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If your pet suffers from hip dysplasia—the abnormal formation of the hip socket that can cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints—your vet might recommend a total hip replacement to alleviate pain and restore correct movement. According to our research hip dysplasia surgery will cost around £4,500 per hip, but prices can range considerably. Certain pet insurance plans cover hip replacement surgery, which can save you thousands of pounds.
Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery Cost UK
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A total hip replacement to treat hip dysplasia in a dog costs around £5,000 per hip, but could be more. It is common that dogs who need the surgery will need it in both hips, bringing potential vet bills to around £10,000+ in total. Actual vet fees can vary depending on a number of factors such as size of the dog and your location. In our research, we found surgery costs ranged from £3,000 up to £8,000 for one hip.
|Cost of Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery (per hip)
As for the procedure, a total hip replacement involves removing the entire hip joint from your dog and replacing the damaged ball and socket with surgical implants that are made of a combination of metal and plastic. The operation is expensive due to the high degree of skill and specialized surgical equipment needed, from a specially-trained surgeon and nurses to a fully-equipped operating theatre and the artificial joints.
While a total hip replacement is a significant and costly surgery, the high reported success rates might mean your vet might suggest it as the best option to treat your dog.
Cruciate ligament dog surgery cost UK
Similarly, our research showed that cruciate ligament dog surgery in the UK also costs around £4,500—but could be higher.
Is Hip Dysplasia Covered by Pet Insurance?
Hip dysplasia is covered by many pet insurance plans on the market in the UK, but not all. Hip dysplasia is classed as an "illness" not an "injury", and would therefore NOT be covered by accident-only pet insurance plans. On the other hand, hip dysplasia should be covered by pet insurance plans with coverage for both accidents & illnesses.
That said, a total hip replacement to treat hip dysplasia is an expensive procedure and falls over the vet fee limit set by many pet insurance plans. For example, a plan with £3,500 of lifetime cover would only cover £3,500 of vet fees in a year, less than the cost you're likely to pay for just one hip replacement. As pet owner, you'd be responsible for any amounts not covered by your insurance.
Treatment typically won't be covered if your pet showed any signs of hip dysplasia before you took out your pet insurance plan or during the initial waiting period. The only exception to this that we're aware of is Scratch & Patch (quotes available with our pet insurance comparison here), which will waive the waiting periods altogether to give you immediate cover if your pet was insured for veterinary fees under another policy of insurance up to the start date of insurance with them, provided you provide proof.
Pet insurance won't cover hip dysplasia:
- On accident-only pet insurance plans
- For any amounts over the vet fee limits, according to the terms of your plan
- If any symptoms appeared before your pet insurance became effective
Also, some pet insurance plans won't cover any genetic or congenital health conditions. Owners of certain pets should be sure to check a pet insurance policy's policy wording to search for any mention of this. If genetic or congenital health conditions are excluded, then, for instance a German Shepard's hip dysplasia may not be covered, because hip dysplasia is a known genetic condition for German Shepard dogs.
Two Hips Count as One
Hip dysplasia is considered by pet insurance to be a "bilateral condition"—a condition that affects a body part on one side of the body of which your pet has two (e.g., ears, eyes, hips, cruciate ligaments). This means that both hips are essentially considered as one, which matters when it comes to insurance policies with a time or maximum benefit limit. Therefore the type of pet insurance—time limited, max benefit or lifetime—can have a massive bearing on how hip dysplasia is covered.
Time Limited: A time limited plan only covers a condition for 12 months (typically from first symptom). If your dog were to display signs of hip dysplasia in one hip only, the 12-month clock would start ticking for treatment of both hips, even if the second hip was still healthy. As a result, treatment would not be covered for the second hip if it developed hip dysplasia later on (after the 12-month window).
Maximum Benefit: Similarly, max benefit plans provide a capped amount of money to use towards a given condition. When used to cover hip dysplasia for a dog, you only get one pot of money to treat both hips.
Lifetime: Subject to vet limits, lifetime cover generally offers the most comprehensive cover of hip dysplasia since the vet fee limit resets each year. While it can occur in any dog, those with a breed prone to hip dysplasia (e.g., large dogs such as Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, Old English Sheepdog, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, etc.) in particular might be best served by a lifetime pet insurance policy to help mitigate the potential costs of hip dysplasia.
Top tip: If your dog needs a hip dysplasia surgery and you have insurance, try to arrange for the insurance to pay your vet directly. This can take a few days to arrange so be sure to ask both parties (i.e., the insurance company and the vet) well ahead of the surgery. You may be charged a nominal admin fee by your vet of around £20 to compensate them for their time, but that way you avoid paying your vet thousands of pounds while you wait for the insurance to reimburse you.
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