Femoral head ostectomy (FHO) surgery can be an effective method of treatment for cats suffering from hip problems. Our Enterprise specialist vets describe the hip anatomy of cats, problems that could affect your kitty's hips, and more about FHO surgery and recovery.
Cause Of Hip Problems In Cats
If your cat has a painful hip problem it could be caused by a mixture of old age, injury and genetic propensity. Some common hip problems in cats include:
- Hip fractures unable to be repaired surgically either because of the health of the cat, or the financial concerns of their caretaker.
- 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 cat's hips. It 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.
Normal Feline Hip Function
Your cat's hip joint works like a ball and socket mechanism. The ball sits on the end of the thigh bone (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 because the muscle mass around active cats' joints can help to speed their recovery. However, any cat in good health can have FHO surgery to relieve their hip pain.
Symptoms Of 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
- Difficulty jumping or signs of pain when jumping
- Limping when walking
Cat FHO Surgery
During your cat's FHO surgery, your vet removes the femoral head, leaving the socket of your cat's hip empty. At first, your cat's leg muscles will 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.
FHO Surgery Cost
FHO surgery for cats is a relatively inexpensive procedure that can often help to restore pain-free mobility to your kitty. The cost of your cat's FHO surgery will depend upon a number of factors so you will need to consult your veterinarian for an estimate.
Your Cat After FHO Surgery
Each of our pets is different. After their procedure, 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.
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 keeping them comfortably enclosed in a crate 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 discourage stiffness in your cat's hip joint and allow it to move through its natural range of motion once again.
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 people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.