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Objective— To examine the effects of juvenile pubic symphysiodesis (JPS) on hip joint conformation, hip laxity, gait, and the development of degenerative joint disease (DJD) in dysplastic puppies operated at 15 and 20 weeks of age.

Study design— Randomized controlled prospective study.

Animals— Eighteen female hound puppies with increased hip laxity.

Methods— Puppies were randomized to 1 of 4 treatment groups: JPS at 15 weeks of age (n = 6), sham-operated control at 15 weeks of age (n = 3), JPS at 20 weeks of age (n = 6), and sham-operated control at 20 weeks of age (n = 3). Hip extension with pain scoring, Ortolani palpation, hip reduction angle measurement (HRA), PennHIP radiography (University of Pennsylvania) with measurement of distraction index, Norberg angle measurement, and transverse computed tomographic imaging to measure acetabular angle (AA) and dorsal acetabular rim angle (DARA), were tested preoperatively, and at 1 and 2 years of age.

Results— JPS resulted in significant changes in AA, HRA, DARA, and conversion to Ortolani negative status. Larger and more rapid changes in hip conformation were seen when surgery was performed at 15 weeks of age. No significant changes were identified in control dogs. Twenty-five percent of JPS dogs developed DJD whereas 83% of control dogs developed DJD.

Conclusions— JPS resulted in significant improvements in hip joint conformation and hip laxity in dysplastic puppies treated at 15 and 20 weeks of age. Improvements in conformation were significantly greater when surgery was performed at 15 weeks of age.

Clinical relevance— JPS appears to be a promising treatment for hip dysplasia and is a safe and technically simple procedure to perform.