FHO surgery can be an excellent way of inexpensively surgically treating hip problems in cats. Here, our Johns Creek vets describe the hip anatomy of cats, the issues that may be affecting their hips and what is involved in FHO surgery and the recovery process.
Why has my cat developed hip problems?
Is your cat suffering from a painful hip problem? It may be caused by a mixture of genetic predisposition, injury and old age. Some of the most common hip issues in our feline companions include:
- Hipe fractures that aren't able to be surgically repaired, either because of the health of the patient or the cost of the procedure.
- Hip luxation or dislocation, often associated with serious dysplasia is commonly treated with FHO surgery.
- Legg-Perthes disease, a 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 conditions are relatively common in cats and can cause both mobility issues and pain. Orthopedic surgery may be recommended to help your kitty return to a more comfortable level of mobility.
What's wrong with my cat's hips?
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).
When it comes to normal hip function, the ball and socket of your cat's lang and hip work together to allow 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.
FHO procedures are commonly recommended for cats, especially otherwise fit and healthy ones. The muscle mass around active cat's 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 of hip problems in cats?
Your cat may be suffering from a hip issue if they show one or more of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty jumping
- Limping when walking
- Muscle loss around their back limbs
- Increased stiffness and reduced range of motion
Cat FHO Surgery
During your cat's FHO surgery, our vets will remove their femoral head, leaving the socket of their hip empty. The leg muscles of your cat will initially hold their femur in place as scar tissue develops between their femur and acetabulum. Over a period of time, a "false joint" of the scar tissue will eventually form, cushioning your kitty's bones.
FHO Surgery 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.
Your Cat After FHO Surgery - What to Expect
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 your cat's surgery, you and your vet will need to focus on controlling your pet's pain and discomfort using prescription medications like 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 isn't in too much pain, our vets may recommend passive range-of-motion exercises to encourage your cat's hips to move through their natural range of motion.
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 will prevent the scar tissue from becoming too stiff and will help to improve the long-term mobility of your cat's joints. Your vets will instruct you on what appropriate exercises for your cat may 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.