FHO surgery can be an effective and relatively inexpensive surgical treatment option for hip problems in cats. Today, our PetVet Care Centers member vets describe the hip anatomy of cats, hip problems that could affect your kitty and what’s involved in FHO surgery and recovery.
How Hip Problems Occur in Cats
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.
- 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. 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.
How Your Cat's Hip Joints Work
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.
Signs & Symptoms of Hip Pain in Cats
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 limbs
- Increased stiffness and reduced range of motion
- Difficulty jumping
- Limping when walking
Cat FHO Surgery
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.
The Cost of FHO Surgery
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.
How Will Your Cat Recover from FHO Surgery
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.
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.
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.