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FHO Surgery for Cats

FHO Surgery for Cats

FHO surgery is often recommended to treat hip issues in cats. In this post, our Parrish vets discuss the problems that can affect cats' hips, and what's involved in this effective and relatively inexpensive procedure. 

How did my cat develop hip problems?

If your cat appears to be in pain due to suspected hip problems, these issues may be caused by a combination of injury, old age, and a genetic predisposition to hip conditions. Some of the most common hip health problems in cats include:

  • Hip dislocation or luxation, often associated with serious dysplasia, is commonly treated with FHO surgery. 
  • Hip fractures that can't be repaired with surgery, either due to the patient's health or their owner's financial means. 
  • Legg-Perthes disease is another condition that can affect your cat's hips. The condition involves a decreased blood flow to your cat's femur, which causes degeneration at the head of the femur. This impacts how the hip functions and your cat's comfort. 

These conditions are relatively common in cats and may lead to pain and mobility issues. To help get your cat back to feeling comfortably mobile, your vet may refer you to a veterinary surgeon, who might recommend orthopedic surgery. 

What's wrong with my cat's hips?

Think of a ball and socket mechanism and you'll essentially understand how your cat's hip joint works. The ball sits on the end of the thigh bone, or femur, and rests inside your the hip bone's acetabulum (the socket). 

When a cat's hip is functioning normally, this ball and socket work together to allow them to have easy, pain-free movement. Conversely, hips can deteriorate due to injury or disease, which disrupts the function of the hip. The two parts may rub and grind together, causing pain and mobility issues. 

Inflammation caused by damaged, poorly functioning hip joints can drastically reduce your furry friends mobility and quality of life. 

FHO surgery is commonly recommended for cats, especially those who are fit. The muscle mass surrounding an active cat's joints can help speed up their recovery. However, any cat in good health can have FHO surgery to alleviate their hip issues and pain. 

What are symptoms of hip problems in cats?

If you've noticed one or more of the following symptoms in your cat, your four-legged companion may be suffering from a hip problem:

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

What's involved in FHO surgery for cats?

To perform an FHO surgery on a cat, a veterinary surgeon will remove the femoral head in the hip joint, leaving an empty socket behind. Your cat's leg muscles will hold their femur in place at first. Scar tissue will then begin to develop in their hip. Over time, a "false joint" will grow from the scar tissue and act as a cushion for your cat's bones. 

How much does FHO surgery for cats cost?

FHO surgery is a relatively inexpensive procedure. It can often help restore pain-free mobility for a cat. The cost of your cat's surgery will depend on several factors. Your veterinary surgeon can provide an accurate cost estimate based on your pet's circumstances. 

What should I expect after my cat's FHO surgery?

How long it takes your cat to recover after FHO surgery will depend on their health and a few other factors. Your kitty may need to stay at a veterinary hospital for some time, ranging from a few hours to a few days. 

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 have to have their activity restricted by keeping them comfortable enclosed in a crate or by confining them to a small room where they can't run or jump. 

If your cat isn't in too much pain. Your vet may recommend rehabilitative treatments like the passive range of motion exercises to encourage your cat's hip joints to return to their natural range of motion.

Phase 2

Starting about one week following their surgery, the second phase of recovery begins as you will gradually begin to increase your cat's physical activity to strengthen their joint.

This prevents scar tissue from getting too stiff and will help to improve your cat's long-term mobility. Your vet will instruct you about 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.

Do you suspect your cat may have a painful hip condition? Contact our Parrish vets to schedule an exam today.

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Ellenton Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Parrish companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

(941) 776-1100