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Femoral Head and Neck Ostectomy (FHO)

This graphic shows a left hip joint affected by hip dysplasia and secondary subluxation.

A Femoral Head and Neck Ostectomy (FHO) is a surgical procedure that can be used to treat several different disease processes of the hip joint. The purpose of the surgery is to eliminate pain due to congenital abnormalities of the joint, fractures, or severe hip dysplasia and arthritis.

Whenever possible, the best chance for your pet to have as "normal" as a joint as possible is to have a total hip replacement. While this is an excellent procedure available in many veterinary specialist hospitals, in many cases this option is either impractical or extremely cost prohibitive.

The FHO procedure is an affordable way to ease your pet's pain. While the vast majority of pets have an excellent outcome with minimal lifelong lameness, this procedure is best suited to patients weighing under 80 pounds.

This graphic shows the post-operative result of an FHO on the left hip joint due to hip dysplasia and subluxation. The strong gluteal muscles form a false "joint" that enables the pet to walk pain.

During an FHO, the surgeon uses a medical saw to remove the head and neck of the femur, or thigh bone. This eliminates bone-on-bone contact between the femur and the pelvis, allowing the pet to walk pain-free.

Unlike people, who walk upright on two legs, animals are able to compensate with this surgery because they walk on all four legs. The robust gluteal muscles form a "false joint" that enables the animal to walk normally or very close to normal.

Your pet with have stitches that will need to be removed in 10-14 days. 

As soon as your pet with tolerate it, we encourage you to start gentle, passive, range-of-motion exercises on the surgical leg. You can also start to introduce light activity and gradually increase back up to normal levels as soon as your pet seems comfortable enough to do so.

The sooner your pet is able to stretch and strengthen his or her muscles, the better the long-term surgical outcome.

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