Coxofemoral Hip Luxation (Hip Dislocation) in Dogs

Overview of Coxofemoral Luxation (Hip Dislocation) in Dogs

Coxofemoral (hip dislocation) luxation is dislocation of the head of the femur, which is the ball of the thigh bone, out of the socket of the pelvis (acetabulum). In dogs, the dislocation is usually the result of trauma and results in a non-weight bearing lameness of the affected limb. Hip dysplasia can also cause coxofemoral luxation and is not covered by this discussion.

Hip dislocation occurs when the round ligament of the femoral head, the structure that normally tethers the femoral head within the acetabulum, completely ruptures or pulls away from its attachment.

There are no breed, age, or sex susceptibilities for this problem.

The potential long-term effects of hip luxation range from none, if the problem is addressed early, to severe arthritis in the joint if there is excessive delay in treatment.

What to Watch For

Signs of hip dislocation in dogs may include:

Diagnosis of Coxofemoral Luxation in Dogs

Diagnostic tests that may be required to confirm the diagnosis and determine the presence of concurrent diseases or abnormalities, include:

Treatment of Coxofemoral Luxation in Dogs

Treatment may consist of one or more of the following:

Home Care and Prevention with Coxofemoral Luxation

Take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible after any trauma for immediate evaluation.

After closed reduction, the limb will be placed in a sling and your dog’s activity will need to be restricted for several weeks to allow the joint to heal.

If an open reduction technique is used, the leg may be placed in a sling and your dog’s activity restricted. Additionally, the skin incision will be monitored during the healing process.

Radiographs may be repeated in several weeks to make sure the hip is still in the joint.

Many traumatic events are true accidents and thus unavoidable. Walking dogs on a leash and keeping animals confined to a yard will reduce the chances of them being struck by a motor vehicle.

In-Depth Information on Coxofemoral Luxation

Hip dislocations can develop under a number of circumstances. Prominent reasons are trauma and pre-existing hip problems such as hip dysplasia. Take your dog to your veterinarian as soon as possible after any trauma or injury, including those that lead to limping or inability to walk properly.

Early intervention can save your dog from life-threatening injuries and reduce future problems, such as arthritis in cases of orthopedic (bone and joint) trauma.

Traumatic Fractures

When coxofemoral luxations occur due to trauma, the trauma may also cause fractures to occur.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a developmental abnormality that leads to instability between the head of the femur and the acetabulum. Severely dysplastic hips may be more likely to become dislocated or may be more difficult to keep in the joint after repair.

Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests and subsequent treatment recommendations.

Diagnosis In-depth of Coxofemoral Luxation

Treatment In-depth of Coxofemoral Luxation

Closed reduction (non-surgical replacement of joint)

The outcome for this procedure is best when the procedure is performed early after trauma. General anesthesia is needed to replace the femur into the socket.

After the procedure, the limb is placed in a sling to prevent use of the leg and maintain the position of the joint.

Open reduction (surgical replacement of joint)

This technique is used when closed reduction fails, an avulsion fracture is present at the attachment of the round ligament of the femoral head on the femur, or if concurrent orthopedic problems preclude the use of a sling after closed reduction. It too requires general anesthesia.

Open reduction requires that a surgical approach to the hip joint is made to allow direct visualization of the bones and joint capsule. The torn round ligament of the femoral head is removed and the head of the femur is replaced into the acetabulum.

The surgeon may use one of the following methods for maintaining the position and preventing reluxation:

Home Care of Coxofemoral Luxation in Dogs

After surgery, the limb may be placed in a sling.

After closed reduction you may be required to:

After open reduction you may be required to: