FHO surgery is a good option for small dogs with hip pain. Our veterinary surgeons in Jackson explain how FHO surgery can help your dog move better and what the procedure involves.
Common Causes of Dog Hip Problems
Hip problems in dogs can be caused by factors like genetics, old age, and injury. At our Jackson specialist hospital, we often see two common hip problems in dogs.
These problems can be painful for the dogs.
- Canine hip dysplasia is usually caused by genetics, and it leads to abnormal development of the hip joints in dogs.
- Legg-Perthes disease is a hip condition that can happen to your dog. A problem with the blood flow to the top of the thigh bone causes it. This can cause the top of the thigh bone to break down over time, leading to problems with arthritis or damage to the hip joint.
Hip pain in dogs can be caused by certain conditions that can make it hard for them to move around over a long time. To address this problem, vets may suggest orthopedic surgery as a solution.
How Your Dog's Hip Joint Should Work
Your dog's hip joints work like a ball and socket. The ball is on the top of the thigh bone and fits into the socket in the hip bone. When everything is working normally, your dog can move easily and without pain. But if something goes wrong, the ball and socket can rub together and cause pain and mobility problems. Inflammation can also make it harder for your dog to move around. If you have a small dog and they are in pain, a type of surgery called femoral head ostectomy (FHO) may help. This surgery can relieve pain and help your dog move more easily.
Hip Problems in Dogs That May Be Treated With FHO Surgery
FHO surgery can help dogs with many hip conditions.
- Hip dysplasia
- Severe arthritis
- Joint dislocation (luxation)
- Hip fractures
- Legg-Perthes disease
- Weak muscles in hind legs
Not every dog can have FHO surgery. Dogs weighing over 50 pounds are not eligible. Smaller dogs are better candidates since the fake joint created after surgery can support their body weight better than larger or overweight dogs.
Signs That Your Dog May Be Experiencing Hip Pain
If your dog has hip pain, they may show one or more of these signs:
- “Bunny hopping”
- Limping when walking
- Stiffness in joints
- Decreased tolerance or motivation to exercise or play
FHO Surgery Dog - Process
During FHO surgery, the femoral head of your dog's hip will be removed, leaving the socket part empty. After the surgery, the leg muscles will hold the femur in place, and scar tissue will develop between the femur and the acetabulum. As time passes, the scar tissue will act as a cushion between the femur and acetabulum, forming a "false joint."
FHO Surgery Dog - Cost
FHO surgery is a cheap way to help small dogs move without pain. The cost of the surgery depends on different things, so talk to your vet to get an idea of the cost. The cost can range from $900 to $1500.
The Recovery Process For Dogs Following FHO Surgery
After FHO surgery, your dog may have to remain at the animal hospital for a few hours or days for proper care. The length of the stay will depend on your dog's health and other factors. Usually, the recovery from FHO surgery happens in two stages, and each dog recovers at their own pace. However, there are some general guidelines to follow:
Phase 1 of Dog FHO Recovery
After your dog's surgery, you and your vet will focus on controlling pain using prescribed medication. These drugs can help reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling at the surgical site. Your dog needs to avoid strenuous physical activity for at least 30 days after the surgery, and it typically takes about six weeks to fully recover. During the recovery period, your dog can't run or jump but can go on short walks while leashed. If your pet is not in severe pain, your vet may recommend passive range of motion exercises to encourage your dog's hip joint to move naturally again.
Phase 2 of Dog FHO Recovery
After one week of surgery, your pet will begin the second phase of recovery which involves gradually increasing physical activity. This will help rebuild muscle mass and strengthen the hip joint. This phase may include activities like walking upstairs independently or walking on hind legs while you hold their front legs in the air. Gradual physical activity also helps prevent scar tissue from becoming too stiff and improves your dog's long-term mobility. Your pet may need a mobility aid or dog lift harness during this phase. If your pet recovers well after a month, they should be ready to resume regular physical activity. However, high-impact activity should still be avoided at this time. Pets who were active before surgery tend to recover faster due to increased muscle strength around the hip joint.
Caring For Your Dog After FHO Dog Surgery
After your dog has FHO surgery, your vet and their team will give you specific instructions for taking care of your furry friend. These instructions may differ depending on your dog's situation. It's important to follow these guidelines closely to help your dog heal quickly and prevent any issues. If your dog doesn't recover fully within six weeks, your vet may suggest physiotherapy for pets. If your dog seems to be in pain or isn't improving after FHO surgery, contact your vet immediately.
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.