Our Gaithersburg veterinary team has found FHO surgery to be a cost-effective and successful method for addressing hip problems in cats. In this article, we will outline the anatomy of feline hips, common issues that can arise, and the details of FHO surgery and recuperation.
Why has my cat developed hip problems?
If your cat is experiencing hip problems that cause pain, it could be due to a combination of factors such as aging, injury, and genetic predisposition. Hip issues are prevalent among cats and some of the most common health problems include:
- Hip luxation or dislocation, often associated with serious dysplasia is commonly treated with FHO surgery.
- Hip fractures that can't be repaired surgically either because of the health of the patient or the means of their owner.
- Legg-Perthes disease is another condition that can affect your cat's hips. This condition involves a decreased blood flow to your cat's femur, causing degeneration to their femur's head and affecting the function and comfort of their hip.
If your cat is experiencing mobility issues and pain, it may be due to some common conditions. Orthopedic surgery may be recommended to help your feline friend regain comfortable mobility.
What's wrong with my cat's hips?
Your feline friend's hip joint follows a ball and socket mechanism. The ball, situated on the thigh bone or femur, rests inside the acetabulum (socket) of your cat's hip bone. This mechanism enables your cat to move easily and without pain when their hip functions normally.
However, when disease or injury disrupts this mechanism, your cat may experience pain and mobility issues due to rubbing and grinding between the two parts. Inflammation caused by poorly functioning and damaged hip joints can also limit your cat's movement, affecting their quality of life. FHO surgery is recommended for cats, especially active ones with good muscle mass, to help them recover faster. However, any healthy cat can undergo this surgery to alleviate their hip pain.
What are the signs of hip problems in cats?
Your feline friend may be suffering from a hip problem if they show one or more of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty jumping
- Muscle loss around their back limbs
- Limping when walking
- Increased stiffness and reduced range of motion
Cat FHO Surgery
When your cat undergoes FHO surgery, the vet will eliminate their femoral head, resulting in an unoccupied hip socket. Initially, your cat's leg muscles will support their femur while scar tissue begins to form in their hip. Eventually, scar tissue will create a "false joint" and provide cushioning for your cat's bones.
FHO Surgery Cost
FHO surgery is a relatively inexpensive procedure that can often help restore your cat's pain-free mobility. The cost of your cat's surgery will depend upon several factors so you will need to consult your veterinarian for an estimate.
Cat After FHO Surgery - What to Expect
Every cat is different. After surgery, they may need to stay at a veterinary hospital for some time, ranging from a few hours to a few days. The length of their stay will vary based on their health and a few other factors.
Pain control will be a priority for you and your veterinarian during the initial days after surgery. Prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are typically used for this purpose. To limit your cat's activity and ensure their comfort, they may be confined to a crate or a small room where they cannot jump or run. If your cat's pain is manageable, your veterinarian may suggest rehabilitative treatments, such as passive range of motion exercises, to promote natural range of motion in their hip joints.
After your cat's surgery, the second phase of their recovery will start about a week later. During this phase, you will gradually increase their physical activity to strengthen their joint. This will prevent scar tissue from becoming too stiff and improve your cat's long-term mobility. Your vet will advise you on appropriate exercises for your cat. Typically, cats recover fully within six weeks of the surgery. However, if your cat is still not fully recovered at that time, they may need physical therapy or rehabilitation to ensure a complete recovery.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.