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FHO Surgery in Cats: All You Need To Know

FHO Surgery in Cats: All You Need To Know

FHO surgery can be a successful and cost-effective treatment for cats with hip problems. Here, our skilled veterinary surgeons in Winston-Salem describe FHO surgery for cats, and the recovery process.

Why is my cat having hip pain?

Hip problems in cats 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.
  • Dislocated hip, often associated with serious dysplasia is commonly treated with FHO surgery. 
  • Legg-Perthes disease is another condition that can affect your cat'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 cat. To correct the issue, orthopedic surgery may be recommended..

Why would my cat need FHO surgery?

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 normal hip function, the ball and socket work together allowing easy and pain-free movement. When injury or disease breaks down or disrupts your cat's normal hip function, pain and other mobility issues can result due to rubbing and grinding between the two parts. Inflammation caused by a poorly functioning or damaged hip joint can also 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 active cats' 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 that my cat is experiencing hip pain?

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

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

What does FHO surgery for cats involve?

During your cat's FHO surgery, your vet will remove the femoral head, leaving the socket of your cat's hip empty. Your cat's leg muscles will initially hold the femur in place and scar tissue will develop between the acetabulum and femur. Over a period of time, a "false joint" will form and the scar tissue will form a cushion between your cat's bones.

How much does FHO surgery for cats 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 a number of factors so you will need to consult your veterinarian for an estimate.

What should I expect from my cat's FHO surgery recovery?

Each cat is different. After surgery, they may need to stay at a vet hospital for anywhere from a few hours to a few days for post-surgical care. The length of their stay will depend on their health as well as a few other factors. 

Phase 1 of Your Cat's Recovery From FHO

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 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 vet may recommend passive range of motion exercises to encourage your cat's hip joint to move through its natural range of motion once again.

Phase 2 of Your Cat's Recovery From DHO

Starting about one week after surgery, the second recovery phase involves the gradual increase of your cat's physical activity to begin strengthening their joint.

This prevents the scar tissue from getting too stiff and will improve your cat's long-term mobility. Your vet will instruct you on what appropriate exercises for your cat might 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. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

At Carolina Veterinary Specialists our skilled veterinary surgeons perform a variety of surgeries to treat injuries, diseases and other conditions in cats from across the Winston-Salem area. Contact us today to learn more.

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