Femoral Head Ostectomy Surgery

by | Jun 17, 2021

Femoral Head Ostectomy Surgery

Learn more about our course on Femoral Head Ostectomy surgery for cats and dogs

 

Questions

  • How long does it take for a dog to recover from FHO surgery?

    Recovery from FHO surgery can take months. Usually they are weight-bearing within a few days of surgery. They progressively improve and should be able to ambulate unassisted within about a week after surgery. Factors which contribute to delayed or incomplete recovery include preoperative obesity, lean body weight, muscle atrophy, lack of physical therapy, lack of appropriate pain relief, and surgical technique resulting in bone-on-bone rubbing after surgery. Dogs which fail to ambulate functionally after a month, dogs which knuckle after surgery and dogs which deteriorate after surgery should be immediately evaluated by the surgeon. 

  • How much does femoral head ostectomy cost? For a dog? For a cat?

    The cost of FHO surgery depends on patient size, the location, the experience of the surgeon and the provision of after-hours care. Generally the cost for a cat is less than that for a dog, but again other factors listed above need to be considered. 

  • What is femoral osteotomy?

    Femoral osteotomy is a procedure performed in dogs and cats with disease of the hip joint caused by trauma, hip dysplasia or rarely, cancer of the femoral head. The head and neck of the femur are removed and not replaced. Bone-on-bone rubbing is a common cause of poor outcome after this surgery and can be avoided in many cases by removing an adequate amount of femoral head and neck and by closing the joint capsule over the socket. 

  • Is FHO surgery necessary?

    FHO surgery can be performed in cases of hip dysplasia, trauma and rarely cancer of the femoral head. It usually performed when function of the hip is poor due to arthritis or unrepairable fractures. It can be helpful particularly in cats and in dogs weighing less than about 15 Kg (33 lbs). In larger dogs, often total hip replacement is preferable, but when good technique is used, acceptable outcomes can still often be achieved. 

  • What happens if you can’t afford pet surgery?

    Usually conservative options are discussed with pet owners when surgery can’t be afforded due to financial constraints. In cases where quality of life is poor and less aggressive options are not available, euthanasia can also be an option. Euthanasia, when performed humanely, offers an opportunity to address quality of life issues. 

  • When can I walk my dog after its hip surgery?

    Generally slow leash walking is allowed but this depends heavily on the type of surgery performed and on the instructions provided by the surgeon. Generally, dogs and cats having FHO surgery are encouraged to walk on-leash for short periods of time in a very controlled fashion. 

  • How do I care for my dog after FHO surgery?

    Recovery from FHO surgery can take months. Usually they are weight-bearing within a few days of surgery. They progressively improve and should be able to ambulate unassisted within about a week after surgery. Factors which contribute to delayed or incomplete recovery include preoperative obesity, lean body weight, muscle atrophy, lack of physical therapy, lack of appropriate pain relief, and surgical technique resulting in bone-on-bone rubbing after surgery. Dogs which fail to ambulate functionally after a month, dogs which knuckle after surgery and dogs which deteriorate after surgery should be immediately evaluated by the surgeon. Generally, dogs and cats having FHO surgery are encouraged to walk on-leash for short periods of time in a very controlled fashion. 

  • Is it ok to walk a dog with hip dysplasia?

    Generally, it is OK to walk dogs with hip dysplasia on leash and at a slow pace. Do not walk dogs which become more lame after short periods of exercise. It is also important to confirm the diagnosis of hip dysplasia by going to a veterinarian who will perform physical examination and often radiographs. 

  • What is the success rate of FHO surgery?

    FHO surgery generally results in reasonable function in most patients. Factors which contribute to delayed or incomplete recovery include preoperative obesity, lean body weight, muscle atrophy, lack of physical therapy, lack of appropriate pain relief, and surgical technique resulting in bone-on-bone rubbing after surgery. Dogs which fail to ambulate functionally after a month, dogs which knuckle after surgery and dogs which deteriorate after surgery should be immediately evaluated by the surgeon. 

  • How does FHO change the hip?

    Femoral osteotomy is a procedure performed in dogs and cats with disease of the hip joint caused by trauma, hip dysplasia or rarely, cancer of the femoral head. The head and neck of the femur are removed and not replaced. Bone-on-bone rubbing is a common cause of poor outcome after this surgery and can be avoided in many cases by removing an adequate amount of femoral head and neck and by closing the joint capsule over the socket. 

  • Is my dog a good candidate for FHO?

    FHO candidates are selected based on lean body weight, obesity, radiographs and the presence or absence of other conditions like orthopaedic or neurological conditions of the same or other limbs. Blood work is also performed to confirm that kidney and liver function is acceptable to undergo an anaesthetic procedure. 

  • What can I expect on the day of FHO surgery?

    Your pet should be fasted (not fed) from the night before surgery unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon. You should ask your surgeon if medications should be administered on the day of surgery. Your pet will be admitted to the hospital and consent forms and estimates are usually provided for signature. Your pet may have blood work prior to surgery to assess for factors which affect the anaesthetic. General anaesthesia is usually required. The area is shaved and the surgery is performed. On recovery, pain relief is administered. Patients are usually kept overnight but may be discharged on the day of surgery. Discharge instructions should be provided including allowed activity, medications to be administered, frequency of rechecks and how to tell if there is a problem. 

  • What are the alternatives to FHO surgery?

    The first thing is to confirm the diagnosis of hip dysplasia because clinical signs can be similar to knee problems (cruciate ligament ruptures) and spinal diseases. This generally requires a visit to a veterinarian who will perform physical examination and often radiographs. Once hip dysplasia is confirmed, the most important part of conservative management at home is weight loss. Pain relief, prescribed by your veterinarian can be very helpful. Reduction of high-impact activities like ball chasing and playing roughly with other dogs should be avoided. Cartilage protective medications including shark cartilage, glycoaminoglycans and rose hips can be helpful as can cartrophen injections. 

  • How do hip problems occur in dogs?

    Hip dysplasia is caused by laxity or looseness in the hips. The potential to develop hip dysplasia is generally thought to be genetic but other factors including obesity, diet, exercise and trauma can also contribute. Hip problems can also be caused by trauma (like being hit by a car) which may result in fractures of the pelvis or femur, or dislocation of the hip (also known as a coxofemoral luxation).

  • What’s involved in the FHO surgery procedure?

    Femoral osteotomy is a procedure performed in dogs and cats with disease of the hip joint caused by trauma, hip dysplasia or rarely, cancer of the femoral head. The head and neck of the femur are removed and not replaced. Bone-on-bone rubbing is a common cause of poor outcome after this surgery and can be avoided in many cases by removing an adequate amount of femoral head and neck and by closing the joint capsule over the socket.