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FHO Surgery in Cats

FHO surgery in cats may be an effective and relatively inexpensive surgical treatment option for hip problems. Today, our vets in Carlsbad describe cat hip anatomy, hip problems that can impact your kitty and what FHO surgery and recovery entail. 

How Hip Problems Occur in Cats

Hip problems may be caused by a combination of injury, genetic predisposition and old age. 

  • Hip luxaction or dislocation, often related to serious dysplasia is often treated with FHO surgery.
  • Hip fracture that can't be corrected surgically either because of the patient's health or their owner's financial means. 
  • Legg-Perthes disease is another condition that can impact their cat's hips. This condition is marked by a lack of blood flow to the top of the femur, leading to spontaneous degeneration of the head of the femur, resulting in hip damage and/or arthritis. 

These relatively common conditions can cause mobility issues and pain in your cat's body. Orthopedic surgery may be recommended to resolve the issue. 

How Your Cat's Hip Joints Work

Picture a ball and socket mechanism and you'll have the gist of how your cat's hip joints work. The ball sits on the end of the thigh bone, or femur, and rests inside your cat's hip bone's acetabulum (the socket). 

When the hip is functioning normally, the ball and socket work together to allow easy, pain-free movement. When the hip's normal function deteriorates or is disrupted by disease or injury, this can lead to pain and other issues related to mobility due to grinding and rubbing of the two parts. Inflammation caused by a poorly functioning or damaged hip joint can also reduce your kitty's mobility and quality of life. 

Signs & Symptoms of Hip Pain in Cats

Your feline companion might be suffering from a problem with their hip if they display one or more of these symptoms:

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

Cat FHO Surgery

During FHO surgery on a cat, 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.

The Cost of FHO Surgery

FHO surgery is a relatively inexpensive procedure that can often help to restore pain-free mobility to your cat. When it comes to FHO surgery for your cat and budgeting for its cost, the final bill will depend upon a number of factors so you will need to consult your veterinarian for an estimate.

How Will Your Cat Recover from FHO Surgery

Each cat is different. After FHO 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

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

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

Is your cat suffering from a painful hip condition? Contact our friendly team at Carlsbad Animal Hospital to schedule an exam for your cat.

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