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What You Need to Know About FHO Surgery in Dogs

FHO surgery can be an effective and relatively inexpensive surgical treatment option for hip problems in pets. Today, our Tigard vets describe the hip anatomy of pets, hip problems that could affect your pet, and what’s involved in FHO surgery and recovery.

How Hip Problems Occur in Pets

Hip problems in pets can be caused by a mixture of old age, injury, and genetic predisposition.

  • Hip fractures that can't be repaired surgically either because of the health of the patient or the means of their owner.
  • Hip luxation or dislocation, often associated with serious dysplasia, is commonly treated with FHO surgery. 
  • Legg-Perthes disease is another condition that can affect your pet's hips. This condition is characterized by a lack of blood flow to the top of the femur, leading to the spontaneous degeneration of the head of the femur, resulting in arthritis and/or hip damage.
These relatively common conditions can cause mobility issues and pain for your pet. To correct the issue, orthopedic surgery may be recommended.

How Your Pet's Hip Joints Work

Your pet's hip joint works similarly to a ball and socket mechanism. The ball sits on the end of the thigh bone, or femur, and rests inside your pet's hip bone's acetabulum (the socket).

Normal hip function involves the ball and socket working together to allow for easy and pain-free movement. When an injury or disease disrupts or breaks down your pet's normal hip function, rubbing and grinding between the two parts can cause pain and other mobility issues. Inflammation caused by a faulty or damaged hip joint can also limit your pet's mobility and quality of life.

This procedure Is commonly recommended for pets, especially ones who are fit. The muscle mass around active pets' joints can help to speed their recovery. However, any pet in good health can have FHO surgery to alleviate its hip pain.

Signs & Symptoms of Hip Pain in Pets

Your pet companion may be suffering from a hip problem if they show one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Muscle loss around their back limbs
  • Increased stiffness and reduced range of motion
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty jumping
  • Limping when walking

What is an FHO Hip Surgery for a dog?

During your pet's FHO surgery, your veterinarian will remove the femoral head, leaving the socket of your pet's hip empty. The leg muscles of your pet will initially hold the femur in place, and scar tissue will form between the acetabulum and femur. A "false joint" will form over time, and scar tissue will form a cushion between your pet's bones.

The Cost of Dog FHO Surgery

FHO surgery is a relatively inexpensive procedure that can frequently help your pet regain pain-free mobility. The cost of your pet's surgery will vary depending on a number of factors, so you should consult your veterinarian for an estimate.

Your Dog's Recovery From FHO Surgery

Each pet is unique. They may need to stay at a vet hospital for a few hours to a few days after surgery for post-surgical care. The length of their stay will be determined by their health and a few other factors. 

Phase 1

In the days immediately following surgery, you and your vet will focus on controlling pain with medications such as prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Your pet will need to have their activity restricted by either crating them or confining them to a small room where they aren't able to jump or run.

If your pet is not in too much pain, your veterinarian may advise you to perform passive range of motion exercises to encourage your pet's hip joint to move through its natural range of motion once more.

Phase 2

Starting about one week after surgery, the second recovery phase involves the gradual increase of your pet's physical activity to strengthen their joints.

This prevents the scar tissue from getting too stiff and will improve your pet's long-term mobility. Your vet will instruct you on what appropriate exercises for your pet might be.

Most pets recover fully within 6 weeks of surgery. If your dog still doesn't use their leg at this point after FHO surgery, it may need physical therapy or rehabilitation to ensure a full recovery.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your pet companion suffering from a painful hip condition? Contact our Tigard vets today to see how we might be able to help.

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Cascade Veterinary Referral Center is accepting new patients! Get in touch with us today for information on how to book a specialty appointment for your pet. 

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