Hospital for Small Animals

Double hip replacement restores dog’s energy and mobility

Samoyed makes full recovery following operations to replace both his hips.

xrays of dog before and after double hip replacement surgery
X-rays before and after Theo's two hip replacement procedures to replace his misshaped femoral head and hip sockets with prosthetics

Veterinary Specialists from the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies’ Hospital for Small Animals have given a dog a new lease of life following successful surgeries.

The young dog with degenerative joint disease is now living pain–free and with increased mobility and energy, following double surgery to replace both his hips.

Painful disease

Theo, a one-year-old Samoyed, was referred to the Hospital for Small Animals’ Orthopaedic Surgery Service with severe hip osteoarthritis associated with hip dysplasia.

The disease had affected his mobility, and he became lame following exercise or whenever he played with other dogs. While pain medication was helping, Theo’s quality of life was affected, as was that of his owners.

First hip replacement

X-rays confirmed that Theo was a suitable candidate for a total hip replacement and he was scheduled to have the procedure on his right hip joint, which was the worst affected of the two.

Once under general anaesthetic, the orthopaedic surgeons removed the femoral head - the ball of the hip joint - from the top of Theo’s femur and replaced it with a metal prothesis. The acetabulum of his pelvis, also known as the hip socket, was replaced using a prosthetic cup implant for the artificial femoral head to sit into.

samoyed dog
Theo is now living pain free and has greater mobility and energy levels

Thanks to the expertise of the Hospital’s Anaesthesia team, Theo was walking comfortably on his operated hip three hours after surgery. His recovery was supervised in the Hospital’s Intermediate Care ward, which allowed for close monitoring and active support of his initial recuperation by the Hospital's nursing team, before he was discharged to continue his convalescence at home.

Second hip replacement

Around 95% of dogs referred to the Hospital for evaluation for total hip replacement have osteoarthritis affecting both of their hip joints. The majority cope well after replacing the worst affected hip, however, some dogs will require a double hip replacement to provide pain relief.

A year after surgery on his right hip joint, Theo’s newfound comfort on the operated leg highlighted that he was now struggling more on the left hind leg. Theo therefore returned to the Hospital for a second total hip replacement, this time on his left hip.

Theo’s second surgery went well, and, following a brief period of recuperation at home, he regained a comfortable range of hip motion in both legs.

Theo is now living pain-free and no longer requires non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). His owners report that his activity levels have markedly improved since surgery, as have his general mobility and energy levels.

Multidisciplinary expertise

The Orthopaedic Surgery referral service is staffed by four Diplomats of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons, who are Specialists in Orthopaedic Surgery. In additional to managing clinical cases, they train and mentor a further three dedicated interns and five residents (surgeons-in-training), ensuring the future of orthopaedic veterinary care for pets.

The Orthopaedic Surgery Service worked in close partnership with the Diagnostic Imaging, Anaesthesia and nursing teams to ensure the highest standards of welfare and care for Theo.

Professor Dylan Clements, who managed Theo’s case, has over 20 years of experience performing total hip replacements in dogs and undertaking research into the genetic basis of hip arthritis to develop new strategies to prevent it in future generations


Theo is a great example of the result that can be achieved when multidisciplinary teams work collaboratively to maximise the outcome for our patients. It also highlights the importance of our cutting-edge research into these devastating diseases to improve the health and welfare of dogs. Every case referred to the Dick Vet helps us in that mission.

Dylan ClementsProfessor of Small Animal Orthopaedics, Dick Vet Hospital for Small Animals

About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies  

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than 800 staff and almost 1400 students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos.  

The School comprises:  

The Roslin Institute  

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems  

The Roslin Innovation Centre  

The Hospital for Small Animals  

Equine Veterinary Services  

Farm Animal Services  

Easter Bush Pathology  

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education  

We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.