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FHO Surgery on Cats

Hip problems in cats can be treated with FHO surgery, which is a relatively effective and low-cost procedure. Our Harrisburg veterinarians discuss cat hip anatomy, hip problems that may affect your cat, and FHO surgery and recovery today.

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 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 marked by a lack of blood flow to the top of the femur, which causes the head of the femur to degenerate spontaneously, resulting in arthritis and/or hip damage.
These relatively common conditions can cause mobility issues and pain for your cat. To correct the issue, orthopedic surgery may be recommended.

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).

When the hips are in good working order, the ball and socket work together to allow easy and pain-free movement. Rubbing and grinding between the two parts can cause pain and other mobility issues when your cat's normal hip function is broken or disrupted by injury or disease. Inflammation caused by a faulty or damaged hip joint can limit the mobility and quality of life of your feline companion.

This procedure is frequently recommended for cats, especially those in good physical shape. The muscle mass that surrounds an active cat's joints can aid in faster recovery. FHO surgery, on the other hand, can be performed on any healthy cat to relieve 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
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty jumping
  • Limping when walking

Cat FHO Surgery

During your cat's FHO surgery, your veterinarian will remove the femoral head, leaving the hip socket empty. At first, your cat's leg muscles will keep the femur in place, and scar tissue will form between the acetabulum and the femur. Over time, a "false joint" will form, with scar tissue forming a cushion between your cat's bones.

The Cost of Cat FHO Surgery

FHO surgery is a low-cost procedure that can assist your cat in regaining pain-free mobility. Several factors will influence the cost of surgery for your cat, so ask your veterinarian for an estimate.

Your Cat After FHO Surgery

Each cat is an individual. They may need to stay at a veterinary hospital for a few hours to a few days after surgery for post-surgical care. Their stay will be determined by their health as well as a few other factors.

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 need to have their activity restricted by either creating 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 a passive range of motion exercises to encourage your cat's hip joint to move through its natural range of motion once again.

Phase 2

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.

Is your feline companion suffering from a painful hip condition? Contact our Harrisburg vets today to book an examination for your cat.

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

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