Hi, I wanted to ask what the chances are of developing arthritis after a hip replacement and how long after the surgery it could occur? My rescue lurcher was involved in a RTA at 10/11 months old. Her femur smashed through the acetabulum obliterating it and fractured her pelvis in several places.
She had reconstrucive surgery at Davies Vet Hospital, but unfortunately the metal implant failed and there was malunion of the bone, so 6 months after her accident (April 2017) she had a total hip replacement (it was mentioned that quite a bit of arthritis was removed during this operation). She suffered a sciatic nerve injury during the surgery, but with extensive rehab this eventually resolved.
She had a lot of hydro and physio at the hospital (she was under their care for a total of 15 months) and we also had a physio come to our home during that time. We made a lot of adaptions to the house and we did massage, physio – a range of stretches and exercises, pole work etc, increasing time on lead walks, Hivamat Deep oscillation (I have a machine), nerve and muscle stimulation, hot and cold therapy, KT taping, proprioceptive techniques…. the list goes on (!) 3 x a day and she made a fantastic recovery in the end and now legs it around like a greyhound!
She is very long in the body and I know sitting is often uncomfortable for sighthounds and lurchers, so I never ask this of her, but I noticed that since the accident she is unable to sit for more than a second and that she does an odd bum shuffle to get into a down and getting back up from lying down is slightly awkward like there is a little stiffness and the muscle has never rebuilt to be the same size as the other one (although it is pretty big and strong now), you can also see it’s slightly shorter on that side than the other.
I have booked her with a Galen therapist as I think that may help her and if so, I would like to train in it myself to help her and hopefully other dogs who have chronic pain (I do human massage part time).
She suffered some behavioural issues as a result of all this and we have worked with a vet behaviourist on that front. He did mention that she had high chances of developing arthritis, but I had so much else to take in at the time that I didn’t ask more, but I wondered whether this could be the cause of her stiffness on getting up and lying down or whether it’s too soon to be thinking that could be the cause or if is just habit from when she was in pain as it’s something she has done since her first surgery?
From what I understand of total hip replacements they are often considered to be curative from an osteoarthritis point of view, and I’m not sure any dog would actually live long enough for the joint to start to wear again. I could well be corrected on this however, and will ask one of the vets on the team.
My thoughts are that it could be possible that the other hip is arthritic (if not bilaterally replaced) as he would have been compensating on the opposite limb putting it under more stress than it usually would have had. Your myotherapist will hopefully be able to tell you where and if he is compensating and could provide some relief with the treatment which may well help the signs of stiffness that you are seeing. Or, as there were pelvic injuries involved, there could be some alignment and compensatory issues arising from that. Otherwise, an orthopaedic and neurological exam with your vet, plus imaging will get you a more definitive diagnosis about what the issues could be.