Medication is usually tried first, before surgery would be considered:
• Corticosteroids are used. It is safe medication when given to dogs and it decreases inflammation and swelling. It is injected directly into the Boxer dog’s joint.
• Acetaminophen can be given to dogs, under the veterinarian’s care. Careful dosing must be done, as too much can cause liver damage to a dog.
• NSAID (Aspirin or the newer buffered versions of Rimadly, Carprofen, Metacam or Meloxiam) medications may be given. These help to decrease swelling, pain and stiffness. It is important to note that a dog owner should never attempt to give medication to their Boxer dog without the vet’s advice. Giving Ibuprofen to a dog is toxic.
• Dog supplements, called Visco-supplementation can help. This gel type substance is injected directly into the dog’s joint. It has lubricating properties and can help with pain and improve a dog’s range of motion. This is only a temporary fix.
If a dog’s condition worsens, surgery is the next step:
If diagnosed in the early stages when the Boxer dog is still a puppy and the joint and socket are for the most part, still intact:
• Surgery can be performed in which the dog’s pelvis is cut into 3 separate pieces and then relocated to fit properly. Up to 8 weeks of rest will be needed for the Boxer dog to recuperate and for the bones to heal correctly
For dogs with extensive degeneration of the joint:
• Surgery may be performed to actually remove the pelvic joint. Surprisingly, many dogs compensate well for the missing joint and will enjoy a much better quality of life. Up to 5 weeks of rest will be needed afterwards.
• Total hip replacement surgery is an option. An implant consisting of cobalt chrome stainless steel is set in and a socket made of high tech plastic is used in place of the dog’s socket. In some cases, this extensive surgery will allow a Boxer dog to resume a completely active lifestyle. Up to 8 weeks of rest will be needed afterward. Progress to a previously active exercise routine will be gradual and will increase as time goes by.