Hip dislocation

Dislocation of the hip normally comes from trauma such as being hit by a car or falling from a height.

There may be other injuries such as fractures to the pelvis, or internal abdominal injuries.


If treated soon after the injury, dislocated hips can sometimes be replaced under anaesthetic without surgery (closed reduction), and sometimes have bandages called Ehmer slings placed to try and keep the hip in place. Unfortunately the risk of repeat dislocation is about 50%.

For these cases surgery is recommended to replace the hip and stabilise it (open reduction).
There are a variety of techniques for stabilising replaced hip joints. We have been using a suture technique for several years now, in animals ranging in size from cats to 40kg dogs, with great success.

An alternative to replacing and stabilising the hip is to remove the head of the femur (the ball in the joint). This is a good option if there are fractures in the femur as well, and in cats and small dogs works well. There is a resultant loss of some power in the limb, which is more noticeable in larger dogs, so it is not ideal compared to reduction and stabilisation.

Suitable candidates

It is essential to check for and treat any other injuries. Pelvic surgery can often be done at the same time as relocating and stabilising a hip.

Otherwise any age of healthy animal is a good candidate for surgery.

Time involved in clinic

Surgery done in the morning would normally see the patient discharged from the clinic the next day.

After care

Gentle lead walking is essential after replacing and stabilising a hip, for about 3 weeks after surgery. The rest time is shorter if the head of the femur is removed instead.

How to book

Give reception a ring on 09 238 7486 to discuss transfer of your patient to our clinic for assessment and treatment. You may be asked to bring any clinical notes, xrays images, and medications with you when you come.