About Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

What we have learned about FHO:

  • Myth: FHO can be successfully done only for smaller dogs. Dogs of all sizes can benefit from FHO.
  • Initial recovery after FHO surgery takes 1 – 2 weeks. The dog can generally start putting weight on the operated leg after a week – 10 days.
  • Rehabilitation is critical after FHO. The post-op rehab is more important the surgery. This is the time the cartilage around the femur grows and fills the socket. It’s important that it grows with enough flexibility to allow good joint movement.
  • The operated leg becomes shorter: This is apparently true, however has little impact on the proper functioning of the leg.
  • Post-op pain is not predictable: This is also true, however this is true for all surgeries in general.
  • THR (Total hip replacement) is better than FHO: I haven’t done enough research on this. Since Tashi was older, THR was out of the question for her.
  • FHO on both hip joints is not recommended and rarely done

Things to ask your vet before proceeding with FHO:

  • Does the age, weight and general health of the dog impact success of the surgery?
  • What is the expected cost of the surgery and post-op rehabilitation
  • What has been the success rate of the surgeon doing this kind of surgery?
  • Any complication the surgeon has seen. What complications to expect.
  • Plan how you are going to handle pain after the surgery
  • Can the general health/muscle conditioning of the other limbs handle the added stress during post-op recovery period. Esp. the health of the other hip
  • Post-op rehab is critical to the success of the surgery. Make a plan for post-op care and rehabilitation.
    • How much will it cost?
    • How many sessions a week?
    • Where are you going to take your dog for these sessions?
    • How much time do you need to plan with your dog at home?
    • What else can you do to ensure success

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