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.
signs of hip pain
- Decreased tolerance to exercise
- “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.
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.
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