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Home » Pumi health, Recommended

A new treatment for the prevention of clinical signs of canine hip dysplasia

Submitted by on Apr 29, 2010 – 11:10 PMNo Comment
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A new veterinary surgical technique is now available in Hungary during which the hip socket’s growth pattern is changed for the better with minimal invasiveness and morbidity in young puppies at high risk for developing hip dysplasia (with high hip laxity).

The technique is called Juveline Pubic Symphysiodesis and is aimed at decreasing hip laxity by destroying the growing cells of the pubic growth plate and thus “anchoring” the bottom of pelvis. Normally, the entire pelvis explans uniformly as the puppy grows – by disrupting the growth of the pubis the hip’s growth pattern will change. Following the surgery, the rest of the pelvis continues to grow in the original pattern, and the fused pubis acts like a hinge along which the upper portion of the pelvis rotates to a different angle which helps cup the ball of the leg bone in the hip socket. Results of the surgery therefore will only be visible in 2 or 3 months, as the pelvis grows.

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As illustrated, the bottom of the pelvis will not get any wider while the top of the pelvis will continue to grow, thus rotating the socket over the ball, giving it a better coverage (shaded area).

There is a realítively short period in the life of the puppy when this surgery can be performed – by 24 weeks, the window of opportunity has closed since the growth of the sockets can no longer be effectively influenced. The ideal age for the treatment is between 15 and 20 weeks of age. Therefore, JPS is considered a prophylactic (preventive) procedure, since most dogs do not display clinical signs of hip sysplasia until they are older than 6 months of age.

The basis of the procedure is a thorough hip dysplasia screening test performed by 15 weeks of age, which includes PennHIP radiopgraphs and hip joint laxity evaluation. This test should be performed in the case of puppies where the risk of hip dysplasia is higher than usual for one reason or other. Reasons may include

  • the breed of the puppy;
  • known dysplasia in the parents and other ancestors;
  • development of suspicious movement patterns (clinical signs), etc.

Other puppies may also benefit from this test by having the normality of their hips confirmed at an early age, and for example thus making them show or sport prospects.

If based on hip laxity and clinical signs JPS is clearly indicated in a puppy, surgery should be performed as soon as possible since a few weeks’ delay may significantly malaffect the result. Generally, 90% of dysplastic dogs can be considered candidates for this procedure. However, in very serious cases, when there is no evidence of the hip socket, this procedure remains ineffective by the nature of the surgery.

One of the main advantages of this technique is the low cost, since surgery is performed under short-term general anesthesia with no implants and minimal invasiveness, so an early return to normal activity can be expected. Only a small incision is made between the hind limbs to expose the pubic bone of the pelvis, then the growth plate of the pubis is cauterized to destroy the growing cells of this part of the pelvis. Patients likely will go home on the same day that the surgery is performed.

Photos by Valley Animal Hospital (VA, USA)

There are no serious known side-affects or complications, although it must be said that there are no long-term studies as the procedure is relatively new. What is inevitable is that the fusion does result in a narrowed pelvic canal, which in female dogs restricts the birth anal, but this does not appear to be slinically significant since all puppies are surgically sterilized at the same time a JPS is performed. Why? Because only the physical deformity is corrected not the genetic cause. Puppies that receive JPS can still perpetuate hip dysplasia, so their breeding would be completely unethical. Moreover, the surgery remains unnoticable so dogs treated with JPS could be misrepresented as dogs free from disease later in life.

In summary, JPS is a prophylactic procedure which can be used in young dogs susceptible to hip dysplasia. The purpose of the procedure is to decrease hip laxity in immature, potentially dysplastic dogs by inducing premature closure of the pubic symphysis. This procedure has been documented to improve hip joint conformation.

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