:

    You don’t have to approve this comment but I wanted to tell you how helpful this article and the commentary have been. I’m freaking out because I think my dog dislocated her hip but I’m not sure. And I didn’t know how serious it is. The info found on other sites was all about what the doc does and the healing process. But here I was able to find out how much danger she is in and how worried I should be. I’m breathing easier now! Thank you!

  154. doc says:

    Hello, Angelita,
    You always want to get things checked out as soon as you can. The longer the hip is out, the harder it is to get things handled.

  155. jack says:

    I have 2nd old hanging tree cur. While running, got leg caught in fence & dislocated hip. Possible bone chip from acetabulum or femoral head. Took to vet immediately but joint dislocated again within hours of replacement. Vet wants to wait couple days.for swelling to go down before replacement. What are chances he will return to working livestock at all. If possible, what restrictions.and rehab do I have ahead of me

  156. Doc says:

    Hello, Jack,

    If there is a chip in the joint, this may not do so well. It’s like breaking a tooth off a gear and letting the piece rattle around in the gears. Additional damage will occur.

    It is possible that surgical replacement will be necessary, if it pops out again. Surgery may also be necessary to deal with the bone chip (if there is one).

    The doctor who is seeing your dog will have a better idea as to how long the dog will need to be rested before trying to go back to work. Several weeks, I would suspect.

    There are actually veterinarians who specialize in rehab. I know they like swimming once the dog is healed up. Good exercise, no weight on the joint.

    This is a friend of mine:

  157. jack says:

    Thanks for your response. Unfortunately hip continues to dislocate (3 times now in 7 days) with use of sling. Vet wants to try again in couple of days. At what point will this method of treatment no longer be an option? I agree with trying & would like to see him recover without f.h.o. but losing hope.

  158. Doc says:

    Hello, Jack,

    FHO works great in small dogs, and pretty decent in larger dogs.

    A good orthopedic specialist can pin the thing back in place. Big bucks, though.

    I haven’t seen your dog, so I really can’t give you a good prognosis on this. Multiple re-dislocations is not sounding to optimistic, though.

  159. liro lugue says:

    Hello, i have a question, is it possible that hip dislocation can lead to hip dysplatia, what are the difference between the two?

  160. Doc says:

    Hello, Liro,

    Hip dysplasia is a term that refers to abnormal development of the shape of the hip socket during growth of the dog. This would lead to a shallow socket, or a poorly formed femoral head (the “ball” of the ball and socket joint), or a looseness of the tissues that hold the joint together (allowing the ball to bang in and out of the socket), or all of the above.

    Dislocation means that the hip has been moved out of the socket by some sort of trauma. It usually takes quite a hard blow to move the ball out of the socket.

    If the hip had dysplasia with a very shallow socket, then it would be easier to dislocate.

  161. Tonya B. says:

    Hi. Today, my almost seven year old lab was running and playing in our yard and “slid” on some grass and leaves and when he got his back legs back up under himself, he wouldn’t put his back right leg down. He didn’t cry, yelp or anything showing pain, other than the limp. After about 30-45 min he began to put a little more pressure on his leg, but still limping. Of course, this happens after regular office hours for our vet… Should we call emergency vet or will he be ok until the next day to get him to our regular vet?


  162. Doc says:

    Hello, Tonya,

    It is unlikely that there is a dislocation. I think that is very likely that waiting until tomorrow morning will be okay if he is putting a little weight on the leg.

    Stay away from over-the-counter pain relievers, as they are not safe for your dog.

    If he is in a lot of pain, best to see the emergency vet.

  163. Adela P. says:

    Hello there,

    I am not sure if this forum is still in use but I figured I’d still give it a go. Yesterday our dog started exhibiting some weird behaviour and even attempted to bite my son when he tried to pick him up. He was walking and running (with no obvious trouble) but not eating and was on the aggressive side. Today we took the dog in. He’s still mopey and sad. The doctor said that his hip WAS dislocated but that it popped back in now. I’m not sure whether I believe that. We live in a fairly rural area so there isn’t much choice in terms of vets. It’s not been 24 hours and he’s just like he was yesterday. Advice?

  164. Doc says:

    Hello, Adela,

    I am really not in a position to disagree with the other doctor, since I haven’t seen your dog.

    I would say that when a hip has been dislocated, it usually does not pop back in. It is usually quite difficult to replace, even under anesthesia.

    Again, I haven’t seen your dog.

    In any case, if the hip IS in place, and the dog is still mopey and sad, it is possible there is another source of pain.

    A recheck examination would be indicated if the pain continues.

  165. Joe Hills says:

    What is the surgery called when the torn tendon of the femur is restored to hold the joint in place? Dont need hip replacement. Success rate for 2 year old. apx cost. Any info greatly appreciated.

  166. Doc says:

    Hello, Joe,

    You are looking at “open reduction of coxofemoral luxation”. These frequently require a surgical implant like a toggle pin to hold the joint in place.

    This needs to be done as soon as possible, as the dislocated hip starts to wear away the cartilage that you need for normal function.

    Success rate should be good if performed in a timely manner.

    Cost will vary with surgeon and your part of the country. I would expect to pay at least $1,500, but I’m no orthopedic surgeon.

    You need to ask your veterinarian for referral to an orthopedic surgeon. A specialist will charge more than a general practitioner. Some general practitioners are pretty good orthopedic surgeons, so you may not need a specialist.

  167. Laura says:

    My 8 year old labrador has hip dysplasia in both hips and has had discomfort in the right side which causes occassional crying when he gets out of hia bed.
    Last night he started screaming, howling and shaking in pain and will not put his back left leg on the floor or put any weight on that side.
    The vet thinks it is just his hip dysplasia but the Tramadol and Metacam he is on does not have any effect on him and he is in agony. Please help!

  168. Katie says:

    My Jack Russell is eight. When she was a puppy she had an operation where she had her knee pinned in place to stop it dislocating. Before Christmas, my dad took her out for a walk and she came back hopping, unable to put her foot down. It’s almost been two weeks and there is no change. Dad keeps taking her for slow walks to try and get her back on it but it’s not working. The vet had a look and said there was no problem. Could it be something like a pulled muscle or ligament or could it just be bruised? She bites her feet a lot but she doesn’t seem to be in pain. She doesn’t flinch when we massage her leg in case it’s achey.
    Worried it could be serious.
    She’s still a happy little dog she just won’t stand on one leg.

  169. Doc says:

    Hello, Laura,

    If the Tramadol and Metacam aren’t giving any relief, I would recommend a closer look at the area. “In agony” doesn’t sound like a subtle worsening of the arthritis.

    If new X-rays don’t show any evidence of fracture or bone tumor or other obvious cause, then at least you can pursue other pain control options.

  170. Doc says:

    Hello, Katie,

    With two weeks of non-weight-bearing, I don’t think you’ve just got a bruise. The dog was out for a walk under supervision, so that would be a little weird anyway.

    The sudden onset makes me concerned about a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This structure is in the knee joint (stifle joint), and acts to stabilize it, keeping the bones from sliding back and forth across one another like a drawer (versus moving like a hinge).

    Even a partial tear can cause these symptoms, and is very difficult to detect. With a complete tear of the ligament, the joint is unstable. However, you often have to sedate the dog to relax them enough to detect this.

    I would recommend that you ask your veterinarian for a recheck, possibly with sedation, plus or minus X-rays.

  171. Autumn Melander says:

    I have a 15 year old poodle who dislocated he’s hip last night. He’s currently back at the vet for slipping and hurting he’s leg again. The vet told me that they don’t want to give him pain medicine just in case it pops back out. I’m not sure how to take care of him or how to help ease he’s pain. The doctor basically placed him on kennel rest for a week. He hasn’t really explained anything to me can someone help ?

  172. Doc says:

    Hello, Autumn,

    I would ask your veterinarian to further explain things. I haven’t seen your dog, and I don’t know what your doctor’s thought processes are in this case.

    Knowing nothing else, I cannot understand why they are not giving him any pain medication.

    Many orthopedic specialists will confine the dog to a cage for rest, rather than trying to put the leg in a sling.

    Your veterinarian may believe that he has explained things very well. You need to let him/her know that you still have questions.

  173. nicola says:

    My dog took off after a cat last nite round a corner and when I ran after her she came back limping on her right hind leg. She can walk slowly but will not go up or downstairs or can not fet up on to the bed or get in and out od the car like she used to, she seems scared what could this be?

  174. Doc says:

    Hello, Nicola,

    To dislocate a hip, it takes a lot of trauma.

    If the dog was out of your sight, then it is possible she was hit by a car, or took a fall that resulted in bruising, even if nothing is broken.

    Sometimes dogs who make a sharp turn under stress will rupture their anterior cruciate ligament. This is a ligament inside their knee joint. It keeps the bones of sliding back and forth like a drawer going in and out (the joint is supposed to flex like a hinge, not slide back and forth).

    This can happen quite suddenly and cause severe lameness. It usually requires surgery to repair.

    Your dog needs a good exam from your veterinarian if this lameness doesn’t rapidly get better in a day or two.

    It is not, repeat NOT safe to give ibuprofen or naproxen (Advil or Aleve) to dogs. Do not give over the counter pain meds to your dog.

  175. Lyn Cook says:

    I’m new to your site, and have read most of the entries under dislocated hips. Several times you’ve said FHO surgery is not optimal for larger dogs. My 12 month old pup is about 53 pounds. He is a hunting griffon mix we adopted at 4 months old from a humane society. From early on, I noticed his gait was not quite right. I looked up info on hip dysplasia, suspecting he may have a degree of it. Four weeks ago, when he was 11 months old, he had a horrible pain episode. The episode lasted all night. I was up with him for 24 hours. I gave him a 50 mg tramadol (medication for my 11 year old Great Dane) but it did not ease his pain. He was crying, could not get comfortable, and could not sleep. Poor Jack would sit and doze, then jerk himself awake to begin crying again. I called the ER vet & they said there was not much I could do.. to bring him in to see them in the morning. We took Jack in, and he was so painful they could not do xrays. They suggested he be neutered and while under, be xrayed. That’s what we did 4 weeks ago. The xrays show severe hip dysplasia in both hips. His sockets are barely there, very shallow. Our vet thinks Jack would do well with FHO surgery. He wants to wait to do it when Jack turns 1.5 years old. That will be sometime around August 2015. We can afford this surgery much better than the $5,000+ THR surgery. I also called an ortho surgeon about hip replacement. If anything goes wrong with THR infection, etc. the whole thing has to come out, and FHO done. It would be our luck for something to go wrong with THR. That said, I’m concerned about FHO because of Jack’s size. I do not foresee him getting any taller or heavier since he is 12 months old. This is the 4 week mark after his neutering, and the first painful hip episode, and today Jack had another painful episode. The vet had said if he becomes painful again, to hold Jack up under his front armpits, and dangle him.. letting gravity realign his hips. That’s what we did. He seems a bit better, but continues to whimper, and limp on one leg. Is there anything else I can do to alleviate his pain? I have tramadol and can give him one this evening. Also, do you think FHO works ok in a 53 pound active dog. Jack wants to be active, playful, running, stalking birds.. it’s awful to see him in such pain.

  176. Doc says:

    Hello, Lynn,
    It is true that a smaller dog generally has better results with FHO than a larger dog. This is because there is less weight depending on a muscle sling (versus a bony joint) to support it.

    That said, it sounds like your dog would be way ahead of where he is now. The veterinarian who is actually seeing your dog is the best person to advise you.

    I am not an orthopedic specialist and certainly would not contradict their advice.

    Best wishes.

  177. Lyn Cook says:

    thanks so much for answering my post 🙂 It’s appreciated. I understand that you cannot advise since you have not examined Jack nor seen his xrays. I have talked via phone with the vet today. The plan is to increase rimadyl from dosing him “on rainy, cold days” to one pill per day. Also am going to include tramadol 2x a day at 50 mg each pill. If this does not alleviate his pain, then i am to increase the rimadyl to 2x per day. These measures are to give us 6 months time for Jack’s growth plates to close before doing the FHO procedure. I have a more generalized question about HD pups/young dogs regarding their activities. Someone, not the vet, told me to not play with Jack in a manner that would cause him to suddenly change directions. Just the night before he became painful, I was playing with him in the house and yard with a laser pointer toy (he loves it). I had thought it better than throwing a ball for him to chase. But now I’m afraid the laser pointer is the reason for this painful episode..he certainly pounces on the dot and chases it, making sudden movements. Do you have any advice on what play activities he CAN do safely? and, what about him going up and down a set of about 7 steps to the backyard? thanks for any advice you can share.

  178. Doc says:

    Hello, Lyn,
    A ramp might be easier for him than the stairs.

    At his age, he was going to make sharp turns and hard stops no matter what you were doing. Puppies play hard. So stop beating yourself up over that laser pointer.

    Generally speaking it is better for him to exercise those muscles than to lay around and let them atrophy.
    If certain activities seem to make him more sore afterwards, then leave those out. Don’t push him if he wants to stop.

    When the weather gets warmer, swimming is great. Lots of muscle activity and no weight on the joints.

  179. Carol says:

    My 3 year old Schnauzer “grand dog” was hit by a car two days ago. He was taken to the vet immediately and his hip dislocation corrected by closed reduction. He does not have a sling on. He is being kept in an area with non-skid rugs. Now I need to know how long should he be kept cooped up and lifted up and down the stairs. Will he automatically start walking a little bit on the leg and we just observe how his pain is? I don’t want to overdo his therapy but don’t want to rush it either. Thanks!

  180. Doc says:

    Hello, Carol,

    I would feel pretty good about two weeks of very restricted rest.

    That being said, your best advice would come from the doctor who has actually seen and treated your dog.

    Please share your concerns with him/her.

  181. Jorge Espinoza says:

    today my dog dislocated his front elbow. we are tight on money and cant take him to the vet. he is a Chihuahua mix (we don’t kniw aht else he is). he weight about 10 lbs. he doesn’t want to move. hes been sleeping since it happened. ive been waking him up to feed him watered down kibble and water. hes only about 4 months old. anything I can do to help him out?

  182. Doc says:

    I really cannot prescribe medicine for a patient I have not seen. Over the counter pain killers like Advil and Aleve are dangerous for dogs, so please do not give them.
    Even when an elbow injury is treated promptly, the elbow often loses some range of motion.
    I understand about money being tight, but I really do not know how to help you treat this injury without professional assistance.

  183. Amber oakley says:

    My dog was hit yesterday and his hip is silicates and needs surgery but he also broke his shoulder on the same side. We have delayed surgery so the shoulder can heal a bit. My only concern is he is not using the bathroom. He did pee today and just started eating solids. Should I be concerned?

  184. Doc says:

    Hello, Amber,

    A delay in having a bowel movement is no emergency under these circumstances. He doesn’t feel like getting up (may not be able to, in fact).

    If he doesn’t empty his bowels in a day or two, be sure to let your veterinarian know and seek their advice.

  185. Doc says:

    Hello, Amber,

    It is very important that he be urinating. You had said in your post that he had already done so.

    If he does not, this really needs to be checked. Sometimes the bladder is injured, but doesn’t break until days later. Then urine is pooling inside the abdomen.

    Do be sure that he is urinating, and if not, contact your veterinarian.

  186. Amber oakley says:

    Ok he’s peeing about once a day. I have to push on his belly then shortly after he lets it all go. His appetite has been ok today and his intake of water has been limited but he’s drinking milk. I’ve called his primary care giver and he said to just watch him and he did not suspect any nerve damage.

  187. Doc says:

    Hello, Amber,

    I’ve been away from the computer for a few days.

    I would try to empty the bladder several times daily. Letting the urine stay in there all day really predisposes to getting bladder and kidney infections.

    I hope things are getting better.

  188. navjot says:

    Hi my rottveiler who is 3 months old fell from third floor..doctor said that he has dislocated his hip bone.after x ray surgery is recommended by the vet now what are the chances of his full recovery after surgery

  189. Doc says:

    Hello, Navjot,

    Full recovery depends on the nature of the injury and what type of surgery is done, how soon it is done, and the dog’s natural healing ability.

    If surgery is performed promptly by a good orthopedic surgeon, prognosis is good.

    If the joint surfaces are not damaged, then full recovery is likely. If the joint surfaces are damaged, it is likely that you could have some arthritis problems at an early age.

    The veterinarian who is seeing your dog is best equipped to answer this question.

  190. Caitlyn says:

    Hi my Name is Caitlyn I have a 9week old pup and my Husband accidently stepped on him while trying to get the food bowl out of his play pen area. He thinks he stepped on his right front foot but im not sure thats exactly how he stepped on him. My husband is a 200 pounds and im afraid he did more than just step on the puppies paw. Our puppy is NOT moving his two back legs are limp. He is still interested in food water and play but cant get up to do any of that. When i pick him up he whines and his to back legs are limp and dangling. He urinates on him self because he cant move. This happened last night i dont have the money for a vet espically since we just found out we are excepcting another baby. Could he have dislocated his hip or are the signs of his leg being broken? If it cant be fixed her at home i will take him to a vet ASAP. just need some advice.

  191. Doc says:

    Hello, Caitlyn,

    I am afraid that your dog may have a broken spine, which is not fixable at all.

    You really should take him to a veterinarian. If his back is broken, you don’t want to let him suffer.

  192. Glen says:

    hey I have a 8yr old shih Tzu terrier she stepped on the deck last night with a little cry checked her paws but they were fine, but when she came in the house and went down the stairs she was howling in pain so much that she peed. when I applied little pressure squeeze on her Hine legs she cries.. I had to carry her out side this morning and couldn’t quat to pee ..what could this be??? and how can I help??

  193. Sonia says:

    My son’s dog jumped off a bridge 24 foot and fell on ice and the ice broke (but helped to brake her . She only got a dislocated hip. She was at vet 2 days later and they attempted to put it into place. It came right out as soon as the sling was off. She seems to be in NO pain, and runs around quite a bit, with a little pressure on it. I have two questions, 1. Will she be able to have pups with a dislocated hip. When I say she runs around, she can go 1/2 mile uphill and doesn’t seem to bother her, very tough. 2. It has been about 3 months now, is it too late to place back in again? I know there is surgery, but we probably won’t do that. thanks. Also are there any vets that specialize in placing them without surgery?

  194. Doc says:

    Hello, Glen,
    Sorry about the late reply, but I’ve been in Africa for my daughter’s wedding.

    I would suppose that by now you have seen your veterinarian. What you describe makes me think first of a lower back problem.

    I hope things are going well.

  195. Doc says:

    Hello, Sonia,
    Sorry about the late reply, just back from Africa.

    I don’t think anyone specializes in closed reductions (putting the hip in place without surgery).

    At three months out, the structures around the hip will be so stretched and scarred that there is no way to replace the hip in the socket without surgery.

    Also, even with surgical replacement, you probably would have some arthritis problems.

    A dislocated hip should not affect the breeding or birthing process. A broken pelvis is a different story, as that could deform the birth canal.

  196. sandra says:

    Hi. All of these postings are from a long time ago so I don’t know if this will even go through to you. My sister has an 8 lb yorki poo about7 years old. He jumped off their very high bed and the hip dislocated.Vet did a closed reduction but it popped out again.The surgery will cost about 2300.00 more than the $500 she just paid for the closed reduction.There is no money for this surgery.None.I am reading all of these posts and nothing is said about a hip brace being used? Also, should Max be on Rimadyl for pain? Also Cosequin? Also messes himself when going poo.Only other option is to put him to sleep.Heart breaking and Sad.My sister cries a lot.
    No payments, cash only.She does not have credit cards and will never have one.She has medical problems of her own also.Is it cruel to let him go in this condition and only use 3 legs? will he be in constant pain forever? Again, there is no money for the open surgery even in the future. Would a hip dysplasia brace help if they have a tiny one? At lease to aleviate pain? Thank you so much for all of your answers above to others.

  197. Doc says:

    Hello, Sandra,

    Since I haven’t seen the dog or its X-rays or anything, I can’t really give you specific information and advice. The comments that follow are of a general nature. You really should consult with the doctor who has actually seen the dog.

    With an 8 pound dog, it is possible that he will develop a “false joint”. That is, the ball of the ball and socket sort of finds a new place in the muscle and tendon, and the dog is able to walk, although not totally normally.

    Certainly in the early stages of such an injury pain medicine would be indicated.

    Cosequin helps with the joint surfaces, and these joint surfaces are no longer in contact. It won’t hurt anything, but not sure how much it will help.

    I would be surprised if the hip dysplasia brace helped much.

    Pain medication and physical therapy like swimming would be good things to do.

  198. Ben says:

    Hello my 12 year old staffy has a dislocated hip ! As soon as the hip is back into position , when my dog put weight on it , it straights away pops out again !!! The vet said he could do surgery for £1200 !!! But being at that age is it worth having the operation done ? Also for around the last year he has gone down hill and has a suspected tumour ? Do you think it’s best to send him to sleep ? Thank you

  199. Doc says:

    Hello, Ben,

    I really cannot decide for you when your dog’s quality of life is not acceptable, and you would wish to consider euthanasia. You know the dog best.

    I understand that one can be reluctant to have him undergo a major orthopedic surgery at his age, without a guarantee of success (not to mention the expense).

    You just have to decide if he’s having more bad days than good days.

  200. Marisol Celestial says:

    I know this article is very old but hopefully you can still help me ?
    My dog was hit by a car and dislocated his hip. The vet popped his hip back into place and put a sling on it, he also taught us how to do it so we wouldn’t have to go back to him as much as we would’ve to just change the bandage. I guess I just had a couple questions:
    Is it okay for my dog to move around? He’s not moving around much, we blocked off our living room area for him to be in.
    How can you tell without taking the bandage off if is hip was dislocated again ? Is it possible to tell or do we have to take the bandage off ? We’re trying to restrain ourselves from changing the bandage too much
    I’m afraid of putting the bandage on wrong because he had such fragile bones right now and I don’t want to hurt them. I’ve been watching videos on the Ehmer Sling, but I just wanted to know what the sling does and what position his leg is really supposed to be in
    He’s also been very depressed since the accident, is there anything we can do for him to try to be happy again or does this indicate that he’s in pain even though he’s been taking medicine for pain and inflammation? Another possible reason could be because of the Elizabethan cone he was to wear, any suggestions on how to make it more comfortable? If you could please answer my questions I would very much apreciate it

  201. Doc says:

    Hello, Marisol,

    I’m still here.

    The purpose of the sling is to keep the dog from putting weight on the leg before the ligaments and muscles and tendons around the joint have had a chance to heal. They are stretched out by the dislocation, so it would relatively easy to re-dislocate the hip in the first few days.

    Thus the position of the sling is one that keeps the leg flexed and non-weight-bearing.

    The usual problem with the Ehmer sling is the tape cutting into the skin on top of the thigh, or getting it too tight around the foot (swollen toes = take it off).

    For this reason, there are some orthopedic veterinarians who recommend cage confinement after the replacement of the hip, rather than the sling.

    If the sling is in place and comfortable, letting your dog move around the living room with supervision should be okay.

    I have not seen your collar. With the stiff plastic ones, I have sometimes used cotton to pad them, covering the cotton with strips of duct-tape to attach it to the collar.

    If he is taking an NSAID for pain (like Rimadyl, Quellin, Previcox, Deramaxx, Metacam, etc.) it is possible to add something like Tramadol if pain control is not sufficient.

    You really should address these questions with your veterinarian. The doctor who has actually seen your dog is in the best position to advise you. If you don’t give him/her any feedback, the doctor thinks everything is going great. Let them know what is going on.

  202. Michelle says:

    I have a westie mix. He went to bed fine & woke up not using his right hind leg. He has held it up and hobbled for 2 days now and mostly lays around? Is there a way to tell if it’s a dislocation or maybe just a strain or pulled muscle without taking him to the vet for tests and xrays?

  203. Doc says:

    Hello, Michelle,
    It is highly unlikely that your dog dislocated his hip while he was asleep. That takes a lot of trauma.

    Sudden onset of that kind of lameness makes me think more of a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament, a ligament inside the knee joint).

    If this isn’t any better at all after two days, I suspect your buddy is having some significant pain.

    I would definitely recommend a trip to yoru veterinarian.

  204. Doc says:

    Hello, Gayle,

    This is something that is very case-dependent. Two weeks is an average. You really need to discuss this with the doctor who is treating your dog.

    Also, be alert for the sling slipping off, or cutting into the skin, or swelling of the paw.

    • Crystal says:

      My 6 month old dislocated her hip, took her to the vet and they were able to pop it back without surgery… took her back within 3 days and they did x-rays bone was still fine then took her within another 3 days for a bandage replacement and they did x-rays again and she was still fine. it’s been now a week since it happened and today i noticed she was kind of limping should I be concerned..

      • Doc says:

        Hello, Crystal,
        I suspect that your doctor advised you to restrict the dog’s activity for another week, at least. As someone who has had a dislocated shoulder, I’m not surprised that your pet still has some soreness.

        Keep your veterinarian informed as to what is going on.

  205. Andy solomons says:

    I have a 5 year old 16 lb yorkie/shi-tzu mix who recently tried to catch a harley davidson that was traveling over 50 mph. Thankfully, he was only clipped by the bike. My vet wants to do a FHO,but i want whats best for my dog. I cant afford a replacement hip, but i can aford the pins(i dont know the proper proper acronyms ). What would you recommend. Which is better

  206. Doc says:

    Hello, Andy,
    Most dogs that small do very well with the FHO (femoral head ostectomy, removal of the “ball” of the ball and socket joint).

    If your veterinarian is experienced in this procedure, that will probaby be a good solution for you.

  207. Marissa p says:

    Hi there. My 2 year old German Shepherd mix (65lbs) got hit by a truck a week ago and within 40 minutes of being hit, she got a closed reduction hip luxation ($1400.00). The vet said that it was difficult to put the hip back in (which is a good thing) and we went in yesterday for a check up. -Vet said she is doing very well and the hip is in place. Phew. I have been keeping her in a crate so she rests and heals…and though she has a sling and con accompanied with her closed reduction, she still manages great when doing her poo & pee outside. She appears to not be in pain and is a happy girl this far. Now, I write because I haven’t really seen any success stories thus far on closed reductions. My dog is a hyper, highly active dog who is in love with balls, running, hiking, and living a very active life with me. Can you tell me if this is possible with a successful closed reduction? And, if it happens to fall out again..would you recommend open reduction or possibly amputation? I don’t want her to be in any future pain and will do whatever it takes to give her the joys of being an active pup again. This dog is my world and I love her more than anything… Any advice or positive feedback?

  208. Doc says:

    Hello, Marissa,

    With what you are describing, I would predict excellent results from your closed reduction. Just don’t get hit by a truck again.

    Open reduction is performed when closed reduction is unsuccessful in replacing the “ball” in the socket. There are times when it won’t stay in, and you have to use pins, etc. to hold it in, after open reduction. Amputation of the femoral head (FHO) is a salvage procedure, works well in smaller dogs, but results are just fair in really big dogs. Total hip replacement is really good, but really expensive.

    What you have described with your dog sounds like a best case scenario for this type of injury.

  209. Marissa p says:

    Thank you for your response, doc. One last thing…last night when I was taking my dog out to go to the bathroom I noticed (while lightly touching the injured hip) that it made a rubbing joint/light crunch feeling. Is that normal for it being 10 days after closed reduction. Or, should it be smooth an not feel like that? I’m a bit worried now.

  210. Justin says:

    Hello, DR.,

    I have a 1 1/2 year old female German Shepherd named snow. She is a very VERY hyper active dog. Yesterday I ran to the store and was gone for less than an hour and when I returned home I found her wimpering with what looked like a broken leg. My best guess is that she jumped off the back of the couch where she sleeps. After I found her I imedietly ran her to the vet. As it turns out the leg wasn’t broken just dislocated. He was able to pop it back in place without to much trouble. He said her bones and back look great but she has a shallow socket. He gave her a 50/50 chance of the sling working. She doesn’t appear to be in to much pain and she’s very happy to be home. Plus the leg was only dislocated for a little over an hour. But I’m thinking non stop about this 50/50 chance. Am I just being over protective worry wart?

  211. Doc says:

    Hello, Marissa,
    Generally speaking, crunchy is not good (unless it’s cereal).

    Talk to your veterinarian about this. It may still be fine. You’re not used to feeling the joint in the way that the doctor is.

  212. Doc says:

    Hello, Justin,

    I suspect the reason that your doctor is giving you the 50/50 thing is because she has a shallow socket. This would make it easier to dislocate in the first place. It would have to be pretty unstable to start with for her to dislocate it in the house by herself. That sort of injury usually takes a pretty significant trauma to put the hip out of socket.

    Therefore, if it came out easily to start with, we have to be more concerned that it won’t stay in, as we would wish.

    If it won’t stay in after being in the sling, you may have to talk with an orthopedic surgery specialist about what can be done to stabilize the joint.

  213. Justin says:


    The sling has now been off of snow for 3 days and it appears that she avoided surgery. (Praise the lord)I’m thinking it has something to do with her injury not being caused by blunt force trauma. Well, that or the fact that we literally carried all 76 pounds of her around everywhere. Either way the vet said that everything looked great and she’s completely back to normal. I’m still gonna keep a hawks eye on her. And for right now she’s only allowed out on a leash. I haven’t let her out to play since she got hurt because 1.) The yards to big. 2.) She gets wild when running free outdoors. Is there anything else I should be doing to avoid future injuries or complications with her hip? Should I have her on special foods or vitamins?

  214. Doc says:

    Hello, Justin,

    I doubt that her nutrition is at fault. Just try to keep her as quiet as possible for another week or so, as those tissues continue to heal around the joint.

  215. John says:

    Hello Dr.

    I have a 14 year old King Charles spaniel mix. About a month ago her hip came out of its socket, we don’t know why, we took her in for a teeth cleaning and after the pain medicine wore off she never walked. Our vet tried to put it back in and had it in a sling for a few weeks. It’s now a month after the initial incident and the hip is out of the socket, she walks slowly on it, but she is laying around in pain. Our vet recommended a Femoral Head Ostectomy. I’m wondering if there are any alternatives. The day before she went in for her teeth cleaning she was running around like a puppy, now she can barely limp.

  216. John says:

    I have a 14 year old King Charles Spaniel mix, about a month ago she had her teeth cleaned, once the anesthesia wore off she was limping. We took her in and her hip was out of place. The Vet tried to put it back but apparently didn’t get the job done. After the sling came off she still hasn’t recovered properly, and I can feel the ball socket is not in its place. At this point I am being told it’s too late to get it back into its socket and we need to do a Femoral Head Ostectomy. Considering she has no issues before the hip came out of socket, is it still too late to put it back? It seems that since the doctor didn’t get it right the first time we now have to cut the ball socket off. Is that correct?

  217. Doc says:

    Hello, John,

    This is a pretty bizarre history. It usually takes a pretty strong trauma to dislocate the hip joint in a normal dog. I cannot imagine this happening under normal circumstances.

    With the dog’s age, it makes me wonder if there is something else that is affecting the joint or the soft tissues surrounding it (some age-related degeneration or something else weird).

    I am assuming that the area has been X-rayed. I have seen dogs where the “ball” of the joint just disintegrated and wasn’t there anymore (the condition is called “aseptic necrosis of the femoral head”).

    When the joint has been dislocated, and the tissues that surround it have been badly stretched, it is not uncommon to have problems keeping it back in the socket. You replace it, it looks good on the X-ray, but things are just too loose to stay in place.

    The longer it stays out, the more stretched those other tissues become, and the less likely it is that the hip joint will stay in place, even if you get it put back correctly.

    There are some major surgeries to use metal implants to keep the hip in the socket, but the results are not always satisfactory.

    With a small dog, a properly performed FHO usually gives really good function with minimal discomfort for the dog. The “ball” part is removed, and this keeps you from having the bone-on-bone discomfort that you have when the thigh bone is rubbing on things that don’t fit it like the socket did.

  218. francesca says:

    My 1.5yr old beagle was hit by a car which resulted in his hip being dislocated. I’m wondering about how long does he need his sling on and if I would need to rerap it?

    Thank you,

  219. Doc says:

    Hello, Francesca,

    Once the hip has been replaced, we try to keep the sling on for two weeks.

    You should discuss this with the doctor who is actually seeing your dog.

    The worst problems with the slings are that they may slip off, or they may get too tight and cut into the skin.

    If it doesn’t look good to you, you should take him back to your veterinarian.

  220. Marissa P says:

    Alright Doc, I’m back. So, my pup, Kale, had a closed reduction surgery October 6th. When I went to get her sling off and her xrays, they called and said it failed. A week later, I went to different vet and he did a FHO on her. Apparently, since my dog is a German Shepherd and has small and shallow hips and the tendon was broken (and the first vet didn’t notice)…she is now recovering from her 2nd surgery. It’s been a week now and she will barely put the tip of her foot on the ground when we walk slowly or stop while going pee/poo. I know that FHO’s have a good outcome…but I keep seeing all these early on success stories and I’m wondering if my dog, Kale, is going to be okay. She’s 65lbs and was in a sling and lost a lot of muscle last month. Any advice?

  221. Ludvig says:

    Hello Dr.

    About 5 weeks ago we went to the vet to get my dogs eyes checked since he had an infection/ulcer in his right eye. After examining my dog the vet realized that his ears also had some infection (which he’s had before since he’s a lagotto and we live in Singapore so the humid climate plus his curly hair in his ears dont make a great combination to avoid infection.) The vet told us she was just going to clean his ears and we had to step outside the room for her to do this as our dog really doesnt like vets and she said that he would be more stressed and “act out” more if he could see and smell us. We heard a lot of whining and screaming and i looked through the window of the door to see 4 vets holding my dog down trying to pull hair out of his ears without any anesthesia. At that point there wasnt much I could do as about 1 minute later the vet comes out to tell us that they accidentally dislocated his left hip!!! Anyway we’ve gone to about 3 vets now trying to solve this problem. First off the vet who dislocated his hip put a cast/sling around to hold his hp in place after popping it back into place. After about a week the sling ws very loose so we called vets to come to our house since our dog is now very afraid of vets and he can smell it somehow the second we step inside a clinic. They put a new sling on however when taking the old one off I noticed there was some gauze for compression. I asked the new vets what this was used for, why was there a need for compression? they just shrugged their shoulders and said it wasnt needed. 1 more week passes and my dog is able to bite off this new sling which was actually a good thing because we could now see the deep infected cut that this new sling had created because the new vets had forgotten to put a compressor!? (it seems like we’ve been having very bad luck with vets recently). After that we called the vets back they told us to leave it open so now he has no sling/cast around his hip/leg and its been like that for more than 2 weeks. My question is, how long does it usually take for an injury like this to fully recover and what would be the best form of physiotherapy since he doesnt have much muscle on his injured leg after not using it for 5 weeks. His leg looks like its slanted and twisted a bit outwards from the body, the vet told us that it looks fine and it doesnt seem like he has any pain but he cannot put pressure or weight on this leg. He’s not able to sit normally and he has trouble standing up after lying down since he only has one back leg for support. His leg also looks like its spassing from time to time but I think this is due to him trying to balance since he cant put pressure on that leg.

    I hope you can give me some answers and advice and it seems like youre more experienced than the vets we’ve encountered.

  222. Doc says:

    Hello, Marissa,

    FHO, properly done, should free the dog from the pain of bone on bone.

    Seven days is not all that long post-op, so I don’t think that I would be expecting the dog to feel great already.

    In addition, she already had a lot of muscle loss, so you can expect a slower recovery on that account.

    Give your veterinarian lots of feedback. If they don’t hear from you, they think things are going great. Share your concerns with them.

  223. Doc says:

    Hello, Ludvig,

    Holy smokes! I hope the eye is healed (and the ears), at least.

    The sling cutting into the skin on the thigh is the reason that some orthopedic specialists recommend putting the dog in a small cage, rather than using a sling. You want to keep the dog from putting weight on the hip and popping it right back out. I have used the slings many times, but you really have to watch them. They are either too loose to stay on, or tight enough to cut into the leg. This is a common problem when you put that tape sling on. It’s no fun.

    I cannot see the skin wound, but they usually heal up pretty quickly, a week to 10 days, once the tape off.

    The way you describe the orientation of the limb, it doesn’t sound like the hip is in place. Can’t tell for sure without an X-ray, though.

    If the X-ray shows it in place, then I’d start physical therapy. Swimming is great, but not always available. Range of motion exercise is easy to do. You just gently manipulate the limb through its range of motion. You flex and extend all the joints. With the hip, you would move it forward and backward, plus rotating it in a circle.

    You want to be very slow and gentle, putting only a little stretch on things.

    If the hip joint is not in place (per X-ray), then after this length of time you are probably looking at a salvage procedure, the FHO (femoral head ostectomy).

    I can really only give very general advice and comments, as I have not examined your dog. It sounds like you really don’t have confidence in the doctors you are working with. Ask a lot of people which veterinarian they go to, and get some word of mouth referral.

    Also, feel free to share your concerns and questions with the doctors who HAVE seen your dog. Sometimes we think we have explained things really well when the client really has a lot of unanswered questions. If they don’t ask, sometimes we think everything is okay.

  224. MelissA says:

    My 12 lb pomeranian got tripped up in my other dogs leash and pulled his hip out of socket. I cannot afford the FHO surgery. How long should i keep him crated for to be sure that he heals ok? Any other suggestions. My heart breaks for him…

  225. Doc says:

    Hello, Melissa,

    You don’t tell me how the diagnosis was made. If your veterinarian has examined and X-rayed the dog, then he/she is your best resource.

    If you’re not really sure that the hip has been dislocated, then I would certainly get an exam.

    You don’t say whether there was an attempt (successful or unsuccessful) to replace the hip into socket.

    If the hip was replaced, and no sling applied, it is common to restrict activity in a crate for two weeks. Again, talk to the veterinarian who has seen your dog.

    If the hip was truly dislocated, and not replaced, then the dog may form a “false joint” and learn to use the leg over a period of weeks to months. Crating a dog in this situation isn’t likely to be helpful. Mild exercise will probably get him walking sooner (though not normally, since the hip is not normal).

  226. Lucy Ellis says:

    Our 70 pound lab mix Sophie was attacked by a bobcat while in the country. Her puncture wounds and abrasions have healed but we have learned from our vet that one leg has come out of the socket. She also has a fractured pelvis on the other side. We will now have surgery to repair the hip. She is off her food and has lost 5 pounds. We are very worried about our beloved dog.

  227. Doc says:

    Hello, Lucy,

    That sounds like on heck of an injury. I understand your concern.

    Stay in good communication with your veterinarian during the healing process.

    Good luck and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  228. rae says:

    I have a 18 year old poodle who fell off a bed and has had a dislocated femur for 3 days, he has been to see one vet and they suggested against surgery because of his age, and to make the hard decision… but they never said they could just pop it back in place? Or what exactly the record of his surgery would be like? Would this be possible after 3-4 days of being out of place… he is otherwise happy, trying to walk, playing, snuggling, eating fine, drinking water etc

  229. Doc says:

    Hello, Rae,

    Many dislocated hips can be replaced under anesthesia. After 3 days, this will be much more difficult, and less likely to stay in place, due to the stretching of the surrounding muscles and ligaments, and the hip socket tends to fill with material similar to a blood clot.

    Surgery to replace the hip and keep it in requires a very good orthopedic surgeon. Many veterinarians do not have the expertise to do this.

    In very small dogs, they will often form a “false joint”, with the head of the femor (the “ball” of the ball and socket joint) settling itself in an abnormal place. They may eventually walk pretty well.

    Aside from the initial stretchign and tearing, the greatest discomfort is bone rubbing on bone. This is why the FHO (removal of the ball) is sometimes performed. This usually results in a pain-free situation when the dog has fully recovered from the surgery itself.

    I can understand the reluctance to perform a long and major surgery on such an elderly patient.

    I don’t really know how to advise you. You could ask for referral to an orthopedic specialist if you are not happy with the way things are going.

    Usually, the doctor who is actually seeing your pet is the best person to answer your questions.

  230. Ashley says:

    Hi, I don’t know if you are still taking questions but my dog dislocated his hip 3 days ago. He is a 12 year old pom mix and weighs 19lbs. I took him to the vet and they couldn’t get it popped back in so they sent hin home with pain meds. I have no money until next Friday to take him in. What are my options and will waiting affect his getting better or healing? I spent all my money at the first vet so I am worried about waiting.

  231. Doc says:

    Hello, Ashley,
    Sorry I’m behind on answering. The longer the hip stays out, the less likely that it can be replaced without surgery. Even if replaced, the stretching of the structures around it over time makes it unlikely it would stay in place.

    He is a small enough dog that he might form a “false joint”, where the head of the femur (the ball of the “ball and socket”) finds a comfortable spot in the muscles around the pelvis.

    If not, and the pain meds don’t control the pain adequately, then surgery to remove the femoral head (FHO) is usually the best solution in a small dog like this. This removes the pain of bone-on-bone, and there are plenty of muscular attachments to allow the leg to function (though not as an athlete).

  232. Dawn says:

    I am fostering a 5 year old pit bull mix that was found as a skinny un-neutered stray several months ago. He has been neutered and had an xray where it is apparent he has a dislocated right hip. It seems to be an old injury and the vet (not an orthopedic specialist)said he may have formed a false hip. He walks on it and appears not to be in pain but he does go to three legs when running (from pain??)Can anything be done at this point. If he walks on it and xray does not show bone on bone can I assume he is comfortable and is it humane to leave as is?

  233. Doc says:

    This is a “yes and no”. I agree that he has probably formed a “false joint”. This means that the head of the femur (the “ball” of the ball and socket joint) has found a relatively comfortable resting place in the muscles outside the hip socket.

    If he walks without any limping, then he may not be in constant pain. If the leg has smaller muscle mass than the un-injured leg, it means that he is using it much less than the normal leg. That equals pain in my book.

    When running, it would put more stress on the abnormal placement of the bone, so it would be more likely to be painful than when walking.

    FHO is Femoral head ostectomy. This means that you cut the ball off the head of the femur. This eliminates the bone on bone contact that is the source of most of the pain with these guys.

    However, don’t expect him to be an athlete. The muscular attachments will support his weight adequately (as they do now), but still may not allow him to run normally.

    Trying to surgically fix the femoral head into its socket is a possibility, but you would need to consult an orthopedic specialist about this.

  234. Andrew H says:

    So my puppy was playing with her older brother who likes to grab legs and hurt herself trying to pull away. She was limping but still able to walk on it. Then her big brother flopped on her and the hip popped out of socket but popped back into place. I would just like to know what to do to ensure the best recovery.

  235. Doc says:

    Hello, Andrew,

    I’m not sure how you know this is actually what happened. If it is in place, then the main thing is to restrict the dog’s activity for a couple of weeks so that the stretched structures are not re-stressed until they can heal a bit.

  236. Tuna's mom says:

    My two year old dachshund and I were walking down a steep slope. When we reached the bottom, I noticed her gait was off, but not quite a limp. Her right hind leg no longer appears to be symmetrical to her left hind leg. It almost seems as if the muscle is separated. When compared to her left hind leg, the right seems to have a droop or valley in the center of the tissue. She does not seem to be in any pain, is eating well, and has her normal level of energy and activity. When I put pressure on the area, it feels like when you have knots in your back, and she does not react at all to my putting pressure on the area. I did, however, notice that there is a bit of a tremor in that leg. Is it possible that she dislocated her hip? Does this seem more like a strain or sprain? We’re not in the best financial position at the moment and I was wondering if this sounds like something that is likely to resolve itself on its own, or if it’s something she needs to see the vet right away about. Thank you!

  237. MaryB says:

    My 6 month old Labradoodle had her hip dislocated Friday and had a closed reduction today, Monday. She is in a sling. Are there any other measure, besides limited activity, that can help ensure the hip stays in place? Any supplements, long term bracing, etc?

  238. Doc says:

    Hello, Tuna’s Mom,

    It would be next to impossible to dislocate your hip while walking. Some type of strain or sprain is certainly more likely.

    Sorry to be so late replying. If it doesn’t get better, do see your veterinarian. Do NOT give ibuprofen, Aleve, or other over the counter pain remedies. They are not safe for your dog.

  239. Doc says:

    Hello, MaryB,
    I suggest that you rely on the advice of your veterinarian.

    I don’t know of any supplements that are likely to make a difference in joint security.

    To support the health of the cartilage in the joint after an injury I like Dasuquin (pricey), and second best is Cosequin (not so pricey).

    Restricted activity for a couple of weeks after sling removal would be routine.

    Discuss your concerns with your veterinarian.

  240. Sandy says:

    Hi my 10 yr old 4lb yorkie was jumping from recliner maybe 12″ jump BUT her 11lb yorkie brother landed on her since he was jumping off too. They yelping started and off we went to ER clinic Saturday night 2/20/16. Well the X-ray showed dislocation and the vet tried popping back in under anesthesia but every time she would flip her over for new X-ray it would pop back out. So after several tries she finally tried wrapping her leg up but couldn’t really do ehmer sling because of her small size. We got home 5 hrs later. I put her in crate and slept for 3 1/5 hours and when I checked on her she had wriggled out of the wrap. So today we went to our reg vet for recheck and it’s back out socket. He is recommended FHO surgery either at specialist or mobile vet that will come to my local clinic. I’m not crazy about taking out healthy bone. I would like to try open reduction but he said most skip that because of failure rate and the FHO is only option. She just 4 lbs and 10 yrs old so not overweight at all just tiny. My vet is getting estimates for me tomorrow because said couldn’t get them by today. I’d really like to try the open reduction first but I’m afraid all this waiting will make that surgery unsuccessful. He said leaving it as it is isn’t an option. That she will be in constant pain. But after reading your post will she form a socket if left alone. Keep in mind she is 10 hrs 4 month so not a spring chicken anymore. Just the to put her thru more than she can take. Thanks. Sandy

  241. Doc says:


    If you are not happy with your veterinarian’s recommendation, perhaps you could ask for referral to an orthopedic specialist.

    Generally speaking, the “false joint” thing is pretty iffy. Some dogs seem to do okay, but they are just as likely to have a bone-on-bone situation that is (as your doctor said) constantly painful. The FHO eliminates that.

    In such a tiny dog, I would expect very good results with the FHO.

    I would also be concerned about problems with open reduction. There just isn’t a lot of tissue there, the bones are quite small, and putting any kind of pin or other implant is going to be a problem.

    I’m no orthopedic specialist, but it sounds to me like your doctor is giving you good advice.

  242. Amanda says:

    Small dog is having surgery to put hip back in place. How long is the recovery time and does the owner have to stay with the dog 24/7?

  243. Doc says:

    Hello, Amanda,
    I am no orthopedic surgery specialist. You really should consult with your veterinarian about this. I would expect him to be doing well in about two weeks, though it could certainly take longer, depending on what kind of damage there is, and what type of surgery must be done.

    I suspect that your doctor will want to keep the dog’s activity quite limited for a while. It should be okay to use a dog crate when you cannot supervise him yourself.

  244. Jannine says:

    Hi.. I have an 11y old Border Collie who dislocated her hip nearly 6 weeks ago. She had a closed reduction and an ehmer sling for nearly 2 weeks and has been cage rested for the whole time. She is walking 2x 15 minute walks a day on lead. Her hip injury was a result of slipping on hard flooring and the femur went under the socket rather than over. She (fingers crossed) doesn’t appear to be in pain, she hobbles a bit but uses her leg confidently. Where would you suggest we go from here? When can we be confident the hip will stay in please? Is it likely to be an ongoing problem/risk? She has always been an active fit girl but I’m terrified to let her run.. Particularly as she ripped the cruciate in the same leg just 14 months ago. Thanks for any advice you can give me.

  245. Doc says:

    Hello, Jannine,

    I cannot imagine dislocating the hip with such a seemingly minor accident. It usually takes a bigger trauma, but I guess it’s like cutting a diamond – if you hit it just right…

    If she is using the leg confidently, I would say the prognosis is good, though she may develop some arthritis as a result. I would continue the controlled exercise, as you are doing.

    The doctor who is seeing your pet is probably the best equipped to advise you. I am certainly not an expert in orthopedic rehabilitation.

  246. Walt Stone says:

    HI Just wanted to add some commentary: Our 2 year old Carolina Dog was hit by a car in excess of 70 mph. We have no idea how she was not killed, but she is a rescue that we adopted from the family who found her on the highway, and stopped in traffic to pick her up. Closed reduction was done within 5 days of the event, and within 30 days the leg had come out again. This recurred another 5x across 4 mos and we were certain to be heading to ortho specialist for surgery. My wife suggested that after the last reduction that I use a neoprene and velcro “sports” wrap in a figure 8 style to support the leg after the Ehmer came off just as they did with us in college sports with chronic injury issues. So we bought to cheap back brace/fat busters that wrap around a persons waist, cut them into 4 inch wide lengths that were about 50 inch long. Sewed Velcro on them and applied to the animal around the thigh and across the hip back. What this did most importantly was allow her to walk on the leg and rebuild strength and muscle that had so atrophied in the prior months. To date, we have avoided surgery and have our fingers crossed. We will still see the specialist after 5 mos out to re-xray and evaluate. I will tell you this, I think if we had wrapped her this way after the 1st reduction tx, we would have seen great results immediately. We decided that we would create these for dogs suffering the same condition(cofemoral luxation) to be used after the reduction, and to get them out of that Ehmer fast and back on their feet fast so muscle strength was not lost around the hip which appears to be a huge reason for relapse. They are listed on eBay as HipFit Dog Wrap Brace” I hope it helps others as it helped our animal

  247. Doc says:

    Hello, Walt,

    I like your idea, but…

    The pictures on eBay are pretty non-useful. I can’t tell much about how it is fitted to the dog.

    At this point, you don’t really have documentation of your results, other than your dog seems to be doing well. Without an X-ray, we don’t know whether your dog has formed a false joint, or the hips is in place or what.

    I do like your idea, and the Ehmer wrap has lots of drawbacks, and that’s for sure. Lots of room for improvement there. I will be interested to see what your outcome is when the dog has her next X-rays.

    If you can get someone with a little artistic talent to help you, I think this is the sort of thing where a good, detailed sketch can make it easier to see how the product is put together. Better quality photos may help as well, but good diagrams may be better.

    If it works well, I think there is definitely a market for it.

  248. Jennifer says:

    Hi there. My 11-year old Brittany, Rusty, got out of the fence when the latch broke on Friday night. He was hit by a car. He has some lacerations and road rash, but no internal injuries. But he has a broken (vet said shattered) pelvis on the right side and the left hip is dislocated. Saturday morning the vet fixed the dislocation. He sent Rusty’s x rays to an orthopedic vet who said an FHO would be best for the right side. I’m trying to decide to take him on the 2-4 hour car ride to a bigger city to see the orthopedic surgeon. What do you think are his odds of recovering with both hips hurt? How does he put weight on them again without hurting the other?

  249. Doc says:

    Hello, Jennifer,
    Sorry about the late reply. I don’t think Rusty will ever be an athlete, but he should be able to walk without pain. The orthopedic surgeon will be better able to answer your questions when he sees Rusty.

  250. Franki Payne says:

    Hi there.

    We have a German Shepard x Husky that used to going any chance he got. Then He was in an accident or just ran for way too long and his hip got badly dislocated and he went for surgery. It’s been a few months and his hip healed nicely. Only thing is he can’t bend his knee joint like the other one or put too much pressure on his leg. But I’ve heard it’s normal that his Will never come completely right, is that true? He still runs and loves life and doesn’t seem to be in pain (unless he falls on the slippery floor). Any advise please? 🙂 thank you

  251. Ronel says:

    Good day. I have a 5month old Jack Russel. I took her to the vet because she was limping. He took xrays and said that the ball of the hip has little cracks in and a few splinters. He suggested that he cuts off the ball of the hip. He said that the ball will gro back. I dont want to take the chance because it does not make sense that it can grow back. And if I alow the opperation it is goiing to be to late to fix it. Please advice?

  252. Doc says:

    Hello, Franki,

    I don’t know why he would be unable to bend his knee (also called the stifle in dogs) joint if he had hip surgery.

    Putting less pressure on the leg would be understandable.

    If the injury was severe enough, he probably won’t be as good as new, but if he can run and shows no pain, that sounds pretty good to me.

    You should really contact the doctor who performed the surgery and let him/her know what is going on with the dog. This would be the person best equipped to advise you.

  253. Doc says:

    Hello, Ronel,

    I think that there has been some failure to communicate completely. In a case like you describe, the jagged edges of the ball grind against the socket, and this produces pain. Removal of the ball stops this contact of bone on bone, relieving the pain.

    The “ball” will not grow back. However, most dogs will be able to function quite well when the leg is attached to the body by just the muscles. This is particularly true in smaller dogs.

  254. araceli says:

    I have a six month old pitbull, a few days ago…she was hit by a vehicle….I was able to treat her for the wounds on the back leg….the wounds are healing well….but I notice that she don’t use the leg and sometimes she drags her self around the house using the injured leg….I can touch it and put pressure on it …and sometimes I can move her leg…..my husband passed away a month ago…so I know I can’t efford a surgery right now….please help me….she was my husbands baby and I hate to see her like this…

  255. Doc says:

    Hello, Araceli,

    I don’t really have anything to tell you. The first thing is to get the hip area X-rayed and see what the actual injury is.

    Only a doctor who actually sees your dog can recommend an appropriate treatment, even if it’s just pain medication.

  256. Mandy Johnson says:

    Hello. I have a 6 year old male pit. He just had hip surgery because his hip was dislocates and would not stay back in place. My dog can not even walk. And he crying constantly because he has to use the restroom. And I don’t know what to do. Plus the vet did not inform me of any post op care. I believe it was because I didn’t have much money he was just busy and probably didn’t think about it. I called and was told I would need to schedule an appointment to discuss it. Please help my baby is miserable. And he is about 90 pounds.

  257. Doc says:

    Hello, Mandy,
    Surely they sent home pain medication, but sometimes a single medicine is not enough. I often combine Rimadyl and Tramadol for instance. It is not okay to combine NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), as their additive effect can cause problems. Never give Ibuprofen or Aleve (Naproxen) as dogs do not tolerate these well.

    Sometimes alternating warm and cold compresses on the surgical area helps to relieve discomfort.

    Surely your doctor will work you in to discuss this as soon as possible.

  258. Tamiko Holling says:

    HI, I have an 8 year old female beagle named Shorty Bear who had injured herself the other night. She was chasing a cat in our small yard. She was hooked on to a cable cord leash When she saw the cat she took off after it with such great force that she snapped the cable cord. Now I am not 100% sure because I didn’t see what happened , but I believe that when she snapped that cable cord it swung back around her & snapped her back. She walks & can stand up but slowly she cant jump & she has a hard time coming up the porch steps to come inside. Like I mentioned before she can walk on it slowly, but its swollen from the ankle to the center of her thigh, I’m not sure if she dislocated, broke, or fractured her leg. My mom said that if she did any of the three that she wouldn’t walk on it or allow anyone to touch her & she’d be crying. Is any of that true? I regret to say I cant afford to take her to the vet I called some of the pet fund organizations here in southern California, to see if their programs have funding to help me with the cost of a vet fees, but I had no luck. Can I give my dog some human pain medicine like Tylenol or IBuprofen for any pan she may have? Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you so much & God Bless.

  259. Doc says:

    Hello, Tamiko,
    This could be a bad sprain or strain in the knee area. It could be a ruptured ligament in the knee area. It is unlikely to be a fracture or dislocation if she is walking on it.

    Sometimes you have what is called a “green stick fracture”. The bone is bent and cracked on one side but not broken all the way through. Very painful, and very fragile, but not displaced.

    Please do not give Ibuprofen (Advil or others) or Naproxen (Aleve or others). Many over the counter pain meds that are safe for people are NOT safe for dogs. They can cause bleeding ulcers.

    Acetaminophen (Tylenol) doesn’t give any anti-inflammatory effect but can relieve pain. Most dogs can tolerate low doses for a few days. There is the potential for side-effects, and I wouldn’t feel safe going more than 3 days without consulting your veterinarian. One 325 mg acetaminophen per 40 pounds of body weight two to three times daily for 3 days would usually be safe.

    I’m going out on a limb giving medicine doses for a pet I haven’t seen, but if you have no other alternative, that should be okay for short term.

    The first day of such an injury, you could use a cold compress, much as you would for a sprained ankle, keeping the injured area cold for 15 minutes, three times daily. Do NOT put ice on the area. Use a commercial cold pack, or wrap a light towel around the leg and put a bag of frozen peas around it, or soak a towel in ice water and keep re-soaking as it warms up. This is for the first day only.

    I really cannot give you more advice without seeing your pet.

  260. Jasmyn says:

    My 6 year old 24kg staffy has dislocated her hip. She has had X-rays and closed reduction ($1000) and the hip has since popped back out! We went to the vet and discussed the open reduction surgery ($3000) which may not be successful as she is over 20kg! We discussed amputation and did a lot of research and decided this may be the best option & also the only option we may be able to afford other then putting our beautiful girl to sleep? But since then another vet has told me that amputation is way too extreme and not an option she would be happy to go along with if we came into the clinic
    I’m so stuck and don’t know what to do! We have had a few different vets and been told differently each time

  261. Jennifer says:

    Hello, I know this is a very old post but thought I would give it a shot. I have a pit bull mix(humane society pup) she is now 5 yrs old 73lbs. The other day she went to get on the couch and it looked like her hips just “gave out”. Well she took it easy all day after but by that evening she was up and moving around favoring her right hind leg. By the next day she was putting weight on it but still favoring it. She is not whining or showing signs of pain other than not full weight baring. No inflammation can be seen any ideas?

  262. Doc says:

    Hello, Jasmyn,
    Sorry I’ve gotten behind the last couple of days.

    I understand your confusion.

    Have you talked to anyone about an FHO (femoral head ostectomy)? This is the removal of the femoral head and neck – the “ball” of the ball and socket joint.

    While this works better in small dogs than in large, I would certainly consider that before amputation of the leg or euthanasia.

    I have seen several large dogs do well with this. They aren’t athletes, but they do okay. There is enough muscle attachment to support the dog’s weight sort of like a sling.

    This should be considerably less costly than the surgery to replace and fix the joint, and no more than the amputation would cost.

  263. Doc says:

    Hello, Jennifer,
    Sorry about the late reply, but I’ve been pretty busy.

    It is pretty unlikely that your dog would damage a hip under those circumstances.

    I would be more concerned about a mild sprain or strain.

    Sometimes a twisting motion will move the kneecap out of place enough to stretch things and be uncomfortable.

    The most common serious orthopedic injury in large dogs (that haven’t been hit by a car, that is) is damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the stifle (knee) joint .

    A mild strain may heal with rest. Complete rupture, usually makes the dog unable to use the leg properly and major surgery is required.

    First aid would be strict rest, walked on a leash when outside.

    If not improving, you really need to see your veterinarian.

    Please do NOT give over-the-counter pain medicines like Ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), as dogs frequently have severe adverse effects, such as bleeding ulcers.

  264. Thandiwe says:

    Hi my 1 year old border collie was hit by a car about a month back , I took her to a vet and found out she had dislocated her hip , she suggested not to do surgery on her because it was too painful and we would have to have her caged for 2 months , she has been limping ever since the accident , do you think the joint will relocate itself?

  265. Doc says:

    Hello, Thandiwe,
    I do not think that the hip will find its way back into the socket spontaneously. It is rather difficult to replace it in the socket when you are working at doing so.

    Sometimes the “ball” of the hip finds a comfortable place to be in surrounding muscles, forming what is called a false joint.

    Sometimes it does not. In this case, removal of the femoral head (the “ball”) is often the best choice if the dog is in continuing pain. This is still a big surgery, but a better alternative than long term pain.

  266. Kelli says:

    Hi Doc,

    First of all, thank you so much for this page. With our situation I have googled so much and this is the one of the only Forums that is updated and has great content.

    Our 4 year old Blue Heeler fell less than 24 hours ago in our backyard. Our dog is very active, at the right weight and lean. We assume she fell from standing on top of the dog house we built. She would have fallen roughly 4 ft. It seems she also got large punctures on her opposite leg. (the vet does not think it was an animal attack or being hit by a car; no road rash and no fighting marks)

    When I came home from work, I immediately took her to the emergency vet because I first noticed the punctures.

    The emergency vet completed her blood work and with an xray confirmed her hip was dislocated. The vet noted that she was a little anemic indicating she could have lost a lot of blood.

    The vet then completed a closed reduction and was able to successfully put the hip back in. The vet verified with additional xrays. She also sutured up her punctures and put a drain in two wounds. My dog left the vet with the ehmer sling.

    My dog is currently sleeping, I have pain meds, anti-inflammatory and antibiotics.

    In addition to keeping her in her crate and with the sling on, what more can i do to ensure the hip does not dislocate again? At this point, I’m so nervous that it will happen again and she will need surgery.

    Also, how do you recommend helping her go to the restroom? Since its only been 24 hours, she hasn’t put any pressure on either legs. I’ve looked online at a dog lift harness or just using a towel. My husband is currently deployed and I will have to be lifting her myself. She is currently at 38lbs.

    Since it’s so early in the injury I want to make sure that I am doing everything I can to ensure she is healing right. I am keeping in contact with my regular vet and the emergency vet both of which I have appointments with in the next 7 days.

    Again, I truly appreciate this forum and what information you might be able to provide.

    Thank you,

  267. Doc says:

    Hello, Kelli,

    I like the lift-harnesses. They make a lot of different ones. Some are “whole body”, some are for the hindquarters, while some are more for the chest and forelimbs.

    Since the hind leg is up in a sling, you would probably need to use the chest type sling. These are certainly easier on your hands and back, and less likely to slip around on the dog, compared to using a towel.

    Nothing wrong with using a towel, it’s just a little more awkward.

    I’d want a hand on her collar or harness in front as well as the towel around her middle.

    These things are really frustrating sometimes. The good thing is that you got the hip replaced soon after the injury, before there was prolonged stretching of the surrounding muscles, and less time to build up junk in the socket.

    I’m sure your doctor has cautioned you to watch for signs of skin damage with the tape of the sling cutting into the skin a bit. This is a problem, because padding makes the tape slip off, but chafing is otherwise inevitable. Sometimes you just have to accept that little trade-off. The good thing is that the skin heals very rapidly once the tape is off.

    Sometimes we have to take the sling off in a week, but then keep them confined for another week.

  268. Jessica says:

    Hi, we have a nearly 16 year old 3.5 kilo toy poodle/Lhasa apso girl that jumped off the couch late last night (we try our best to stop her! definitely investing in stairs or ramps), and dislocated her hip. Immediately rushed her off to the emergency vets since it was very clear from her screaming that something was very wrong.

    They were able to put the joint back within a few hours, (under GA, very scary considering her age) and it hasn’t popped out yet, nearly 24 hours later. We have her at home with the sling, and in a pen to keep her movement to a minimum, but are paranoid about it coming back out of socket- not just because of the pain it would cause or the expense of surgery, but because we’re worried that going under again and for an extended period of time would be too risky.

    Is this something that happens very easily? I’m worried about going to work and even sleeping, in case she moves too much or sits/lies down on the side with the bad hip. She also has bad patella’s so her other leg has very little muscle definition, so her balance is out of whack and she seems unable to walk at all when we take her out to go to the toilet (still no luck there, or with drinking, though she’s eaten a little). She goes between sleeping and being quite restless, but is quite clumsy at the moment, which we worry will aggravate the hip.

    I’m just unsure on how to get her to go to the toilet, eat, drink etc. She seems pretty out of it still, and I imagine she doesn’t understand why she can’t put her leg down.

    Sorry for the long message! May give the vet another call as well, just trying to get as much information as possible. She’s stressing us out with her restless moving!

  269. Doc says:

    Hello, Jessica,
    Sorry I’m a couple of days behind. You certainly want to stay in touch with your doctor. He/she cannot advise you if they don’t know how things are going.

    I would suppose that she is back to being wide awake again now. You want to support her carefully when you take her out, since her “good leg” isn’t so good. You might even want to use a towel as a sling around her belly to help support her.

    Getting the hip back in place in just a few hours makes your outlook a lot brighter.

  270. Jessica says:

    Thanks for the response! My old girls hip is fortunately still in place a week later (and she’s trying to go for little jaunts when outside for the toilet-we don’t let her and have been using a towel as a sling to support her as you said.

    We have discovered today however on her check up that her hock is quite swollen, indicating a lack of circulation from a too-tight sling. For now, the vet cut it open a little in the hopes that this will allow more circulation. If not, she’ll need to have it redone in 48 hrs max. I’m very anxious about this as it was only at this visit that I learned that replacing the sling =$500-$600, X-rays and GA or heavy sedation again. And that she’ll need all of that anyway when it’s time for it to come off even if she doesn’t need it replaced. I guess I’m really concerned about her being put under GA due to her age as I know it’s riskier than in a young dog. What kind of odds am I looking at here? She said that heavy sedation costs about the same, but is it less risky?

    We’ve also been advised that even if the swelling does go down, the sling doesn’t have to be replaced and all goes well with it’s removal – she could take one step and it dislocates again. Is there anything we can do to improve her chances? Are there any braces to help support her hip? We were thinking of keeping her in the crate after the slings removal for another 2 weeks or so to limit her movement.

    Sorry for the long message again! I’m trying to have as much info as possible. I’m very lucky that my parents have paid most of her vet bill (I was 10 when I got her and have her in my own place now but she’s essentially the family dog) and while not well off, agree that what happens, happens. She is very old but has a great quality of life and no other health issues, so we just want to see what we can do for her that lowers her risk of dislocating again (as well as our bank accounts!)

  271. Doc says:

    Hello, Jessica.

    That is always a potential problem with the sling, even when we pad them. We also have trouble with it cutting into the skin on the thigh. The good news is that those things heal rapidly once the sling is off.

    I think your risk with another sedation or anesthesia is pretty minimal, as it will be short and you are just replacing a bandage, rather than having to manipulate a dislocated joint.

    The best advice I can give is that once the sling is off you keep her on a short leash for another two weeks when not confined to her crate. Even in the house. If she has slow, gradual return to use, the hip is more likely to stay in place. If she just stays in the crate, not using the leg at all, I don’t think she will heal as well.

    I would keep her on a leash when outside for several weeks after that.

  272. Aubrey says:

    Hi! My 7mo border collie/German Shepherd puppy dislocated her hip 4 days ago. I was able to get it back in immediately. I’m keeping her confined 85% of the time, and only allowing her to walk around on a leash outside her kennel. I’ve used Benadryl to keep her calmer (pain makes her frantic, I discovered) and 250mg of Tylenol for pain. She gets those 3 times a day.

    I’m doing all of this for 5 days, them I’m going to lighten the restrictions on her and let her play a little more. My question is, is 5 days enough? Or should I go two weeks of activity restriction? She was malnourished when I got her, which is why I believe her hip dislocated so easily (she was going up the steps and missed one, hip popped out). I’ve had her for 3 mos and she eats a hearty, grain free diet. I really don’t want her hip to dislocate a second time. I can’t afford surgery.

  273. Natalie says:

    Hello, I’ve been reading through your responses and most all lead to surgery if the 50/50 pop back in to place treatment doesn’t work.
    I have a miniature poodle and recently her hip has been popping out of place but after a few days she’s fine because she pops it back in but it keeps slipping out. Today both of her hips popped out and she’s refusing to eat or drink(we have aspirin in the water)anything and my mom refuses to get surgery because it’s too much money. Do I just wait? Or should I try and convince my mom to let her get surgery?

  274. Doc says:

    Hello, Natalie,

    With a miniature poodle, sometimes the dog will adjust to the hip being out of place, forming what is known as a “False joint”. The head of the femur (the “ball” of the ball and socket joint) sort of finds a place in the muscles around the hip socket, and the dog eventually gets comfortable with that.

    That doesn’t always happen, and the dog has pain because of the stretching of the tissue, and the rubbing of bone on bone.

    Another salvage procedure is an FHO (femoral head ostectomy). This is removal of the “ball”, so that it doesn’t rub on the pelvis.

    With a dog that small, most orthopedic surgeons probably would not do the surgery to hold the hip in socket, as the bony structures are so small and delicate.

  275. Chris says:

    Hi There,

    My dog went out to pee and I saw that within seconds of going out, she lifted up her back leg and start walking with the three. Later on, she started walking with the back leg slightly stretched and outwards. I initially thought she dislocated her hip, but now I’m not sure if it’s just something stuck in her paw or if it is the hip? Her paw is quite red and she is able to scratch the back of her ears with that leg. IF it was truly dislocated, would she be able to scratch her ears so forcefully like dogs do? I tried massaging the area especially in the joins and she doesn’t seem to feel discomfort. But when I touch her paw (the toe at the end) she squeals.

  276. Doc says:

    Hello, Chris,

    I certainly would not expect a dog with a dislocated hip to behave in such a normal manner. It is painful and not flexible in the normal way. It also takes a pretty heavy trauma to dislocate it.

    Your description sounds more like something lodged in the paw, or a broken nail that is putting pressure on the nerve inside.

  277. Shelia says:

    I have a 14 Year old poodle/maltese mix. She dislocated her hip while playing in the backyard. Took her to the vet, had X-ray’s, they sedated her, put the joint back in place and wrapped it. The next day she hid under the bed and worked the wrap off. There was no way she was letting us put it back on without being sedated again. Now it looks as if her hip come out of the socket again. Not as bad but not right. She still is doing daily activities while not putting weight on back leg. Because of her age the vet recommended complete hip replacement $$$ or put her down. She is on prescribed pain meds until we make a decision. Is it cruel if we let it try to heal on its own? Does the joint pain otc work? Dreading making a final decision but don’t want her to suffer.

  278. Doc says:

    Hello, Shelia,

    Please realize that I don’t know you or your dog, so I can only give general information.

    First, be EXTREMELY careful with OTC pain relievers. Dogs have very poor tolerance for ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. Be sure to clear anything like this with your regular veterinarian. Some OTC drugs give minimal pain relief with many more side effects than the prescription from your veterinarian. Combining drugs can be safe, or deadly, depending on the drugs.

    The joint will never “heal” in regards to going back into place. However, many small breed dogs will form a “false joint” where the ball of the ball and socket (the head of the femur) sort of “finds a place” and the dog is comfortable and functional.

    If this doesn’t happen, another alternative is an FHO (Femoral head ostectomy). The “ball” is removed, so it isn’t impacting bone. This is the most commonly done surgery in a small dog with a chronically dislocated hip.

    You might ask your veterinarian about the FHO surgery.

  279. Dionne Emanuel says:

    My dog fell trying to jump into our truck. He immediately started yelping and hasn’t walked on his left leg. He will sit on it and we can touch it. But it’s been a week and he still isn’t putting weight on it. We have heat on it. Would he last on it if it were dislocated?

  280. Doc says:

    Hello, Dionne,

    He might lie down on the affected side, even if the hip is dislocated. A more common injury would be tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that stabilizes the knee joint.

    You really should have your dog evaluated by your veterinarian. If the hip has been out this long, replacement would be very difficult, and surgery would likely be required. If the ACL is torn, that also requires surgery.

    Neither injury is very likely to “fix itself”.

  281. Laura Wemple says:

    Good morning,
    My dog Gunner was hot by a car yesterday. The vet performed x-rays and found that he had a hip dislocation. He is a six year old, 60lb Lab/Ridgeback mix. The vet put the joint back in place but he hasn’t peed or eaten since the event. It has been almost 24h since to the event. The vet did check the bladder and it is still intact. Should I be concerned that there may be other internal injuries or is this common given that he doesn’t want to stand? Thank you.



  282. Doc says:

    Hello, Laura,

    It is certainly not unexpected to see the patient still being sore after being hit by a car. Even with pain medications, he could still be pretty painful for a few days.

    If he doesn’t make gradual progress, then be sure to let your veterinarian know. Do be sure to monitor whether or not he is urinating.

  283. Shirley says:

    Hi Dr. Mobley,
    Thanks for your time with all of these messages!
    In April 2020, we adopted a 10 week old mixed-breed (presents as border collie) puppy. She is now a 10 month old bundle of energy and we walk her 2x/day (30-60 minutes each walk). Bella is our first dog and we love her dearly. On the 1st of October, Bella saw a rabbit, chased it madly across a field for 2 minutes, and came back ginning like a fiend. Later, after her typical post-walk snooze, Bella was limping pronouncedly on her rear left leg. I took her to the Vet, who felt carefully along her spine, pelvis, hips, knees, ankle and foot, with no whine or indication of pain from Bella. The vet said Bella likely had torn a muscle, said she didn’t need an x-ray, and put her on Metacam, which helped a lot – Bella seemed to be walking normally and was running and pulling at the leash again the next day. Over the coarse of the the next couple of months, Bella has had half a dozen rambunctious play dates and 3-4 mad dashes after rabbits – all of which leave her limping to some degree an hour later. When she limps, she usually uses her left foot a little bit, climbs and descends stairs, and still eagerly goes on walks later in the day, running, trotting and galloping with abandon. However, across the past couple of days, Bella has been whining. She still walks, runs and plays vigorously, but I took her to the vet today where she had her first x-ray of knees and hips. The x-ray shows that Bella has a dislocated hip, with the ball of her femur resting outside of her hip socket. In the x-ray (bird’s-eye-view of her hips), it looks like the ball of her femur out of the socket (there’s a crescent of black space between the ball and socket), but it is not shifted forward or backward from her hip socket. The vet says it’s hard to tell if this dislocation happened days or weeks ago, or if the femur ball has gone out, then back in, and then out again multiple times. The vet said she will most likely need surgery. I am so confused! Bella’s behaviour is SO different from the descriptions of other pet owners following diagnoses of dislocations (Bella walks, plays and runs on her injury). She is only 10 months old and has never been hit by a car or had other known trauma. I have her scheduled to see the vet in town who does osteopathic surgery two days from now. We will go with whatever treatment/surgery she recommends. I guess my questions is what we should expect in terms of surgery success if Bella’s first dislocation likely happened almost 2 months ago (when the first limping occurred)? Is she running around on a false joint already, meaning her muscles, facia and ligaments are already severely scarred? Also, between now and her likely surgery, can we continue to allow Bella to walk and play as she desires, or should we suddenly begin treating her differently? Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Shirley, You certainly have an interesting and unusual story. It sounds like Bella is already in the situation of having developed the so-called “false joint”. I can’t imagine that the hip joint would have become dislocated in normal play, unless she had a really poorly conformed hip join to start with. I don’t think that you need to change Bella’s lifestyle while you are waiting to see the orthopedic surgeon. I do think that I would try to avoid the hard runs that make her lame afterwards. Those episodes may produce some swelling in the area that would make it more difficult for the surgeon to evaluate her.

      • Shirley Bartz says:

        Thank you for your reply, Dr. Mobley. I will take your recommendation for avoidance of hard runs and rabbit chasing to heart. Regarding the possibility for a poorly conformed hip socket (i.e., congenital malformation?), I wonder the same. Wish I could share her x-ray with you so you could see the minimal (my untrained opinion) displacement of her femur ball in relation to her hip socket. However, that’s mostly impatience and an appetite for multiple opinions on my part. Tomorrow we see the veterinary orthopedic surgeon. Thanks again for your reply!

  284. Pat Gibson says:

    So, my spirited dachshund or as he thinks he is a Bull mastiff has tried to chase the postman out of our driveway today. He was inside the house and saw him approaching so he jumped and lunged at our full size window and then fell on his bum. He was sulking and in pain and taken to the local vet but he wouldn’t allow anyone near him to actually fully examine him. He got given anti inflammatory and pain relief meds and I was told to bring him back if he wasn’t getting any better. He has perked up a little bit which is good news but I’ve noticed that there’s a clicking sound coming out of him now when he walks. His movement has been restricted but this was just a few steps he took outside when doing his business and then again when he got up to get a drink of water. This is worrying me, I will most likely be taking him back for a second opinion but it’s hard to get in to a Vet due to Covid, I was lucky today but also went in as emergency. I’m curious if there’s anything this sound might be a sign of? Or, should I be looking out for some other symptoms related to hips? The vet doesn’t think it’s IVDD at this stage but she only pressed on this back whilst he was in my arms. I’m just really worried.

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Pat,
      With Dachshunds we always worry about back problems, but this doesn’t sound like one. The clicking could be hip, but more commonly would be the knee (stifle joint, we call it in dogs). We usually have to sedate these patients to get enough muscle relaxation to properly manipulate the joints. If your buddy isn’t improving, I suspect that is where your doctor will be going next.

  285. luna says:

    hi doc , my dog’s hip got dislocated on saturday night and we took her to the doc the day after. the doc put the joint back and my dog have to be in a cage for 2 months. but ive been hearing this clicking sound when she walks just now. is it from the hip or is it coming somewhere? and shes been panting and trembling. is something wrong with her? im worried.

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Luna,
      The clicking sound could be from the hip, but that’s usually something that you feel when manipulating the hip, rather than being able to hear it from a distance. The panting and trembling does suggest pain. I am supposing that your doctor sent home some pain medication after the accident.

      If she is getting worse instead of better, you should definitely let your doctor know. If he/she doesn’t hear from you, they think that everything is fine.

  286. Gian says:

    Hi Doc,
    My sister has a 9 year old cocker spaniel, and man fell on her and dislocated her leg. Her vet is giving her the option of FHO surgery, or a prosthetic. Getting her examined they also realized now that the dog has arthritis. My sister is very confused as we hear FHO can be very successful on small dogs like her. But my sister wants to make sure she can provide her with whatever is best for her future. I guess she’s trying to figure out which option would get her back to “normal” eventually, and with a better success rate.
    Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Gian,

      By prosthetic, are you referring to a total hip replacement? That would certainly be a great thing, but pretty expensive. Cockers vary so much in size. If the dog were under 20 pounds, I’d be great with the FHO. If she’s closer to 40 pounds, then it may not give as happy a result.

      The surgeon who is seeing your dog is better equipped to advise you than I am. If you don’t feel that the communication is good, then you should get a second opinion that is hands-on, rather than long-distance.

  287. Charlie says:

    Hi I have one question, so my dog run way and for hit by a car, he got up and kept running, so we couldn’t catch him resulting in him being missing for 4 days. We found him and notice his back leg was hurt, so we don’t know of it was from the car hit or something else ( the vet said that from what he could see on the x-rays it was from the car) so we did the pop in, he said maybe it will not work but thankfully it did. I know we have to be careful specialty for the first couple of weeks, there’s always a chance it pop out again. My question is the doctor didint wrap it up, he said it would be better for him, since he is not the kind of dog that like things around him or whatever, the vet just advice to be carefull not to put pressure on that leg. It’s now the 2 day he is doing fine he walks slowly with that hurt leg,. So do you thing is ok for him not to be wrapped? Because everywhere I look it says needs to be wrapped. thank you

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Charlie,

      We used to always try to wrap those things in a sling. These were bad to make the leg sore, and to slip off. There are many orthopedic specialists who recommend close confinement, rather than the wrap. It is a case by case assessment, and we try to use our best judgment as to what will be best for each individual.

  288. Michelle says:

    I have a 13-year-old Australian Shepherd with early congestive heart failure. He is not a candidate for surgery. He has ventral hip luxation (xrays). His hip does not stay in place. I can pop it back in without him having any pain. I have done this for 3 weeks now about once a day. Sometimes when he lays on his bad hip, the act of getting up will pop his hip back. When his hip is in, he is very active and will run as soon as it is back in. Now I am having problems putting it back in. He does have pain when I try to do this. It has been out for a whole day now. I cannot seem to get it back in. I am not sure what else I can do. I can have my vet put it back, but it will come out again. Just for information, my vet said he has great sockets/ no dysplasia. Do you have any ideas? Am I having problems putting the hip back because blood or something got in the socket? We do have him hobbled which works great and he can run like this when his hip is in place. We also have nonslip booties so he does not sip getting up.

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Michelle,

      I am no orthopedic specialist, and it sounds like you need one.

      It is certainly possible that blood in the socket is preventing it from going back in, but that seems odd, considering the chronic nature of the problem. Without a fresh injury, I wouldn’t think it would be bleeding there. Certainly, the stretching of the tissues from the repeated in and out is going to make it unlikely that the hip stays in place. I personally suffered from repeated dislocations of my shoulder. It got so bad that I couldn’t climb a ladder without it slipping out of place. I had to have corrective surgery.

      I am sorry that I have no great ideas for you.

  289. David says:

    We are 3 days out from a closed reduction on our 6 year old Boykin spaniel’s hip. She is small for her breed; I think she was the runt of her litter :). It was reduced within an hour of dislocation. So far, so good with keeping her crated, medicated, and wearing hobbles. Should I ask that her hind leg be placed in a sling instead when we go for follow-up x-ray? Dreading the thought of her having to go through and paying for an FHO or replacement. Any suggestions on how to keep her from peeing on her hobbles? By the way, this website is a very rich resource, and appreciate your generous responses/service!

    • Doc says:

      Hello, David,
      The sling used to be the standard treatment. It is not so widely accepted now. It is hard to place and keep in place, and the tape often causes sores on the skin where placed. There are some orthopedic specialists who feel that cage rest is just as effective (and less difficult).

      As with many conditions, where authorities don’t agree on one single recommendation, we don’t have a “one best” approach for all cases. If we did, that’s what everybody would do and there wouldn’t be fifteen different ways to do it.

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