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Mini Poodle is Thriving After Hip Surgery

By Christy True
published: April 28, 2023 • 3 min. read
Disco, a miniature poodle.

Diagnosis: Hip luxation
Cost: $9,737 | Healthy Paws reimbursed: $6,592
Coverage options:  80 percent reimbursement | $500 deductible

Disco is a three-year-old miniature poodle full of joy, said his pet parent Ryan. His favorite activity is chasing after his ball – which he kicks around like a soccer ball. He also loves to spar, wrestle, chase, and play hide-and-seek with other small dogs and his humans.

“He has just the right amount of energy—he loves to play hard and cuddle even harder. He’s friendly and sweet and is seemingly always ‘smiling’. He loves people and is an excellent listener,” Ryan said. “He loves to jump into the pool and then get out, and dive back in. Huge leaps as far as he can get. He lets out a yelp each time!”

As playful as he is, Disco will stop most activities for a snuggle session or a belly rub, and he’s a star at the groomers because he will stand still while they work, even sometimes falling asleep standing up during the trimming.

Sudden injury to right hind leg

Two years ago, when he was still a puppy, Disco stopped using his right hind leg over a month’s time. Ryan and his partner Jameson were unsure how the injury occurred, and they hoped rest and home care would solve the issue. In retrospect, they think Disco was injured at a dog park while playing with a larger dog.

When Disco didn’t improve, it took several vet visits, including a bone analysis that ruled out any hereditary problems, to determine it was a quite serious hip injury.

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Hip surgery is needed

With genetic joint issues ruled out, Disco was diagnosed with luxation of the femoral head or hip joint dislocation. Sometimes the hip bone can be put back in place non-surgically, but the veterinarians at Vet Med in Phoenix, Ariz. determined that Disco would need a femoral head ostectomy (FHO).

Disco, a miniature poodle, recovering from surgery.

FHO surgery removes the ball and top of the hip bone. According to VCA animal hospitals, the leg muscles will initially hold the femur in place. Over time, scar tissue forms to provide cushioning, referred to as a ‘false joint.’ Although this joint is anatomically different from a normal hip joint, it gives pain-free mobility in most pets.

The surgery was successful, and Ryan stayed home for two weeks to care for Disco as he recovered. 

“We napped, we iced the wound, we did the post-op care the doctors prescribed, and played tug-of-war to pass the time,” he said. 

Months of physical therapy

After the surgery, Ryan enrolled Disco in physical therapy at the Canine Wellness Center in Scottsdale, where they did a combination of therapies, including stretching, hydrotherapy, cold laser, and ultrasound. They regularly went for six months after the surgery, which was tremendously helpful.

“It provided Disco with the physical recovery benefits and the mental stimulus he was missing. To this day, I think it’s one of his favorite activities,” Ryan said. 

Disco, a miniature poodle, getting treatment.

How pet insurance helped

Ryan signed Disco up for pet insurance as soon as he adopted him on a friend’s recommendation, and he’s glad he did.

He was pleased that Healthy Paws reimbursed him for 80 percent of the surgery, follow-up appointments, and physical therapy.

“In fact, we quit the therapy when we felt he was sufficiently healed and not because the policy questioned it,” Ryan said.

How is Disco doing today?

Disco, a miniature poodle.

Two years out from the surgery, Disco is thriving today.

“He’s full of life and loves to run and jump. Other than a slight skip in his step (out of habit now), he’s walking, running, and jumping with all his legs and all of the joy,” Ryan said. 

The claim scenarios described here are intended to show the types of situations that may result in claims. These scenarios should not be compared to any other claim. Whether or to what extent a particular loss is covered depends on the facts and circumstances of the loss, the terms and conditions of the policy as issued and applicable law.

Insured persons providing testimonials in this report have not received compensation for their statements.

Christy True and Tomas
By Christy True

Christy has been writing about pets for Healthy Paws for 28 dog years. She also coordinates media requests and manages the Healthy Paws Foundation. A background in journalism may be why she enjoys writing about offbeat animal studies and the latest viral pet trends. She has been owned by several dogs, and she volunteers with a local dog rescue. Outside of work, she can usually be found sliding down a mountain near her home in Bend, Ore.

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