FHO in Larger Dogs?

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Mon Mar 11, '13 7:14pm PST 
I am wondering if anyone has experience with FHO surgery in larger dogs. My new foster dog, Harley, is 55lbs (underweight), and his head comes up to my hip (I am 5'8"). He was apparently hit by a car at some point in the past and the hip was dislocated, never treated. The vet thinks it was probably a long time ago due to the significant amount of muscle atrophy. The vet is recommending FHO surgery as the head of the femur is rubbing on the side of the pelvis. She said once he has surgery and some rehab he will be good as new.

I am just wondering if anyone else has had experience with FHO in a larger dog, as what I have read says it's not typically recommended.
Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Tue Mar 12, '13 5:46pm PST 

I'm a big brat- and I don't care- :)
Barked: Wed Mar 13, '13 4:20am PST 
I could be wrong, but I was under the impression in most cases/not all, that surgery should be done on smaller younger dogs? Hopefully someone will pop in and clarify. thinking


Design jewelry,- not dogs!
Barked: Wed Mar 13, '13 5:12am PST 
Sarah, years ago I sold a LARGE lab to an orthopaedic surgeon (human). At about a year old she was hit by a car and completely smashed her femur head. The surgeon insisted the vet do a FHO, they did and when I saw her 6 months later she didn't even have a limp.
Since then, I did have Harvey's done, although he was/is only 15 lbs. He is PERFECT! He had LCPD, so needed the removal.
My vet does specialize in orthopaedic issues so I was pretty happy about that since I was sooo worried. I also read tons of stuff about how important rehab is/was. When I asked about rehab my vet told me that if I just kept him quiet the first week or so, then let him do what he wanted nothing else was necessary as dogs aren't like humans and afraid to work the leg. He was running in the field with the other dogs just two weeks after his surgery!!!
Pain management is important. Harvey would come in and stand beside the table where his pain meds were every time he did a bit more than his normal exercise for several months after his surgery.
It has been two years and he has no problems at all from the surgery. He does have a LARGE scar, but he's hairless so it shows!!
Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Wed Mar 13, '13 7:58pm PST 
Well we have surgery booked for Friday! The vet did say that the best thing to do would be a total hip replacement, but that's not really in the picture price-wise. I am concerned because he does have a LOT of muscle atrophy... : / I am glad to hear some success from other people. I am going to contact a place nearby that does canine physical rehab and see if they are willing to work with him for us after surgery. It's just all SO expensive!

Member Since
Barked: Wed Apr 24, '13 5:56pm PST 
I saw your post and signed up to the site to respond. You may be one or two weeks ahead of us because my border collie dislocated his hip and had this operation (as an emergency) March 25. He weighed 58 pounds and the vet seemed to have no problem with expecting him to make a full recovery. I wonder if your experiences are the same? We isolated him in a downstairs room with no furniture to jump on and laid down carpet pieces on the hardwood floor for no slippage. Someone slept with him the first two weeks until the stitches heeled. He has walked on it since day one, but gingerly. Of course, he had excellent drugs! After two weeks the vet recommended increasing the walking distance and trying the stairs and hills, very slowly, to build strength. Yesterday we had a set back, we were allowing him on the first floor since it was going so well and someone rang the doorbell, he jumped at it and slipped and fell. I pretty much freaked out, but I started him on pain killers immediately, iced it several times and he is walking on it. I am giving up any rehab though until it stops hurting. He is still favoring it. Just a sign not to get too excited at good progress just yet. We do have him on a small diet since I heard, like you, they do better at a lighter weight. He is down to 55 pounds.

I have seen stories that it may take up to 5 months for full recovery. One good thing that has come out of it is he has been OK with being crated at night so I can get some sleep!

How has your experience been?