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FHO Surgery in Cats

FHO Surgery in Cats

FHO surgery can be an effective and relatively inexpensive way of treating hip issues in cats. Here, our Plains vets explain the hip anatomy of cats, the problems that may affect your cat's hips, and what is involved in FHO surgery and recovery.

Why has my cat developed hip problems?

If your cat is suffering from painful hip problems, they may be caused by a mixture of old age, injury, and a genetic predisposition to hip issues. Some of the most common hip health problems in cats include:

  • Hip luxation or dislocation, often associated with serious dysplasia is commonly treated with FHO surgery. 
  • Hip fractures that can't be repaired surgically either because of the health of the patient or the means of their owner.
  • Legg-Perthes disease is another condition that can affect your cat's hips. This condition involves a decreased blood flow to your cat's femur, causing degeneration to their femur's head and affecting the function and comfort of their hip.
These relatively common conditions in cats can result in mobility issues and pain. To help return your cat to comfortable mobility orthopedic surgery may be recommended.

What's wrong with my cat's hips?

Your cat'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 cat's hip bone's acetabulum (the socket).

With the normal function of cat hips, their ball and socket work together to allow them to have easy and pain-free movement. When disease or injury breaks down or disrupts their normal hip function, mobility issues and pain may result in rubbing and grinding between the two parts, Inflammation caused by poorly functioning and damaged hip joints can reduce your feline friend's mobility and quality of life.

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

What are the signs of hip problems in cats?

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

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

Cat FHO Surgery

During your cat's FHO surgery, your vet will remove their femoral head, leaving behind an empty hip socket. Your cat's leg muscles will hold their femur in place at first as scar tissue starts to develop in their hip. Over time a "false joint" will form from scar tissue and cushion your cat's bones.

FHO Surgery Cost

FHO surgery is a relatively inexpensive procedure that can often help to restore pain-free mobility to your cat. The cost of your cat's surgery will depend upon several factors so you will need to consult your veterinarian for an estimate.

Cat After FHO Surgery - What to Expect

Every cat is different. After surgery, they may need to stay at a veterinary hospital for some time, ranging from a few hours to a few days. The length of their stay will vary based on 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 cat will have to have their activity restricted by keeping them comfortable enclosed in a crate or by confining them to a small room where they can't run or jump. 

If your cat isn't in too much pain. Your vet may recommend rehabilitative treatments like the passive range of motion exercises to encourage your cat's hip joints to return to their natural range of motion.

Phase 2

Starting about one week following their surgery, the second phase of recovery begins as you will gradually begin to increase your cat's physical activity to strengthen their joint.

This prevents scar tissue from getting too stiff and will help to improve your cat's long-term mobility. Your vet will instruct you about what appropriate exercises for your cat may be.

Most cats recover fully within about 6 weeks of the surgery. If your cat hasn't fully recovered by this time, they may require 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. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Is your cat's mobility being compromised by painful hip conditions? Contact Northeast Veterinary Referral Hospital today for more information, or, as your primary care veterinarian about a referral to our skill Plains veterinary specialists.

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