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What is Cat FHO Surgery?

For many cats suffering from painful hip problems, an FHO, or femoral head osteotomy, is an effective and relatively inexpensive surgical treatment option. Our Beacon veterinarians explain the cat FHO procedure and the cat recovery process.

Common Causes of Hip Problems in Cats

If your cat is suffering from a painful hip problem it may have been caused by a mixture of old age, injury, and genetic predisposition. Some of the most common hip problems in cats include:

  • Hip fractures 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. 
  • Another condition that can affect your cat's hips is Legg-Perthes disease. This condition is distinguished by a lack of blood flow to the top of the femur, which results in spontaneous degeneration of the femoral head, resulting in arthritis and/or hip damage.

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.

Normal Hip Function in Cats

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).

The 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 cat'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 impair your feline pal'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 its hip pain.

Symptoms of Cat Hip Problems

Your feline friend 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

FHO Surgery for Cats

Your vet will remove the femoral head during your cat's FHO surgery, leaving the socket of your cat's hip empty. The muscles in your cat's legs 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 cat's bones.

FHO Surgery for Cats - Cost

FHO surgery for cats is often a relatively inexpensive procedure that can help your feline family member regain pain-free mobility. Only your veterinarian can provide an accurate estimate for the cost of your cat's FHO surgery because the final cost will be determined by several factors, including the severity of your cat's condition, their overall health, and the location of your veterinary clinic. In order to determine how much FHO surgery for your cat is likely to cost, request a detailed estimate from your veterinarian.

Your Cat After FHO Surgery - Recovery

Of course, every cat is different and recovery times will vary. 

After FHO, you can expect your cat to be hospitalized for veterinary care for a few hours to a few days for post-surgical care. The length of your cat's postoperative hospital stay will be determined by their overall health and other factors. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you how long your cat will need to stay in the hospital after FHO before surgery.

Cat FHO Recovery Phase 1

In the days immediately following your cat's FHO, the primary focus will be on pain management involving medications such as prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Your kitty's activity will need to be strictly restricted, either by keeping them comfortably enclosed in a crate or by confining them to a very small room where they aren't able to jump or run.

If your pet's pain is minimal, your veterinarian may recommend a passive range of motion exercises to encourage your cat's hip joint to begin moving through its natural range of motion.

Cat FHO Recovery Phase 2

Phase 2 of your cat's FHO recovery process will begin about a week following surgery. At that time your kitty's level of physical activity can be gradually increased in order to begin strengthening the hip joint.

This gradual increase in movement will help to keep the scar tissue from stiffening and will improve your cat's long-term mobility. Your veterinarian will advise you on how to care for your cat during this time and which activities are recommended.

Cat FHO Full Recovery

Most cats recover completely within 6 weeks of FHO surgery. If your cat hasn't fully recovered by this point, your vet may advise physical rehabilitation (physical therapy) to ensure that your cat gets the most out of its FHO procedure.

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 experiencing hip problems that could benefit from an FHO procedure? Contact our Beacon vets to book an examination for your feline friend.

Now Welcoming New Patients

Our vets at The Beacon Veterinary Associates are now accepting new patients! Our experienced team of veterinary professionals are passionate about giving the cats and dogs of Beacon the health care they need. Contact us today to schedule your pet's first appointment.

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