Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

The hip consists of a ball-and-socket joint. A normal hip joint is held in place by muscles, a deep socket and strong ligaments.

  • The ball or femoral head is the top part of the femur or thigh bone.
  • The neck is the narrow portion just below the ball.
  • The socket (or acetabulum) is the concave portion on each side of the pelvis.

Several conditions of the hip, e.g. canine hip dysplasia, can be corrected by a surgical procedure called Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO). Hip dysplasia is caused by abnormal growth of the hip during puppyhood which results in looseness of the joint & development of painful arthritis.

Baby the Japanese Spitz had been limping & “bunny hopping” due to hip dysplasia – the ball of her femur did not fit properly into the hip socket.

signs of hip pain
  • Decreased tolerance to exercise
  • Stiffness
  • Limping
  • “Bunny hopping”
  • Difficulty climbing stairs
  • Difficulty lying down or standing up
  • Reluctance to run or jump
  • Shifting of weight to fore limbs
  • Loss of muscle mass on hind limbs
Physical Exam and x-rays

In severe cases, your vet can feel the hip “pop” in and out of the socket during a physical examination. X-rays will help to:

  • diagnose hip dysplasia, dislocation or fractures
  • identify if the acetabulum is shallow
  • check for bone spurs (a sign that the hips are degenerating)
  • determine if surgical correction is required
FEMORAL HEAD OSTECTOMY (FHO)

FHO is a surgical procedure to remove the femoral head – the ball and neck portion of the joint – to alleviate the pain of bone rubbing on bone. During healing, scar tissue will form and act as a “false joint”. The surrounding muscles continue to support the hip joint.

Dr Estella Liew proceeds to surgically remove the femoral head.

With the femoral head removed, your dog will no longer suffer the pain of bone rubbing on bone. During the healing process, scar tissue will develop to form a functional pain-free “false joint”.

After FHO, strenuous exercise is restricted but your dog is encouraged to use the limb as soon as possible, in a controlled manner. Your vet will advise on a strict physical therapy programme to ensure a good range of motion in the affected hip. Most dogs will start using the surgery leg within two weeks.

WATCH BABY’S VIDEO HERE.

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