The normal hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The head of the femur (ball) allows the hip to move freely in all directions in that socket (acetabulum). When the hip becomes damaged or diseased mobility can be affected and can lead to chronic pain and inflammation.
FHO restores mobility to the hip by removing the head of the femur. This removes the ball of the ball-and-socket joint leaving just an empty socket as shown in the picture above opposite the L marker. The muscles of the leg will initially hold the femur in place and over time scar tissue will form to provide cushioning that is referred to as a false joint. Although this joint is anatomically very different from a normal hip joint, it provides pain-free mobility in most patients.
The muscle mass that has been built up through activity such as hydrotherapy using an underwater treadmill helps to stabilize the joint allowing the dog to regain pain-free mobility more quickly than inactive pets. Inactive dogs have less muscle mass around the joint, making the joint less stable post-operatively and leading to longer recovery times.
A FHO is usually perfomed from the following factors:
Rehabilitation is a great way to engage specific muscles to build strength around the false joint and support other structures of the body. Post-surgical it is advised for a specific rehabilitation plan and will need strict rest for 1-2 weeks with recovery at 6 to 12 + weeks.
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Hydrotherapy using an underwater treadmill has an important role in the management of hip dysplasia. It is a progressive disease and the main feature of the disease is joint laxity which leads to changes in the joint, abnormal wear resulting in osteoarthritis. Xrays with your vet can confirm the degree of dysplasia and supporting medicine to help if required such as non-steroidal anti inflammatory pain killers etc.
Initial symptoms that your dog may exhibit can be reduced exercise tolerance, problems going up and down stairs, difficulty rising and lameness after exercise.
Once assessment is completed we will discuss a plan best suited to your pets needs including using the underwater treadmill.
This will mainly involve to achieve within 12+weeks but can be ongoing:
In water, the buoyancy of the water provides support to the body which in turn reduces the load on the affected joints whilst exercising the necessary muscles. The plan for your dog is constantly re-evaluated and progressed based on the response to treatment. Owner participation is key as so much of the therapy can be used on a daily basis and provided at home.
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