Hip Dysplasia in Airedales

We are seeing hip problems more often than we would like to in our rescue Airedales.  This often shows up as an unusual gait or bunny hop.  The cause is a usually a genetic defect that causes the hip socket to be "loose".  For a more detailed discussion of hip dysplasia, you can visit this Web page.

Regardless of whether surgery is performed or alternate options are pursued in mild cases, it is imparative that the dog be kept on the normal to lean side.  Being overweight makes any option much more difficult and painful for the dog.

FHO Surgery

ATRA has had very good success with doing FHO surgery on our adult dogs with hip dysplasia.  This entails removal of the head of the femur.  There is relief from the pain of a sloppy joint and the leg muscles hold the leg in place.  The recovery period is usually two weeks.  It usually takes about 6 to 8 months for the dog to regain the maximum amount of mobility - which is usually about 80% of what a normal dog would have.  ATRA has had over 30 of these surgeries performed on our rescue Airedales.  For more information on this type of surgery, you can visit this Web page.

Some of our supporters have shared their experiences with the recovery following FHO surgery.

Recovery from FHO - Eric Hughes
Recovery from FHO - Lynn O'Shaughnessy


TPO Surgery

ATRA has also seen hip dysplasia problems in some of our puppies and young dogs under one year of age.  If the condition is severe and arthritis has not yet set in, TPO surgery may be recommended.  For more information on this type of surgery, you can visit this Web page.

Full Hip Replacement Surgery

If this surgery is performed, the dog will usually be able to do most anything a normal, healthy dog can do after the recovery period.  The one very important thing required is that the dog remain quiet for about 6 weeks after surgery.  With an Airedale, this is usually an especially difficult task.  This surgery is also the most expensive surgical option.  With funding being a consideration for rescue, and with the success of FHO surgery, ATRA will opt for the FHO surgery unless the veterinarian suggests differently.  For more information on total hip replacement surgery, you can visit this Web page.