FHO for an older healthy dog?

by Marla
(Kennewick, WA)

My Buddy is a healthy 10-yr old lab weighing 68 lbs with dog hip displasia. She has lost muscle mass along her lower spine and in the hind legs. She doesn't know she's elderly, and has the joy of life in her, wanting to do everything she used to do. Now at times, I must help her stand up. Adaquan shots help a great deal for a short time. Do you recommend FHO?

Editor Suggestion FHO for Dog Hip Dysplasia

Hi Marla,

I really can’t make a recommendation for your specific dog without examining her, but I can talk about FHOs in general. A FHO (femoral head ostectomy) is a wonderful surgery for getting rid of the pain associated with dog hip dysplasia and the osteoarthritis that it causes, but it is only appropriate in certain cases. A dog’s hind end needs to be strong enough to support her during her recovery period. If she is very weak, physical therapy will probably be needed to have a good outcome.

You might also want to make sure that your dog’s hind end weakness is not at least in part due to an unrelated condition called lumbosacral stenosis. Your veterinarian or a veterinary orthopedic surgeon should be able to tell the difference between dog hip dysplasia and lumbosacral stenosis.

You mentioned adequan injections but no other forms of medical management. If surgery is not an option for whatever reason, other treatments (e.g., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, other pain relievers, nutritional supplements, physical therapy, acupuncture, etc.) could probably make your dog much more comfortable.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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