Sunday, April 09, 2006

Micio’s Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

Sounds scary huh? Well it was…

It all started one day when Micio jumped out of my wife’s lap and caught his leg a little weird. He whined and limped a little bit, but not much and it seemed to come and go. We are concerned cat parents, though, so we took him to the vet after a couple days of catching him limping slightly.

The vet took some X-Rays and said he thought everything looked ‘OK’, bastard… Well he wasn’t ‘OK’. We took him home and just took special care to be gentle with him, but he kept limping and whining. Then, a week or so later, I picked him up and his leg swung up in an odd way, making him wince in pain; I felt terrible. He seemed to be ‘OK’ though…

The next morning, after waking up, he tried to stand up on our bed, cried and lay right back down. This scared the crap out of me, so I took him to the floor and tried to stand him up, but he just lay back down. He tried to walk, but he limped TERRIBLY. We took him right to the vet, who took more x-rays. This time he told us Micio had a growth plate fracture on the head of his femur.

(aside: A growth plate is where our bones grow longer when we’re young. They calcify over when we are fully grown. Micio, at 1.5yrs, being a ragdoll, wasn’t done growing…)

To this we responded, “But, you told us he was ‘OK’…” Anyway…

What he told us next was even worse… In order to fix Micio, we had to perform a FHO. This meant cutting off the head of his femur. We were shocked! The vet assured us that a ‘false joint’ would form and that since cats are light and four legged he would recover completely; we wouldn’t even know he had the procedure. Well considering the vets history of prognosis we were a little skeptical. But, Micio was in a LOT of pain, so we decided to go ahead with it.

Leaving Micio at the vet over night was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do… We went home and googled FHO. We read up on quite a few positive stories, like this one will turn out to be. :) We even read studies of when they are done and how, more often than not, recovery is complete…

Here’s what he looked like when we got him home…

Post Surgery
Originally uploaded by yojasonsparks.

We had to do ‘physical therapy’ three times a day where we would move his leg in and out, he really disliked this… The reasoning behind it was that it would prevent adhesions from forming, resulting in limited mobility. We diligently performed all the proscribed therapy and took him in for checkups, but he never seemed to get back to 100%. He would still favor the leg, we called him tripod. :) He would clearly hop on three legs down the stairs and would lean on the left leg when he was standing still (even after 5 months). The vet said that it was because he wasn’t getting enough exercise. Dogs are easier in this respect because you can take them to the park and they happily run around and, as a result, heal nicely. Cats, on the other hand, are terribly indignant, and only do what they want…

Enter Byco :)

After byco grew up a bit, he began to get micio running around whether he wanted to or not. We noticed that Micio started jumping up on the counters again to get away from the little beast (he had stopped doing this altogether after the surgery). We noticed he even stopped favoring his right leg. Now, one year and three months after the surgery, after a lot of byco’s own flavor of rehab, you REALLY can’t tell micio had a FHO. It just took a bit longer than the vet promised…

Here’s his leg now…

Micio's Healed Leg
Originally uploaded by yojasonsparks.

And here’s him and his physical therapist

Sleeping Nicely
Originally uploaded by yojasonsparks.


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Summer Jean said...

Hi there,

My cat just had the FHO surgery on Friday. My doctor told me I had to keep my cat confined where she couldnt jump on anything so I bought a really large dog cage and I put her in there. He said to keep her in there for 2 weeks!!! She is not liking it and crying :( Did you confine your cat? If so, how long? Also, my cat has to wear the cone around her head because she trys to bite her pain patch and instead she keeps biting her skin.. Did you have this issue? I dont want to keep the thing on her head, but she has to stop bothering her skin and stitches. Please write back as soon as you can. I am very concerned. :(

Thanks, Summer

Jason Sparks said...

Hey Summer... When I got Micio home he didn't get any pain meds or a cone and the Vet said I could let him stay un-confined. I even have stairs and it wasn't a problem apparently...

I think the reason he didn't need a cone was because he didn't try to bite his stitches at all. As for the confinement, I'm not sure exactly why... Do you have another cat? I think that was the only reason my Vet said I may need to confine Micio, but I didn't have byco at the time.

Micio had a bit of a tough time with recovering, but he eventually recovered...

Seems like that pain patch is mostly to blame for Suki's issues. Perhaps call the vet and ask them what you should do.

Summer Jean said...

Hi Jason,

I have no idea why our doctors would have such differing views on recovery. I don't have another cat. Suki is one years old and still very frisky. Maybe he thought she would really hurt herself again. He said he doesn't want her jumping on anything for the next two weeks. He said she had to remain at 0 ground level. He is very strict.

Was it painful when they pulled Micio's stitches out? How long did it take for his fur to grow back? How old was your cat when it happened? Do you have pet insurance? The surgery cost about $1500 in total. I'm contemplating getting insurance but not sure.

Jason Sparks said...

Yeah... My Vet also had similar requirements, but I worked from home at the time and I was there to make sure nothing bad happened. Also, Micio didn't seem to want to go downstairs...

To answer your questions:

Micio's stitches were all internal and dissolvable. On the outside they used glue.

His hair took A LONG TIME (like 8mnths) to grow back :) He actually got a dark brown streak where the scar is. He's a very long hair cat as you can see :)

He was about 1.5 yrs old and there was a noticeable difference in his demeanor after his surgery. It wasn't until we got Byco that he seemed to fully recover and run around like crazy.

No, but this surgery and a series of others which I'll write about, started making us think about pet insurance... This particular surgery was $2K I believe.

Where are you? My Vet is in Newport Beach CA.

Summer Jean said...

Hi Jason,

First of all, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. My cat is all I really have right now in my life and it means a lot to me :)

Wow, I can't believe your cat got dissolvable stitches. I wish they did that to my cat. I'm not sure why they didn't. I will ask when I go there to get them removed on June 9th.

8 months!!!! Oh no... That is a long time for her hair to grow out :( My cat has short hair so maybe it will not take as long.

How long after her surgery did you get Byco?

Are the additional surgeries because of the FHO surgery? I mean, did the FHO surgery start a snowball into more surgeries? Or are the other surgeries not related? My doctor said that there shouldn't be additional surgeries or complications from the FHO.

My vet is in Hollywood, Florida. That is in between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Another question... :) Was Micio much more affectionate while she was recovering? My cat was affectionate a LITTLE bit. Now she needs to be with me or she will cry. I can't leave her alone.

Thanks again!! Summer

Jason Sparks said...

Hey Summer,

It's my pleasure... I know how worried my wife and I were when Micio was going through this.

I'm sure a short hair will grow back faster :)

We got Byco about 6 months after Micio's surgery. At that time he was pretty much OK, but he wasn't running around quite like he used to and when he would stand we could tell he was taking the weight off the leg.

Our Vet said the same thing... That we should expect him to fully recover and not have any complications, and he hasn't. The surgery I was referring to was to have his baby canine teeth removed because they never fell out and the adult teeth came in. We just felt like we were in the vet all the time with him :)

Hmm... Well that's certainly nice she's more affectionate ;) I think we sensed that Micio knew we fixed him, but that could just be our wishful thinking. I don't think he was more affectionate though...

Let me know how the appnt goes next Friday!


Summer Jean said...

Hi Jason,

I wanted to update you about my cat. She is doing great!! I updated my blog and added some pictures. Take a look when you get a chance.

Thanks, Summer :)

CatWoman Diana said...

Hello from another who had never heard of an FHO until last Thursday (July 31, 06). Soot was limping Monday - vet said xrays didn't show anything. Still limping Wednesday, so I took him to the clinic with the specialist, who immediately knew what had happened (that's why I went to her clinic).

Soot is doing well, doing some "levels" (not high jumps - he hasn't tried going to the outside cage yet - but does get up on the bed, and the rocking chair, etc.) He does have a pain patch (he keeps trying to take it off). He has staples. It's definitely swollen, but doesn't seem to be infected. He's not eating a lot, but is eating. He goes back tomorrow for a checkup, and is supposed to be starting physical therapy at the end of the week. I'm actually going to do some 'formal' PT, because my beloved former housecall vet is partner in an animal rehab facility, so I can take him in.

It was surprising at first to hear how many cats and dogs need the surgery - and as I looked at the skeletons, I'm surprised that the design didn't cause cats to be extinct a long time ago!

I suspect that inbreeding (Soot's dad is his older brother, and I suspect Grandpa was also an older brother/uncle/etc. - Mom is the same for all, of course. Yes - they're fixed now. Not my fault!)

Diana and Soot - and the rest of the crowd here at the cathouse.

bethany said...

Hi everyone, my kitty just had this same surgery 2 days ago. : ( don't know what he did but, thursday morning i heard a thump and i turned to look at my cat and he was limping really badly, he laid down and didn't get up. I took him to the vet right away and he also had to have this fho surgery. he just turned a year old. hes an orange tabby named dobby *after harry potter books* he is the most active cat i've ever had pre surgery, and its quite amazing on the 2nd day he already jumped on a small footstool that is a foot high! incredible! in response to confining the kitty post, at first my vet said the same thing, but after the surgery the vet surgeon said not to do that, that the kitty knows what it can and can't do. the purpose for the kennel is to keep them from jumping. but honestly your cat is not going to want to do anything that hurts them.
anyway, just wanted to say its comforting to read other people's posts about this surgery. its kind of a traumatic experience

Summer Jean said...

I wanted to update you on Suki's recovery since her FHO surgery. I has been over a year now. She is doing great as far as running and acting normal. The only issue I am having is that her fur on her back leg and stomach has not grown back at all. :( The fur on her hip where the scar is grew back with no problem. I don't know what to do. Is this normal? I can't find anything on the internet to help me. Please write me at

Summer Jean said...

I wanted to update you on Suki's recovery since her FHO surgery. It has been over a year now. She is doing great as far as running and acting normal. The only issue I am having is that her fur on her back leg and stomach has not grown back at all. :( The fur on her hip where the scar is grew back with no problem. I don't know what to do. Is this normal? I can't find anything on the internet to help me. Please write me at

Jason Sparks said...

Wow glad to hear Suki's doing so well! It is odd about the hair not growing back though... Micio's hair grew back a different color but it did grow back. I would say it took about 6 months for it to fully grow back, but it began almost immediately.

I'm sorry I don't have any information for you on this... Let me know if you are able to figure it out.

N said...

My cat Harry had this surgery last week. I was actually on vacation when my cat sitter realized he was limping horribly and was good enough to tote him around town to find a good vet. I've been googling the FHO surgery and found your page along with summer's and one other. What I've noticed is that they are all about 1-2 years old and have med- long hair. Most likely they are Maine Coon or Norwegian Forrest Cat mixes. Have you heard of any research that makes these injuries common in those breeds?

Jason Sparks said...

You know... When Micio broke his leg I also wondered the same thing and researched a bit. The only thing I could find is that it is very common in larger breed dogs. I thought perhaps this correlated with larger breed cats, but my vet didn't agree.

BTW: I hope your cat recovers as well as micio...

N said...

I have pics of Harry on

I'm not sure how to post them here.

He's pulled off his cone head protector already and hated to be confined. So he roams freely. Although it makes me really nervous.

A. J. said...

Dear Jason:

I'm thinking of having the FHO done for my kitty LittleOne who had a trauma of some kind. Tried to put the hip back in, but isn't taking.

I could really use a bit of description if possible.


-A. J. wysiwyg111 at yahoo dot com

Jason Sparks said...

Hey AJ... Sorry to hear other treatments aren't working for your little friend.

A description?

Well your vet is prolly better suited to inform you on the procedure. However, here's how it was described to me:

The head of the femur is cut off, leaving only a small portion of the neck. The reasoning for this is varied based on what the problem the FHO is supposed to solve. For my Cat he had a growth plate fracture on the head. For dogs it is poor hip join depth... But the result is the same. With no head on the femur the cat will develop a 'false joint' which is a combination of fibrous padding between the neck of the femur and the socket and increased muscle tone which holds the join together.

This sounded TOTALY draconian to us when it was first proposed... but it does work. And think of his new hip like you shoulder joint which is also only held together with muscles and cartilage...

hope that helps,

Amy said...

My cat is scheduled to undergo FHO surgery today. I have no idea how he hurt himself. We came home and found him hiding, picked him up, put him on the floor, and he kept falling over. I then rushed him to the vet where he was sedated and x-rayed. No one would take him for surgery any sooner than today, so he was in the animal hospital from Friday to today undergoing "supportive care." The surgeon said that because he is neutered, this stops the stimulation of a certain growth hormone needed by the growth plates, thus causing the fracture, which was most likely due to a bad jump/landing. Thank you for posting your information; it's very helpful.

Jason Sparks said...

Wow Amy... I hope he does OK today in surgery.

That is good additional info on the Growth Plate issue. Micio was also neutered. i bet that contributed to the problem just like in your cat's case.


Amy said...

Valentin had his FHO surgery on Octiber 2, and it was successful. We had to go on vacation the next day, however, so he had to be boarded at the vet's. I had a friend check up on him daily and he is feeling better and less grumpy. Tomorrow, we'll pick him up. For the first week, he was prescribed cage rest, which worked out because he was at the vet's. This week, he is to be confined to one room. We'll have to start his physical therapy soon, also. Wish me luck.

Jason Sparks said...

Glad to hear it went well..

Paige said...

I know this is an old posting but I found it recently as my Webber has had to an FHO on both legs. He is a two year old neutered male cat. The vet told me that they are seeing this more often as cats are being neutered at such an early age. You see, Webber's growth plates are still open and caused a weak spot in his femur. Both femurs were fractured. It has been 6 weeks since the first leg and almost two weeks since the other. Will he ever be able to jump up on the couch or bed again? Right now he just lays around and doen't even try to make an attempt to jump on anything. I also think he is still in pain becasue he gets in a bad mood and hisses at everyone else. Any advice?

Jason Sparks said...


I am very sorry to hear Webber had to have the FHO on both his legs. That must have been really tough on him. It sounds exactly like what happened to Micio. He had a weak growth plate and that's where it broke.

I had exactly the same doubts about Micio being the same cat ever again... The vet kept telling me everything would be fine, but I just couldn't believe it with all that he had gone through. Webber hasn't had nearly enough time yet after his surgeries to expect him to be up and about... Micio was laying around for a month or so after his surgery and he only had one leg operated on. It wasn't until about 6 months after his operation that we saw him back to close to his old self... But even to this day he limps a little tiny bit.

We were fortunate to have little byco to chase micio around and get him exercising... it is tough to encourage a cat to run around if they don't want to unfortunately...

hope this helped a little,

Paige said...

Thank You Jason. Yes, you sharing your experiences does help. Fortunately we have two other 5 month old kittens at home (which might be one reason he hurt himself to begin with...running and playing). I just hope that once he feels better he will play again. I know you are right that it is still too soon to expect much other than laying around. I just wish that it was easier to give him pain meds. The medicine that we were given for pain is very bitter and makes him slobber and foam like crazy.

Thank you for the support and advice! Paige

Jason Sparks said...

Glad I was able to help... It's great that you have the other cats in the house. They'll get him rehabilitated in no time :)

Neil said...

Hi Jason,
I have a cat that just undergo FHO surgery yesterday.
I went to visit him last night and he was still groggy and didn't wanted to be there (I could hear dogs in the background).
For some reason he got shaved a little in his neck? was your? He had a beautiful white neck (like santa claus) and now is ugly:(
He is indoor and the only animal in the house.
Do you think me or my husband staying home will be better for my cat so that he don't try to jmup everywhere like he used to?
I talked to the vet and he said that he will not need or have any post theraphy... just a check up in 2-3 days, 2 weeks, 6 weeks....
I know he must be traumatized is he going to be normal after he gets home? how long it took for Micio to be "back to his normal behaviour"? I am sure Byco helped him a lot... but I will not be able to get any other animal anytime soon, do you think that will delay his recovery?
I can't wait to have him tonight ( we are getting him from the vet).
How did Micio do with his litterbox? we have a tallish litterbox, should we get a lower one? did Micio eat/drink normally after he got home? how about his potty? could he go normally or did he need assistance?

Thank you very very much Jason.
I truly appreciate your website and your blogs...

Neil said...

Hi Jason,
My cat Ollie just had his FHO Surgery yesterday. We went to visit him last night he was very drugged but we noticed that he wanted to get out of the vet (there was dog barking in the background). He is the only animal in the house so he is not used to it.
I understand that Byco was a big theraphy help for Micio. But I will not be able to get another kitty.
How long did you work from home? Both my and my hubby works full time and my job (secretary) required me to be in the job. How important it is to stay with your cat after the surgery? for how long?
Also, did Micio eat/drink normally after he got back from the vet? How about his stool/urine normal?
We have a tallish litterbox, should we get a lower one?
Is a crate required? they are very expensive....:( If I confine him in the bathroom he still can try to jump up in bathroom counter...
I know that my cat didn't get his leg amputated, but how much assitance will he needs from us.
Was Micio able to go to the litterbox or did you take him?
should i get wet food? (he is on dry food only).
what position did you carry him after the surgery?
I am just so afraid of hurting him more and doing something that would make him more in pain.
Please help....
I am going to get him tonight after work... it's quiet and boring without him.... :)
Jason thanks for all your posts... it makes me feel much much better...:)

Emy and Neil

Jason Sparks said...

Hey Neil...

Wow lots of questions :) I'll try to answer them the best that I can.

First off I hope Ollie is doing well after his surgery. I know sometimes it doesn't seem like they are, but it gets better.

Neck Shaving: I think this is most likely to place an IV catheter. All of my cat's had their's on the leg...

Staying Home: I agree with your vet. It shoudln't be necessary to stay home at all. I just happened to work from home at the time. Trust me Ollie will not want to jump on anything. We had to encourage Micio to jump.

Litter Box: Micio is a pretty big cat so he didn't have any trouble getting in and out of the litter box or using it in any way. I would suggest watching Ollie to see if he has trouble and, if so, perhaps get a box that is easier to get in and out of. One thing I noticed that hurt micio was when he sat down and stood up it seemed to hurt him for a few weeks, but that passed as well.

Confining/Carrying: We didn't confine Micio in anyway. It seems that some vets recommend this, but for micio it wasn't necessary. We didn't carry him much after the surgery... Just to pick him up and put him next to us in bed or on the couch. But I usually carried him like he was lying on his side with his incision pointing up.

Recovery: I'm sure it isn't necessary to have another cat for Ollie to recover fully... It does take a LONG time though. It was a few months before micio was walking round fairly normally and not until six months or so had passed that he was what I would call normal.

Food: Micio did eat and drink normally a couple of days after surgery... We also feed only dry but are going to be switching to wet as new vet studies are indicating that it is MUCH better for cats. And byco has a lot of problems with struvite crystals, which I'll post soon about.

Let's see... I think that is all of them. Let me know if I missed something.

If anyone else has any advice please feel free to add.


Emy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Sparks said...

Hi there...

Emy said...

Hello Jason,
Thank you so much for all your advice/comments.

Well, it has been 6 days since the surgery...
and by the 2-3rd day Ollie was walking(limping) the whole entire house non-stop.
We thought that he would not jump... but guess what when we got home on Monday (after spending the weekend at the in-laws house which he was well behaved(under supervision) he decided to jump in the dining room chair (high chair) the only minute that we took out eyes.... and he felt.
I love my cat a lot but seriously he is dumb! Next day (2nd day after surgery) he jumps up on my high bed. He doesn't realize that he is hurt just after he jumps up...
So now he is in the spare room. We made sure that it was "Ollie proof
. We put the office desk apart, the bed frame..etc.
I just want him to stop walking everywhere, trying to jump everywhere. He doesn't realize that he is hurt and it really bothers me!
Any advice? I do have a wild kitten... as you have noticed...
thanks for replying back and taking your time reading my questions and concerns. I truly appreciate.


Jason Sparks said...

Hey Emy...

Glad to hear Ollie is doing so well!! That is tremendous.

I'm not sure what to say about trying to keep him from his natural desires to run about the house though :) I think it is a good sign that he is feeling well. Perhaps ask your vet if he thinks it is a major problem to be concerned with.


Neil said...

Hi Jason,
Ollie had his surgery on the 6th... and as I mentioned he was doing good.
Yesterday 15th Ollie scars opened in the bottom, since the vet is closed I have decided to put bacitrin (anto bacterial ointment) on her so that I Can take her to the vet today....
Thia morning he ended up thworing up a yellow discharge (bile maybe?) at 7:00... it seems like that he is not feeling as good as he was when the scars were closed....
any advice??
He took her cone once... while I put the ointment but I have been researching everywhere and they say that its safe to put on the scar and if it gets eaten in smaller amounts is okay too....


Jason Sparks said...

Hmmm... it sounds like you need to get your vets opinion on this one.

It may have been a good idea to take him to an emergency clinic. I know it is a bit stressful, but we have had to do it a few times and found it to be very helpful (both in terms of helping our cat and in helping reduce our stress)...

I'm very sorry things are not going well.

lia said...

hi there,

ok today is 2/12/08, and this blog may not be active anymore but here goes. my kitty trotsky (1.5 years old, but not long haired, he is a short haired grey and white "mutt") is at the emergency vet right now and they say he needs an FHO tomorrow.

funny you should mention your kitten helping micio, because my kitten (tribble) is actually the one who broke trotsky's hip! he likes to ambush trotsky and jump on him from behind this chair i always hang my coat on (so trotsky cant see him and its a fun little "surprise")... this happens all the time, they play and fight and then they cuddle and its all good... but for some reason, tonight when tribble jumped on trotsky, trotsky really freaked out and tried to run and jump, and he landed badly, and immediately started crying really loud and hiding behind things; i had to drag him out (gently) from behind a bookcase to look at his leg, and then realized how much pain he was in, so i took him to the ER vet.

they did an xray and said that trotsky broke the top of his femur and needs FHO. tribble is a BAD kitten. i think he knows what he did because he's looking at me all scared. so of course i cant stay mad at him. but this sucks :(

anyway, its very comforting to read your post (and everyone elses), seems like it is somewhat common and all the cats seem to be about the same age. at least i know the er vet isnt making it up to get money out of me... sometimes those places do that... ive had cats my whole life and have never heard of this before. i'm glad to know it does exist for other people! i guess im being paranoid but i had never ever heard of it before. am i repeating myself? sorry, im totally exhausted.

the emergency vet said this would cost about $2200-2500 - does that seem high to you? i do live in new york city but i'm just wondering if they are ripping me off because its the ER vet. i'll call around for pricing tomorrow but wanted to know what you thought. obviously i'll pay anything to make trotsky not be in pain but i'd rather not pay way more than i have to, seeing as i dont really have 2K to throw around (who does?)

sorry if this post is incoherent, ive been up all night at the vet and just came home, and it's 5:15 am and i'm falling asleep. thank you again for your post, and if you get this i'd love to hear from you.


Jason Sparks said...


I’m sorry for you poor little kittie  First of all I know how you feel. My wife was totally sobbing when they told us that we would have to perform the FHO. It sounded so terrible, but it does really help them. And also it does seem to happen around this age for cats because their growth plates are still un-hardened and pretty susceptible to fracture if hit just right.

I live in Newport Beach CA (not sure if you’ve heard of it, but just north of Laguna Beach and just as costly). So I would assume it is pretty close to cost of living of NY and the vet fees should be comparable. That said I too have quite a lot of experience with the ER vet (byco has chronic urinary problems) and I have had the pleasure of comparing the fees from the ER and my regular vet line by line (as they performed the same procedures). I can tell you that the ER vet is MUCH MUCH more expensive and I would definitely take Trotsky to your regular vet (if you have one) or try to find one by asking friends. I would also try to find a vet that specializes in cats only if possible (when I switched to a cat only vet the difference in care was AMAZING)… I believe our FHO cost around $1500 so there is a pretty big difference in cost from what the ER quoted. Trotsky is in a bit of pain right now so it is important that you take care of this promptly.

Anyway let me know how it all goes… I wish you both well.


lia said...

hey jason,

thanks so much for your response. i just went ahead and had it done at the er vet, i just wanted trotsky out of pain! but your blog (and these other comments too) helped a lot! so thank you.

i posted about the surgery on my blog here... come check it out if you like.

thanks again :)

lia said...

oops, i moved the post here


Becky Young Photography said...

Hi Jason,
I just wanted to say thanks for this blog! It has really helped me. My cat Miles had FHO surgery last week. Thankfully, everything went really well and he is recovery nicely. Believe it or not, exactly 7 days later, his brother, Davis, had the exact same problem! So now Davis is at the vet awaiting his surgery. Talk about expensive cats!
Anyway, your story really helped me through this whole ordeal, just I just wanted to say thank you!

Jason Sparks said...

Wow what bad luck! Good to hear Miles is doing OK and I hope Davis does well.

I'm glad you found all our stories helpful...


A. Kara said...

I am so glad that I found this post. My 1 year old Siamese was limping when I got home last night and, of course, I was terrified. I stayed up with him all night making sure that he didn't move and that he had food and water right in front of his face. When I took him to the vet this morning, they first thought it was a broken knee but then called to tell me that his hip was broken. I have no idea what he did to break his hip but he does run around a lot and jump on everything in the house so I'm sure that is what happened. When the vet started describing this surgery, I had no idea what he was talking about and didn't think that it sounded good at all. At least I now know that others have gone through the same surgery successfully. The vet did mention something about his growth plate so maybe that was the problem here as well. Thanks for the post! I will so glad to have him home - his surgery is tomorrow.

lyn said...

Hi there,
My cat has had the fho surgery four weeks ago his leg is still shaking(the vet sys this is pain) and he is having spasms in th paw as well. I have to take him for a X-ray tommorow and if they havent cut enough bone off or the bones are still rubbing they will have to operate again. Have you heard of these operations having to be done again? And did your cat have these symptoms as well? I cant bare the thought of putting him through the agony again. (especially if it doesnt work again)

Michu's mom said...

Hi! - I'm picking up my cat, Michu, later this afternoon after his FHO surgery yesterday. I was out of town for a week and came back to see him limping. My neighbor who watched him said she noticed that he didn't get up to greet her on the last day, but didn't think much of it. It's normal for cats to sometimes be indifferent. Anyway, took Michu to the ER and they told me he had heart disease, common in Maine Coon and that he had a blood clot in his leg. He would mostly likely die instantly or had at most 12 months to live. Needless to say, I was devastated and crying. The ER recommended a cardiologist. Turns out is wasn't his heart but his femur bone. I spent $1200 for a wrong diagnosis of the heart. I was very mad and very glad to hear it was his femur. Sounds crazy, but I thought I would lose him to something terribly worse. Michu is a 2 year old Maine Coon and was neutered at approx 7 months. He is a house cat living with two small dogs. He thinks he's a dog. lol. The surgeon told me that this was common in big breed cats and 95% successful for full recovery. She also told me that his knee caps pop-out and that he could blow out a knee. Again, due to his bones not solidifying completely yet. She thinks since he is 2 years old that it is unlikely, but wanted to prepare me, just in case. If these cats make it to about 5 years old with no fractures then they should be good to go. I live in Arlington, VA (near DC) and the cost of a FHO is about $2200.

Thank you Jason for posting. I see many people, including me, feel much better after reading your post and also know that we are not alone.

Michu's mom said...

Hello again! I picked up Michu. His scar looks just like Micio's pic, but with stitches. He has 5 stitches and I was told to confine him for two weeks. No playing, no jumping..nothing. I do have a question, When do they start eating? Michu doesn't want any food or water. Per the vet, he is on pain meds and antibiotics, no pain patch. He had the cone, but I took it off and he does not seem to want to bite his injury. Also, he's toilet trained which now he can't use. How often should I take him to a litter box to potty? He dosen't seem to be moving much, so I'm assuming I should carry him there? Thanks!

Jason Sparks said...

Hey guys... Sorry about being silent. Been out of town.

A. Kara: How did the surgery go? I hope well.

Lyn: I'm sorry your cat didn't do well the first time through. My vet did mention that if they don't cut off enough bone that this could be a problem. However the vet that did Micio's FHO does QUITE a few of them and is very experienced. I'm sorry you have to go through it again. Let us all know how he does.

Michu's Mom: You know it's funny, a lot of our friends miss-pronounce Micio as Michu :) (Micio is Swiss Dialect for cat, pronounced micho), Anyway...

WOW! That must have been scary and not cheap either. I really don’t like ER vets. One time we took Micio in and they recommended like $3000 worth of treatments for NOTHING at all as it turned out. Maine Coon’s and Ragdolls are very similar in many ways (we were thinking of getting a maine coon instead of Byco) so it seems natural that they would suffer from the same issues. It seems these things are common in ‘slow growing’ cats… Anyway I am glad the surgery went well and I hope for a speedy recovery.

Wow! You actually got him potty trained! You can read about my miserable failure at the same here: Toilet Training Your Cat Perhaps you can give me some pointers...Well done I say :)

Micio didn’t seem to want to eat for a bit (a day or so), but the vet said it was FAR more important to get him drinking. If you can’t get Michu drinking you may need to get ‘Subcutaneous fluids’ which is a fancy term for water injected just under his skin.

Yeah I carried Micio to his litter box as well. He usually urinated 1-3x/day and defecates 1x, but if he’s not drinking much or eating this will obviously be less… So don’t move him around too much would be my recommendation and perhaps just bring him there 2x/day… (but def ask your vet to be sure)

This post really has taken on a life of its own. I’m glad it has helped so many people feel a little more assured that they aren’t the only ones out there going through this. Though I don’t get a change to blog much anymore I will always come around to answer questions as you ask them…


Michu's mom said...

Hi again,

"Michu" is how some Spanish folks call cats to come. In English, people say, "here kitty, kitty." In Spanish we say, "ven michu, michu." Funny! I did notice the similarity in your and mine cats' name.

This morning he went potty, ate a litte and drank a little! YAY!

Thanks again Jason!!

lyn said...

Hi Jason,
My cat has just had surgery again to trim the bone more. The x-ray showed a spur,(boney promince)which was hitting the pelvis. apperently this is a post op complication(mind you they never told me this could happen) apperntly the bone can heal funny and this is what has happend. His leg is still shaking a bit, did your cat experience this? He has to be in a cage for two weeks again. Hope your cats are well I will let you know how he goes. Thanyou for your wonderful website

Jason Sparks said...

Hi Lyn,

Very sorry you and your kitty are going through this. I was told that this may happen, but it was never a problem. And no, Micio’s leg never shook or twitched at all. I really hope it goes better for you both this time.


Michu's mom said...

Hi! A week after the surgery Micio's external stitches were taken out. Vet said everything looks great, but should still confine him for another 2 weeks to continue healing. Michu is back to his normal self and we are very happy. Thank you Jason and Micio for the blog! Take care!!

PS. posted in your toilet training section. :smile:

Jason Sparks said...

WOW! That's an amazing recovery... Very glad to hear things are going so well :)

A. Kara said...

We have had Sol home for a little over 2 weeks now. He is as happy as ever but he does NOT use his injured leg at all. When he walks, he just kind of drags it around but never puts any pressure on it. When he sits down, his leg lays behind him and looks like it is out of joint (which i guess it is since he has no hip joint). The doctor is very concerned b/c sometimes there is nerve damage when cats break their hips apparently. If this is the case, they recommend amputation. Of course, I am very upset so we have been doing physical therapy with him several times each day to help him build up his muscles. Did anyone else have this issue? I'm just wondering if it took other cats this long to start using their leg normally. He can definitely feel his leg b/c he meows really loud when we move it around a lot. I don't think it is nerve damage - it just seems like he isn't interested in trying to move his leg! Any ideas?

A. Kara said...

I tried to post a few minutes ago and had computer issues so I apologize if this is redundant:)

Sol has been home for a few weeks but isn't using his injured leg at all. We do physical therapy with him several times each day but he continues to drag his leg around rather than trying to put any pressure on it. The vet seemed very concerned about this and is worried about nerve damage (in which case they would want to amputate). I don't think he has nerve damage b/c he can definitely feel when we move his leg or foot around and meows really loud b/c it obviously hurts. I just want to know if this is normal and if anyone else experience similar issues. Did any other cats take longer than a few weeks to actually use their injured leg?

Jason Sparks said...

Sorry to hear about Sol's post op problems :(

I hope the physical therapy does its job and Sol is up and running very soon.

I know Micio wasn't interested in walking around much at all and when he did he limped a bit. Then when he stood he would not put pressure on his injured leg. When he would sit down and subsequently stand he would cry out in pain which we continually asked our vet about because he seemed to have this problem for quite awhile...

He eventually fully recovered, but it took a long time.


Hélène said...

I guess I'm in the same boat as most of you were!

I was given your weblink by someone on my Birman group and thank her for this. Very appreciated.

I have a Birman cat. She started to limp on a Friday. Watch her on the weekend to see if it was just a sprain or something. It was not better so I took her to the vet who did some testing on her leg. He thought it was nothing serious. Anti-inflamatories for 4 days and rest.

3 days later, I was back in the vet office (and saw the vet I like) and he gave her a cortisone shot and 4 pills to be given in 48hrs. If not better, off for an x-ray.

4 days later, we had her anesthetized for xrays. He thought it was LeggPerthes. Since he was not sure at 100% we sent the result to a specialist that reads xrays, scans onlys, etc. She had a good moment. As if it was healing. But then, it went took a turn for the worse.

Turns out he said no LeggPerthes but a femoral head fracture. But the line between those 2 problems is so fine that they get easily confused.

He requested a frog-style xray to confirm his diagnosis. So back at specialist. It was confirmed.

Now we needed to get her set up for surgery. A generalist can do this type of operation. But they do not have the equipment specialised hospitals have. My vet could have done the surgery for approximately $500. I opted for an ortho surgeon. It was done this past Wednesday.

I had spent already over $500 in prior exams, xrays, etc.

Surgery itself was $1620. I need to go back in a month for a post-op exam. It will be another $500 of consultation fees, blood draw (they found that her hepatic enzymes are 3x the norm) and she had a II/IV heart murmur the day they released her. So those have to be retested.

She came home 24hrs post-op. She was in terrific shape. But she refused to eat. So I had to get back to hospital for some special diet. It helped but not much.

I went back to my regular vet yesterday to have her patch removed. She has 4 stitches. She does have a cone but does not touch her surgery so when I'm with her, the cone is not on her. But as soon as she is left alone, I prefer to have it back on her for security purposes. I'd hate coming home to a cat who opened the wound and died out of blood or something. Prevention is worth every ounce.

She is verrrrry active. I even have to stop her. She uses her 4 legs (it is the right one that got fixed). Very little limping.

We also start physiotherapy on May 13 (so just about over 2weeks post-op).

Here are links to her pre-op, post-op videos I had taken.

That is the femoral head they removed. It is pictured beside a dime.¤t=2008_05_katia_surgery006.jpg

Her stitches¤t=2008_05_katia_surgery007.jpg

Pre-op video:¤t=2008_05_katia_surgery007.jpg

Post-op (taken yesterday)

And how slow (and little) eater she is 72hrs after surgery. Luckily, I did not need to get back to vet for a prescription for something to entice her to eat (like Valiums). She's eaten her kibbles a few times since then. Not a lot but it's ok for now.

This morning I had to crate her for an hour to give time to her pain pill to kick in (makes her sleep) because she was total chaos in the room I keep her in. She's been sleeping for 2hrs now. Watch out when she wakes up. lol

Thanks for this blog. It will help a lot of people understanding what a femoral head injury is. I got it too late but knew what it was as my vet explained in details what would happen before, during and after. But it is nice to know more cats are affected by this.

At 1st no one of the vets knew if it was a torn, a fracture, a disease, etc. It took them way too long to my liking to have it fixed but they have to go through elimination too.

What matters to me, is that now she is on the recovery hill and will be able to play again with our other cats (and dogs).

Hélène said...


The link for the pre-op video in my original thread should have been this:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for your blog. My cat, Lysander, just had the surgery last week and your blog helped me know what to expect. His case was a bit different, the Vet thinks it was some sort of chronic problem with his hip. He may have been stepped on as a kitten or he just may have been born with a poor blood supply in his hip joint. Regardless, it weakened the bone and it just snapped. He's recovering really well! Just some additional info - he's just over 1 year old (like most) and the cost of my surgery was only $680. It's amazing how much variability there is in the price.

Michu's mom said...

Hello Jason and All - It's been a little over a month since Michu's FHO. I'm happy to report that he is walking around and running (a little bit) He still has a limp but there has been a definite improvement since his surgery. Michu is not jumping on the bed, furniture, or kitchen counters like he used to. I think it hurts him or he maybe he's scared to jump. We put pet-steps next to the bed and he does climb up that way. Although he does not jump up on the bed, he will jump down. I worry but our vet told us to just let him be a cat. I still worry!

There's my one month (and a few days) report.

Hélène said...

Katia (my cat) is going through the same situation as Michu and she too was operated just over a month ago as far as bed climbing and counter things (she finds tools to reach her goals). :)

She limps a little bit (sometimes not at all), runs, chases the other cats like before. Sometimes she'll run with a hop and sometimes, very normal. But our home is all wood/ceramic floor. So it is not the best situation for her to get a grip on either.

We did not need to do physiotherapy as she was using her leg immediately and did a good job at it. So that saved us some $$$. :)

We are going back to the surgeon 1st week of June for a follow-up and he'll take an x-ray to see if it healed well on the inside. I can feel the inside stiches when I rub the thigh.

I'm very happy that she is getting back to her old self, even if she is still not a 100% it is much better than the day prior to surgery. At least, the pain is gone.

Michu's mom said...

Good News, Bad News...Michu had his vet check-up today and he's healing nicely from his FHO. However, the doctor told me that he has a luxating patellar and will need surgery. This surgery will have him in confinement for 8 weeks. In doing some research, I read that there are tests for all these problems, had I known I would have asked the questions and had Michu checked.

Beth, you mentioned your FHO costing less than most. Where do you live?

jenndugan said...

Hi Jason,

I wanted to say thank you so much for your blog on FHO surgery. My 3 year old cat, Louie, had to have an FHO just this week and without your story and everyone else's comments I would have been completely blindsided about the procedure. Thanks to you all I was able to ask the right questions. I felt really educated and on top of the process. Louie has only been home since yesterday but the swelling has already decreased and he is walking around. Not out of the woods by any means, but his mobility surprised my husband and I a lot. Thanks again.

PS. I am in the Chicago area and my bill was approximately $1450 with surgery, x-ray, consultation and post op meds.

Carole From NJ said...

Hi Jason,

I have a stray cat that had FHO surgery last Friday for a dislocated hip. So far he doesn't want to walk much he kind of walks for a minute then flops down. Did your cat do that? The vet didn't want to give me pain meds so I went to my regular vet the same day and got them. What kind of dr doesn't give pain meds after such a horrible painful procedure???????

This dr is very well known and is supposed to be excellent. But I didn't like him at all. Anyway, Simba is eating and going to the bathroom ok but I am concerned about his recovery time. The dr told me NOT TO TOUCH IT OR do REAHAB movements. I wonder why yours said it was ok to do that?

Anyway, thank you for making this blog it has helped me alot. To all the other posters please keep me updated on the progress of your cats so I have a better idea of long this will take. I have found Simba a home but I feel that I cannot give him up until I know he is fully healed. Thank you.

Carole From NJ said...

Hi Jason,

I have a stray cat that had FHO surgery last Friday for a dislocated hip. So far he doesn't want to walk much he kind of walks for a minute then flops down. Did your cat do that? The vet didn't want to give me pain meds so I went to my regular vet the same day and got them. What kind of dr doesn't give pain meds after such a horrible painful procedure???????

This dr is very well known and is supposed to be excellent. But I didn't like him at all. Anyway, Simba is eating and going to the bathroom ok but I am concerned about his recovery time. The dr told me NOT TO TOUCH IT OR do REAHAB movements. I wonder why yours said it was ok to do that?

Anyway, thank you for making this blog it has helped me alot. To all the other posters please keep me updated on the progress of your cats so I have a better idea of long this will take. I have found Simba a home but I feel that I cannot give him up until I know he is fully healed. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason, I just wanted to update you on my cat, Lysander. He had the FHO surgery in early May. I was gone most of June dealing with a family emergency, but he was doing really well until the end of June when it became clear that he had problems with his OTHER hip and needed the same surgery again! Evidently, he was born with a poor blood supply in his hips. Fortunately, my partner was there to take care of him! Interestingly, this vet, located in Salem, OR, said it would cost about $1500 and the cheapest she could do it was $1150. Well, my vet, located in Arcata, CA only charged $680 and I checked with another vet in the area and he was comparable. So, I guess the going rate in Arcata is half the price of the going rate in most other areas! Arcata is small and very remote and there is not a lot of wealth. Salem is more of an urban area and is less than an hour from Portland. Needless to say, I flew back from my family emergency and we drove down to Arcata for the surgery! It has been almost 2 months from the second surgery and he is doing really well. He often walks without a limp and occasionally runs. He still is not jumping - I set up boxes so that he can get on the bed. I still can't get over how resilient cats are!
In response to Carole, the vet should have given pain meds and an antibiotic. My vet said to restrict movement for 10-14 days. After that, he can do whatever. I asked about physical therapy and my vet said that some vets suggest that, but she does not think it is necessary and feels that it is more important for the incision to heal well.

Hélène said...

Hey! I was away too for a while and then on vacation for a month touring some of the USA for a whole month.

Sorry Mitchu's mom that you have another brick falling on your head. Hopefully it will be better from now on.

Katia was home (with our 2 other cats) with a friend who stayed at my place during that time to keep them company.

When we left mid-July, she was just limping a little bit. Almost not visible. She was still running, or rather hopping on 3 legs most of the time.

Well time does heal things. We came back and she's walking steadily on all 4 and running on all 4 too like before.

We built a cat gazebo outside before we left so they could take some fresh air without being at risk as our friend is not able to chase them around the yard and I would not let that happen.

So very happy that the surgery was a success and to have our kitty back to what she was before minus a body part that she does not seem to miss at all.

Here is a video of how well she can climb on her cat tree house. It was before our vacation but now she is able to manoeuver around it even more. Too acrobatic for my liking but cats will be cats!

Katia is the Birman (the 1st one you see in the video).

So this is Katia's story since we noticed her limping sometimes in April. She had the surgery in May and by our return of vacation mid-August, nothing was left of her injury. She did not need any physiotherapy as it was recommended. She was already walking the days following her surgery (although limited) and has gain daily strength and flexibility. Having other cats and 2 dogs around must have stimulated her too to move and be part of the fun.

So there is hope for you out there.

As for your story Carol, I just don't know why your "good" vet did not give pain med. Our orthopedist gave her very strong pain killers (syrup) for 4 days post-op plus anti-inflmmatory pills for many more days. He said it is major surgery and it is painful. We have to remember that animals have a higher pain tolerance then humans. Probably because in the wild, they would be eliminated quickly if they showed weakness evidences.

She was limited to a made-up bedroom (with nothing she could climb on and no stairs for 10 days. After that, she was to use the stairs gradually).

If you look at Katia's videos that I posted somewhere on this page, you'll see she was walking pretty good 2 days after her surgery. In fact, the vets who had kept her overnight after her surgery were stunned at how well she was doing. So hopefully your little one will get on track asap.

Keep us posted and good luck.

Jason Sparks said...

Hey Guys...

Really glad to hear so many more people are finding this post helpful.

Carole: My vet only gave him like 3 days of pain meds (which we thought was a bit short) and then i think 2 weeks of antibiotics. We also did no physical therapy, but it took micio a good long while to fully recuperate.

Beth: OMG! that is a pretty amazing story. Very sorry to hear you had to go through it again, but glad Lysander is taking it well.

We recently got the cats a new cat tree... My cats are not the most graceful (in fact i think most dogs are more so than they)... well after a weekend in San Diego watching some amazing cats walk upside-down on ropes and all sorts of crazy stuff, we came home to Micio limping!

He seems to have lost the limp after a few days, but the tree is not coming out again!

Kirfie said...

I just wanted to thank everyone who wrote about their cats having FHO surgery. I found this blog three days ago when the vet had suggested this for my 6 month old kitten, Twinkie. After he had landed wrong on Sunday night and was limping, I brought him to my Vet monday morning to find out he had fractured the growth plate in his femur. I was having a very hard time deciding weather or not surgery was really what was best for him. After doing TONS of research, I found this blog to be the most helpful to me. I was so concerned about him, and all the vet and scientific websites weren't making me feel like surgery was the right thing to do. Reading what everyone said made me feel better about making him go through this. So he had his surgery yesterday afternoon, and I picked him up about 3 hours ago. I am shocked!! The vet told me it would be up to 7 days (but probably sooner) for him to put weight on the leg. I brought him home, opened up his cat carrier and he walked right out of it!! He is definitally limping some, but nothing like he was, and nothing like what I expected!! He has now finally laid down to take a little nap, after 3 hours of walking around and sitting. He is definitally a tough macho little guy (I know, I know... with the name of Twinkie!) I just never expected him to do so well so soon. And I just want to say thank you to everyone who has written, because if I hadn't found this, there is a good chance I would not have gotten the surgery for my little guy!
Thanks so much,
Twinkie and his mom

Hélène said...

Very happy to read all of our stories helped you and Twinkie.

They are tougher than we'd be for same type of surgery.

Just be careful that he does not overuse that leg just yet (they tolerate pain more than we do as in the wild, they'd become a bait easily). Follow the vet's recommendations. You would not want the injury to heal the wrong way inside.

Katia was a fast one too to walk on that operated hip. Even the surgeon was amazed on day 1 (at the hospital). But we did not allow her outside the confined bedroom. No contacts with other pets in the house (so she would not run and be chased either) for 10 days post-op. And anything she could have climbed onto was also removed in that bedroom. We even put a mattress straight on the floor in this room so she would not try to jump on the bed.

Keep us posted on how the little one is doing.

Jolon said...

Hello Everyone,
I sure appreciate finding this site. My 1 year old Siamese mix also needs this surgery now and my two estimates have been $2400 and $1700 so far in the Palm Springs area. One of them recommended pricing the surgery in a small town where surgery will normally cost closer to $700 due to my financial restrictions so that may be an option. As for the physical therapy ~ are most of you doing it yourselves or spending the money to see a physical therapist? My cat Starr and I appreciate any info you can provide.
Thanks ~ Jolon

Hélène said...


I did consult with a physio therapist and would have gone to her if Katia did not use her leg appropriately.

But I was lucky enough to have a good active cat from day 1 of surgery.

She did it all herself. I did massage it a bit and applied some ice when she came back home but that's it.

PT here charges $100 per session. Needless to say I was happy that she was so good to my wallet. :)

You can always ask your ortho to refer one and give them a call. Sometimes, they will give you tips on how to handle the therapy. Afterall, therapy is almost the healing in itself. Just like us humans.

Nothing should be done before 10 days post-op. No need to go too fast on this exercise thing. We need to give time to the surgery to get better, swelling to go down, and cat to gain strength.

Good luck.

Terra said...

I was really happy to find your blog. My cat Gizmo just had the FHO surgery on Wednesday and he is back home with me now, but before i found your blog all the info i found was technical stuff that i either didnt understand or didnt answer my questions. I asked my vet if this was a common thing to happen to cats and he said that it was very uncommon in inside kitties. But after reading all the responses to your blog i now know it is more common then he said. But i guess i got lucky living in a small town, the cost of the FHO was only $460 (which to a broke college student is a lot, but now i know it could have been much worse). I was just wondering if your vet put your kitty Micro on a diet after the surgery. My guy is around 13. pounds which is a little hefty, but they want him to go down to 10 pounds. Im just afraid by that point i wont have any cat left. They also said that he would have to maintain that weight the rest of his kitty life. Was Micro at all over weight? and my poor Gizmo hasnt been eating too well since the surgery either. i have a vet appt next week, but i was wondering if Micro had a normal appetite after the surgery?
Oh and if you want to see a picture of Gizmo before and after surgery you can check out my blog. (its not as informational as yours but it helps me vent. :) )

Anonymous said...

I just came across your blog and it has been a huge help to me! At the end of August, I adopted a 15 week old kitten who I named Mia. The day before I was to pick up Mia, the vets found out she was deaf - I didn't mind at all, I had planned for her to be a strictly indoor cat, so her not being able to hear my annoying dog bark wasn't a problem for any of us :)
Shortly after getting her, she would show occasional lameness behind, over the course of two weeks, it got worse, so I made an appointment with my vet. As soon as my vet watched her walk, she diagnosed a luxated patella - basically whenever she loads the joint with weight, it slips out. After taking some x-rays, it was discovered that she suffers from legg-calve-perthes disease - well that is the diagnosis in dogs - my vet has never seen it in cat before. Basically it is a degenerative disease of the head of the femur - the head of the femur slips out of the hip socket, and that is what is causing the patella to slip out. My vet suggested FHO for this. I was so nervous about the outcome, but after reading all these posts, I feel a lot more comfortable that it will be the right thing to do.
This poor kitten, all the odds have been against her from the start - I just hope for her sake that this is the end of her unlucky streak.
Did you put your cat on a joint supplement, like Cosequin, after the surgery to help with arthritis?

Thanks for all of your help Jason!

Allyson & Mia

Jason Sparks said...

Hey Allyson… Wow never heard of this medical issue before I don’t think. Very sorry for poor little Mia :(

Micio didn’t go on any supplements, but perhaps that is because his issue was not a result of a degenerative disease. Dunno…

To answer Jolon’s question: I didn’t even know there were physical therapists for cats :) And it seems like my vet was a bit more conservative in his recovery procedures than most of the posters here. So he didn’t suggest physical therapy at all and also didn’t recommend confinement. Just told me to watch him basically and he would recover.

Very glad so many people are enjoying this post. I have a question for you all.

It seems like this post has helped a few people with this particular issue. Do you all think if I set up some kind of forum for cat and dog issues it would be of similar value to a larger group of people?

Thanks for the help,

Anonymous said...

Hi again guys,

Just wanted to make a suggestion for anyone who is facing the possibility of having to have FHO surgery for their cat - it is a pretty expensive surgery. I live about 25 minutes outside of Boston, where there are some amazing animal hospitals, including Angell Memorial, and Tufts. The estimates I got ranged from $1900-$2800 - My own vet, who is as good, if not better than these big hospitals, is going to do the surgery for $600-800.
Look around, call different offices for prices, you could save yourself a significant amount of money!!
I feel totally confident that she will be in the best of hands, and would pay the $2800 if it meant she would recieve better care, but I don't feel that is the case.
Best of luck to all the kitties and thier owners - and their wallets :)

Halogengirlie said...

My cat Jaxx has been limping around the house for two days. He is 1.5 years old. I took him to the vet and she mentioned that he may have Legg Perthe... that seems to be the "dog" way of describing Feline hip dysplasia. Either way she mentioned that she was going to wait a week and then re-x-ray his hip. She is suspecting that an FMO is necessary.

She mentioned that it seems to be genetic.... and I Jaxx has a sister Cali.

Most of the people on this forum seem to have Male cats with this issue... I wonder if the males are more prone to the problem?

Anyhow... Jaxx is a Classic Tabby 1.5 years of age, 14 pounds.

I guess I'll just wait and see if the FMO becomes necessary... I appreciate everyone's input, cause I'm freaking out :).

Anonymous said...

My kitten, Mia also has legg parthes.... it is a genetic bone disease. A friend of mine has her brother, and he hasn't shown any signs of lameness (knock on wood). Mia had surgery 2 weeks ago, they fixed her luxated patella - they seems to think that she is compensating for the hip right now, and they will re-evaluate later....fingers crossed that she doesn't have to have FHO surgery eventually... You maybe able to talk to your vet about Cosequin, or another joint supplement to keep Jaxx more comfortable until it is absolutely necessary to do the surgery.
Good luck!!

Sarah said...

Hi Jason,
Have you come across anyone who's had to have this surgery on a dog? Recovery experience, etc. We've been informed that our dog will need to have this surgery. I am planning to make a list of questions before scheduling the surgery, but wanted to know if you knew of a blog for dogs with the same situations.
Thanks for your help,
Sarah Choukalas

Jana said...

I am happy to run across your story! I have a pug puppy that jumped off my bed and dislocated her hip. She was only 6 months old when she did this. Which I later found out that she actually broke her hip and the growth plate also. She is now one week post-op with her FHO and still favors that leg. My vet told me she would be back to normal activity in a week. She still favors her leg. I really think it is going to take longer than a week but I feel like she is making progress. She doesn't like her physical therapy at all!! I have been doing my best to make sure everything is done so she will be a normal pup!! I am looking forward to her follow up appointment to see what the vet says.

Sarah said...

My dog Cozmo (a 7 year old Boston Terrier) just had the FHO on Friday, November 14th. He's doing quite well-the only real issue we have had is throwing up from the antibiotic (they are quite strong since it's bone surgery) but he's getting boiled chicken and rice and seems to be doing well now. He's even trying to use the leg, a very good sign. It will be a while before he's back to normal, and he wants so badly to jump (it's like his favorite thing in the world besides cat food). He's even trying to put his weight on the surgery leg while he goes potty-a little difficult but he's stubborn. Anyone who would like to talk about it and compare stories of dogs with this surgery, please feel free to email me, I would love to hear other peoples experiences. Oh, one more thing-use baby food to get the animal to take pills-it works GREAT!

Anonymous said...

Jason (or anyone), I'm just wondering how long it took for your cat to jump after the surgery. Lysander had surgery on both hips and it has been almost 5 months since the second surgery. He is not jumping onto the furniture nor the bed (I have a make shift staircase for him to get on the bed).

Also, Terra, he was 14lbs before the surgery and now he is down to about 10.5, which is right where the vet wants him. She kept telling me to put him on a diet, but I did not - he just lost the weight naturally. I would wait and see. Chances are he is overweight because he has been in pain.

Thanks, Beth

Jessica said...

Hi everyone
my cat was limping and we took him in to find out he had a broken femoral head. they told us the only option was to have the FHO surgery, which would cost us $1,000. we took him to my home town to get a second opinion and our vet there told us that he's seen this a lot and that although the FHO surgery is an option, he only recommends it if we feel like forking out the money. i was unsure of the situation since one doctor had said it was our only option, but after asking several questions, we decided to hold off on the surgery. our cat is doing much better, he barely limps anymore and is running around like normal. just a suggestion for people out there that don't have the money laying around for this surgery. anyone else decide not to do the surgery? or have a vet suggest not doing it?
he had seen it in lots of farm cats where the owners couldn't afford it and he said they recovered on their own just fine. he also said that the bone was already healing and was an old fracture. he said he was limping just like me or you would from a sprained ankle. i was concerned about his pain and he said that if a cat is in pain, they will be sure to let you know....


J Ches said...

About a month ago i started going to this park to this park to exercise. There are cats all over the park, but there is one corner that they all chill. Every time we walked past all them, this little kitten came by limping, but purring because she just wanted love. Well, after a couple weeks i finally convinced my mom that letting me have her was a fantastic idea. Last Saturday i woke up and got ready to go get her and bring her to the vet. My mom comes into my room and goes "how do you expect to 'catch' her?" i said well, i just squat down on the floor and call her and she comes to me. My mother didn't believe me, so she went with me. I got out of the car and walked over to where they were all kinda just laying around. One came up to my mother and rubbed against her, i looked around but that kitten wasn't there. I squatted down towards the floor and called her. I look towards the bushes and here she comes, sprinting but kinda limping because of her leg as fast as she can. Just adorable. I picked her up pet her for a little bit, then got her into the carrier to bring to the vet. She got some shots, we scheduled an appointment for the FHO surgery and went on our merry way. She was been sleeping with me for the past week, and i can't get enough of her...

This morning i woke up at 7 to take LUCY to the vet. Then to just wait around for him to call and let us know everything was alright and we could go get her. He calls me about 3:30, "what leg is it that has a problem? I lost the x-ray. I wrote down here in the file, the left leg but i just wanted to call and make sure." I had and still have no idea which leg is the hurt leg. He is the freakin vet, he took the x-rays, shouldn't HE know which one to operate on? If he took her out and let her walk, you can tell right away which leg it is. Why didn't he do that. Why would you do surgery on an animal if you weren't too sure which leg was hurting them?

Its Monday, her surgery is was on Saturday. She is getting up a little to drag herself to the litter box and to the food and water. It seems to me that she is putting more weight on the 'just had surgery leg' than she is the other leg. I have my doubts that the vet did the surgery on the wrong one. I don't know what to do, totally freaking out. Can an animal have 2 FHO surgeries? Yesterday i was spending time with her, she started cleaning herself, when she got to the incision she licked it a few times and then started bitting at the stitches. What can i do?

Sarah said...

Hi there JChes,
My dog had the surgery about a month and a half ago-and he's doing fabulous. But when he came out-he obviously would not put weight on the surgery leg. It's taken over a month to get him to use the leg and the stairs, but he went thru some rough patches.

I suggest you go back into the vets office and request to look at the xrays....possibly ask to speak with another doctor. It's an expensive surgery, and if they did the wrong one, it needs to be addressed immediately. I would also recommend that you request they do another set of xrays to see for yourself.

Hope that helps a bit...

Halogengirlie said...

J Ches,

It is possible for a cat to have 2 FHO surgeries. My vet mentioned that my cat (who had one about 10 weeks ago) might have to have the other hip done in the future... Something about the other hip showing a widened growth plate...

But after the surgery he did not place much weight on the FHO leg... he avoided it for a few days.. then gradually started putting weight on it. I felt relieved about 10 days in... I could look at his toes and tell that he was putting weight on both feet.

Now 10 weeks from the surgery. He still limps a little bit. He can run up and down stairs. He can jump down. He is still limited when it comes to jumping up. I have made little stairs for him to get onto the sofa and bed.... and once he fell into an empty jacuzzi tub and couldn't jump out. Keep your tubs empty :)

I would pressure the vet for follow up x-rays. If he operated on the wrong leg then he should pay for the next operation and the x-rays. If he operated on the correct leg... then you would probably be resposible for the cost of the follow up x-rays.

As for licking / pulling at stiches... my little boy had to wear one of those plastic cones over this head. He kept yanking out the stitches.

Good Luck!

jerjer said...

Hi my name is Jer, I'm from Montreal, Quebec, and am the proud owner of the Duke, a 1.5 year old tabby who unfortunately needs FHO Surgery on both legs. Last night , we think his sister pounced on him in an awkward way as they were play fighting and then we heard a yelp and he came scurrying in limping. 20 mins later we were at the vet and x rays confirmed his left side was fractured. They gave him some pain meds and we took him home. Today we found a place that would see him and operate this afternoon. When the Surgeon looked at the the x ray he informed us the other side had been broken as well.
My poor kitty!
FYI* The Surgeon informed us that he is seeing this a lot in young Tabbies and that there is a genetic predisposition to weakness in the hip joints of this breed of cat.

I am by know means a rich man but i would pay anything not to see my cat suffer and it looks like i will be paying around 1500$ cdn. for each of the two surgeries. I adopted The Duke from the SPCA, and out of the 20 cats i held that day, this guy just wouldnt let go of me.... I am a pretty down to earth kind of guy, im a strength and conditioning coach, i teach fighting, kind of a tough and this cat has touched my soul and i was so emotional in the surgeons office as i thought of the possibility of having to put him down. Once the doctor said that his quality of life could and should get back to "normal", that was all we needed to hear and my girlfriend and i knew there was only one thing to do.
The Duke had round one this aft and the surgeon called to let us know that everything went super and he would update tomorrow and we could get him on Monday. They want to do the 2nd surgery in a weeks time.

IS there any advantage to doing the second round sooner or is waiting a bit longer better?
what about being under anesthetic twice in such a short period?

Beth is the only other blogger who has gone through a similar experienc with the "double Whamee!"

It is motivating to read so many success stories and all the posts have helped me get ready for the reality of the next 6 months to a year.

I will post updates in hopes to better inform those who's cats are going through a similar situation as mine. Thank you for your responses to my questions.


jerjer said...

Update day 1... We got The Duke back this aft and to my surprise, when we got home, he walked out of his cage. Although he had a limp he was walking, even with his other hip in a bad state, he is walking! The doc gave us only antibiotics, no pain meds, no lamp shade for his head. He has licked and cleaned the incision sight and shaved area a few times and also tried to bite at his stitches twice....both times he cried in pain so i think he learned not to pick but to lick. We built him an enclosure in our room out of furniture ,file cabinets, blankets, etc. believe it or not he seems to love his fort.

The Doc encouraged us to encourage him to walk and build up the joint so they can assess when it will be stable enough to bare all his weight so they can do the other side.
I looked at the post x-ray....its quite amazing to see the result. Its like a "ghost " joint. Its remarkable that in time it will create a "false" joint.

Its gonna be a long haul for The Duke but he's already proven to be a tough kitty. i will keep you posted on his recovery.

THanks for the support.

jerjer said...

Any updates on Paiges cat Webber? Seems liek he went through the same thing as The Duke.

Hélène said...


Which vet hospital did you have the surgery done? Katia had hers last April at HVRS by Dr. Auger (orthopedist). Her story is somewhere here.

It will almost be a year post-op and you'd never know she had surgery. She is back to normal. But we still can see a minor limping (because we know) from that side. But it is minimal. The rest of her life is just made of running and still jumping on counters and furniture and oh yeah...playing fun-war with our two other cats. Some things will never change.

Just be careful with the walking though. Yes your cat should be walking but not overdue it in the 1st 10 days. It's hard to control I know. But you would not want him to damage the tender tissues just yet. The inside is not healed and internal stitches are not as strong. Surgeon had warned me about it, not to go too fast.

As for the 2nd surgery, your orthopedist would be the best person to tell you when kitty is able to under go that other leg.

Wishing you the best! They are worth every penny to us that's for sure to go through all those expenses. lol

Julia said...

Hi Everyone,

My cat Brody underwent a double FHO last Thursday- both hips at the same time! I brought him home yesterday. He is in good spirits and his pain seems to be well controlled. But, it breaks my heart to watch him walk. His body will go one way and his legs will fall another. Does anyone else have experience with a cat who had both hips done at the same time? My vet told me that cats who get both hips done at the same time seem to do just as well as those who get each hip done separately. Still, it seems like it would be easier for him if he had one good leg to use.

FYI...Brody is a 1.5 year-old neutered male long-haired Siamese mix. His surgery was done in St. Louis- $1700 total.


Halogengirlie said...

My cat Jaxx had a single hip done in early November.

He walks pretty well (a little swaying from time to time).
He can climb stairs. Jump down off of the sofa. Uses a step stool to climb onto the sofa.

I haven't seen him progressing when it comes to jumping. How long did it take some of your cats to regain their jumping ability... did they?


audrey said...

I'm curious about Jessica's cat. Any followup? Did you end up doing the surgery?

My cat starting limping yesterday. I talked to a friend whose cat has had 2 FHO's and said my situation sounds the same. I am going to give it a couple days and see what happens. I have been searching online to find out what happens if you don't do the surgery. Will things heal on their own? I really can't afford the $1000 it will cost me, but also don't want my cat to be suffering. I want to be aware of all the options.

Great blog, I really appreciated all the info so far.

jerjer said...

Its been a little over 1 month since The Dukes surgery....He is doing VERY WELL! He is still walking with a limp but every day is increasing the weight bearing on his "bad "leg. He is climbing on things and trying to chase his sister The Duchess around the apt! He is even more loving then he was pre op!
I Am a Sports and conditioning coach and have experience in rehab and post op care....on humans! But i figure the principles should carry over to felines....So i massage the leg for a few minutes and apply a worm water bottle, then ice till he gets antsy then re apply heat....After a few times he would sit there and love it!
I then go through range of motion, id tickle his toes so he reacts by bunching up and flexing his leg muscles. Then i rub the inside of his thigh and he always reacts by straightening his leg...I have done this range of motion and rehab multiple times a day since the surgery!

His x rays showed both femoral heads were broken but he is Asymptomatic on the non operated side so the vet will wait till he shows signs of deterioration, pain or lack of function to do the other surgery...they are not exactly sure how to explain it and he is DEFINATELY NOT in any pain....It may have happened earlier and calcified ...i dont know but there is no limp, no pain twhen the vet touched or moved the joint!

For those just starting this venture....have faith! the first days are tough, sad, sleepless! but it does get better!

We built an enclosure/nook in our bedroom. We could lock him(the first few nights we did ) or keep the door open so he could come out when HE wanted. For the first few days he stayed in there, eventually he would come out of his nook and snuggle in bed with us and when he was done, head back to the nook! We took our bed apart and put the mattress on the floof so The Duke could still sleep with us and not have to jump up. We are still on the floor.
We seperate the 2 cats when we sleep and when we r out!

I hope the Dukes Story helps ease the minds of those going through similar situations! I know there is still a long way to go for us but if you would have told me a month ago that the Duke would this good i would not have believed it.

He is so Thankful and is more affectionate then before!
Thanks to those who posted before me!

Deanna said...

I have a cat who may have gotten caught scaling a fence or something because he had a laceration down his thigh to the bone and a dislocated hip. He got it stitched and it wound up becoming terribly infected. So, we are now one month later without infection and skin covering most of the wound. Although the ER vet said do FHO (or TOTAL HIP REPLACEMENT!)surgery, we couldn't until the leg healed. (There is still one smaller lesion that has no skin cover now but i think we are out of the woods with that.)

Now the vet said that we could leave it as is and have a pseudo-joint form. He is no where near as active as he used to be (2 y.o. neutered short haired male). But, he is an outdoor cat and I want to get him in top shape again.
I wonder if Jessica or Audrey wound up doing the surgery or not? We'll have to wait another 3-4 weeks for the wound to heal completely before making that decision.
Thanks. What a great blog and what caring owners.

Deanna said...

I have a cat who may have gotten caught scaling a fence or something because he had a laceration down his thigh to the bone and a dislocated hip. He got it stitched and it wound up becoming terribly infected. So, we are now one month later without infection and skin covering most of the wound. Although the ER vet said do FHO (or TOTAL HIP REPLACEMENT!)surgery, we couldn't until the leg healed. (There is still one smaller lesion that has no skin cover now but i think we are out of the woods with that.)

Now the vet said that we could leave it as is and have a pseudo-joint form. He is no where near as active as he used to be (2 y.o. neutered short haired male). But, he is an outdoor cat and I want to get him in top shape again.
I wonder if Jessica or Audrey wound up doing the surgery or not? We'll have to wait another 3-4 weeks for the wound to heal completely before making that decision.
Thanks. What a great blog and what caring owners.

audrey said...


Thanks for inquiring about my cat... when we saw the vet, he determined that she had just twisted her knee, gave her some pain medication and she has improved quite a bit. She is still limping a little, but we anticipate a full recovery.

Good luck to everyone else dealing with injured kitties... it is so traumatic, I hope things work out well.

Courtney said...


Because I am lazy and did not want to read through all your posts, I thought I would ask.

How long after the surgery did you wait to start the physical therapy on the leg? My 11 mth old kitten just had the surgery. The vet said to excercise the leg, but he howls in pain when I do it.

He had the surgury on Monday and it is now Wednesday. Is it too early to start?


Courtney said...


Because I am lazy and didn't want to read through all 93 posts, I thought I would just ask.

When did you start the physical therapy with your cat?

My kitten is 11 mths old and just had the surgery on Monday. It is now Wednesday and I was wondering if it is too soon to start. I have tried and he howls in pain, but I am afraid that if I start too late then damage will occur and he won't be able to use the leg properly.

Also, did you use the food to do the therepy? Or did you try closer by the hip.


Jacqui said...

Hi Jason and fellow cat-lovers,
I am so relieved to read this thread! My cat, Sooty, had a FHO two and a half weeks ago. She injured herself just 6 days into our 4 week overseas trip so that put a bit of a dampner on the rest of our trip. She's a long haired, mixture and is just under 2 years old. Seems to be a common age for this type of injury.
While we were away I had no idea what was happening with her - I just had to leave it up to my friend to deal with the vet and operation so we were pretty worried until I read this thread. So far, by what you have all written, things seem to be going OK. At least I know she will be fine so thanks again to everyone for all your kind words.

Paula said...

They are doing FHO to Tantra right now, she is 5 months. Thanks a lot for your comments, they make me feel tranquil and with hope that she is going to be OK. Paula from Cozumel, México

Hannah said...

My Ragdoll cat, Kahlua, fractured his hip a year ago while I was out of town (I haven't seen the x-rays so I cannot verify this information). My parents took him to the vet, as he was obviously in a lot of pain. The vet suggested an emergency FHO since he is a cat, saying that a total hip replacement would be unnecessary for a small animal and that surgery is necessary. At a distance and with no other options, I accepted to do the surgery for $2700.

Kahlua seemed to heal well. He had a difficult time jumping for several months and sometimes will still hesitate to jump. I thought everything was great until about a month ago when I came home one day to find him limping. I was concerned and thought it was his leg acting up again, but later something exacerbated his symptoms and he was showing obvious pain from the "good" leg.

I had him taken into the vet (hoping and praying it wasn't the same problem), and they took x-rays to find out that he has Avascular Necrosis. The way the vet put it, the surgery is almost elective, so I chose to wait. However, he is starting to pull hair out of that leg and sometimes I can feel the bones "crackle" when he moves.

Today I took him to a 2nd vet to get a quote on his surgery ($600) and she says she is hesitant to do it on the 2nd leg because it's already been done to one of them.
However I am reading stories of cats getting both legs done--even at the same time! Has anyone had DUAL FHO procedures here? Any concerns expressed by your veterinarian?

From the x-rays, both veterinarians have said that the previous surgery (done in another state before moving) looks like it was done incorrectly. His femur is not smooth and round like x-rays I have viewed online, but instead it seems to have two pronged bones sticking out, as though the surgeon didn't remove the neck. I am very upset that the surgery I paid over $2,000 for does not seem like it was done correctly, but what is done is done.

Any feedback regarding having both hips done at separate times would be SO very appreciated!

Halogengirlie said...

My cat had the first FHO about 10 months ago… it healed well… but still took about 10 months for a full recovery (to include limited jumping)… He recently started limping again, and my vet is recommending the same procedure on his other leg. She wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t possible… she is a fantastic vet. (If you are in the Dallas area I would recommend her… the procedure cost about $1200 per leg).

I’ve read.. but have no personal experience, that sometimes bone spurs can develop after a surgery… perhaps this is what happened to the leg that had the surgery performed before?

Halogengirlie said...

Courtney - When My cat had the surgery I asked my vet about physical therepy...

She said it wouldnt hurt the cat... but that it wasn't necessary... that he would naturally stretch the leg on his own... and would know his own limits better than I would.

I also asked about confiment.. and she said that wouldn't be necessary either. The only thing she recommended was putting the litter box, food and water on the floor in an area easily accessible.

Other than medicine, love (and sleeping on the floor so he could continue to cuddle with me) I gave no additional post surgical treatment... and he healed BEAUTIFULLY!

Good Luck!

Sylvia said...

Hi all,

I guess in the love of our cats we are all the same. My cat Koley is due to have his FHO the day after tomorrow. I'll be honest, I'm scared shitless - they're going to cut a bit of bone off of my one and a half year old cat?? I'm terrified. But reading the experience of you all makes me feel a bit better. I hope my cat recovers as well as you all...

I saw the xray, the femur was definitely apart from the hip, and the vet said he sees a bit of loose bone as well. But Koley is actually not visibly limping the last two days. Reading about the post-op stuff like confinement...i'm really scared, i wish the vet would say before the surgery that the femur has popped back into place but i guess if he has a bit of loose bone floating around we can't avoid the surgery...

Julie said...

Hello, I guess this is the location for information about FHO for cats! Our 7.5 month old kitten, The Count, had FHO last night. He's home today. Walking, though limitedly. He's got an e-collar on when I am not in the room because he is hell bent and determined to get rid of the hospital smell and he's been getting a bit close to the stitches.

I did a bit of therapy with him a bit ago -- He tolerated it well; I just did about 20 of the two exercises the vet recommended. Jeremy's directions above are noted and I will start that regime.

Thank you all for the stories of your cats. I was a bit scared about the surgery but I was more scared of not having the surgery done and him remaining in pain. He's a sweetheart.

Susan said...

Last Friday my 9 month old indoor kitten was limping. I have no idea how he hurt himself. He and his 9 month old brother play alot so maybe they were too rough. My husband took him to the vet that afternoon. The diagnosis was a broken hip needing FHO surgery. As with everyone else I was very upset. I am glad I found this site because it has helped me alot.
We had to wait until Tuesday the next week for his surgery. We brought him home on Wednesday. His brother was missing him terribly so it was cute to see them sleeping next to each other last night. My vet told me to confine him to one room (which is our master bedroom) since our home is two story. He didn't want him going up and down the stairs for 10days. My concern is his going potty. I bought a low kitty box so it would be easier for him to go.He pees if you sit him in the box but no poop. This worries me. He is eatting and drinking okay but I have to put the food under his nose. He is not active at all, he just lies in his bed but it is only day two.

Jacqui said...

I just wanted to leave a further post. My cat Sooty, had an FHO in July. As it has now been 6 months I am very happy to announce that she has made a full recovery. The only time I notice any slight limp is straight after she wakes up and the only other difference is when she sits down she tucks her FHO'd leg slightly differently to the other one.
I am so pleased! I had been so worried about permanent problems but she is fine.
I think cats are incredibly resilient creatures and even if your little one seems to be suffering straight after surgery, don't worry. Cat's prefer to be happy - it's like happiness is their natural state. Even after 3 months I was still worried as the limp was still very obvious but just over the last few weeks I have seen a completely recovered little kitty.
My advice - hang in there. As long as the surgery was done correctly you will have a completely normal (if not quite completely whole) little cat again.
Good luck!

jen21jay said...

Hello, so this seems to be the best site out here for fho surgerys. My cat hunter had to have this done october, 2009 on his right leg and january, 2010 he had this done to his left leg. (we have been home for 3 days). This time around it seems worse, he does not want to drink and only licks gravy out of the 9lives wet food. Its frusterating and he does not look comfortable. I seen him use the litterbox for the first time today and he was so wobbley that he fell over and I basically had to help him to the litterbox. I guess my question is has anyone else got a double fho and have good recovery result stories? The vets all say that cats heel just fine but seeing him walk the way he did was sad. I told the vet that I wanted to do what was best for him and that I wanted him to have a good quality of life, he is only 3-4yrs old. We adopted him 2years ago, they estimated him around 1year .. so probably more in the 3 year range now. The first vet I brang him to says its a herriditary trait of decreased blood flow to that area. They also said it was rare to have the other one go out but cant rule it out and only 3months went by before that other leg went. He is such a great cat and I hope he will be okay. I need reasurement. I need success stories.

audrey said...

Jen, My friend's cat had a similar situation. The surgery on one leg then within a couple weeks, on the other leg. I don't remember the recovery being more difficult the second time. But now, several years later, he is perfectly fine.

The good news is that there are only two legs that this can happen with, so at least you know you are done.... Good luck

Jasmine said...

My cat "Slash" is a 2 year old make siamese- He was limping for about a month before I took him in to be x-rayed..They diagonosed him with an extreemly rare disease called Proximal Femoral Metaphyseal Osteopathy- where both femors were causing fractures in his hips..It progressivly got worse..I found a Vet to do both FHO surgers at once for $2500 I live in L.A. so that was the cheapest- I picked him up yesterday..he has 25 staples on both sides:( He wont move cant walk or get up he seems very frustrated. I saw that Julia got a double FHO for her cat Brody..I'm curious how his recovery is going..I'm so scared for him..I dont see how he will walk if he doesnt have a functioning back leg... He's eating a little and I got him some pain meds..It's breaking my heart to see that he cant move:(
Thank you kitty lovers!

Halogengirlie said...

Hang in there. My cat only had the single side, but even with that it was ugly for days! I'm sure that it will just take time.

I did some little things to make it easier on him. I moved the litter box and food into an area easy to access. I put down throw carpets on the hardwood and tile floors (they were too slippery). and I since we always sleep together, I slept in a sleeping bag on the living room floor so he could reach me. Once he got more mobile I provided step stools to the sofa and bed. It's about 1.5 years later, it takes a long time to recover. He is now jumping to the top of my sofa table, but not to the kitchen counters yet.

Just hang in there, 1 leg was terrifying for me so I can't imagine what two looks like, but they do get better!

Julie said...

I'll second the hang in there -- the first couple of weeks were hard. I cried the first day I brought him home -- The Count looked so sad and frustrated. He hated the e-collar and wouldn't eat, drink or go to the litter box with it on. So I took it off and he was much happier and more active (and he didn't bother with his stitches). I also slept on the floor in the "recovery" room so that he would have easy access to me, his food, and his litter box.

He had his surgery the first week of December 2009 -- just over two months later, he's doing fantastically well. This video is from last week -- -- he is still quite bald (compounded by the shaving he received for an ultrasound).

pb444 said...

Bella had her FHO surgery yesterday. Today I can't look at her. Every time I go in to visit with her, or give meds, or check food she tries to get up to greet me. Such a good girl. When she tries to put weight on that leg (why?) it bends out all sideways, weird like. (ick). I have taken great comfort from your posts. Thank you Jason for starting this thread. I am very scared that she will never be ok again, but know that's irrational. You have convinced me of that. I trust my vet. I'm sure we'll all get through this.

pb444 said...

1 week post op and Bella has improved a little each day. She thinks she is well enough to go outside....willful one. I stopped giving her the pain meds 2 days post op. She seems to know what she needs/can do. The first few days she hid and slept, but gradually she has been moving around more. She doesn't bother her stitches, but her leg still bends out at a weird angle sometimes. She hobbles around the house quite a lot, and can jump up on any surface she can get her front paws up onto. Sometimes she puts a little weight on the leg, and sometimes she hops it 3 legged style. She seems in good spirits with little (if any) pain.

pb444 said...

11 Days post op and Bella is doing great! She can actually "run" for a short while 3-legged style. She has stopped asking to go outside, even though she still thinks she'd like to. She will put solid weight on her foot now, and although it still turns out a little funny at times, It doesn't flop out at that weird angle anymore. She is gaining strength. She will not jump down from 4', and has included lateral jumps. Monday she gets her stitches out and the Doc will re-examine her.

pb444 said...

2 weeks post op and Bella got her stitches out today. The doc seems a little concerned that she is still favoring the leg a bit, but I'm okay with it as long as I continue to see a little improvement each day. We'll re-evaluate it in another 2 weeks. She's allowed to go back outside again on her leash. She will really enjoy that, tomorrow. Being outside will give her many reasons to start using her leg more. I know from all your posts that by 30 days post op she'll be well on the road to her "normal" self.

Jacqui said...

1 Year Up-Date

My cat, Sooty, had a single FHO done 1 year ago. After 6 months of apartment living she almost fully back to normal. I would still notice a slight limp as she stood up from lying down but the limp would disappear after a few minutes.

Up until about 3 months ago, we lived in Hong Kong and our apartment was small. She was able to go outside but there was never anywhere she could really exercise as there were a lot of other cats around. Since moving to Australia where our house is bigger and she loves running around the garden at full speed, she has made a complete recovery and I don't even notice anything abnormal about her hip/leg. After all the worry and concern of those initial weeks I am just amazed at the resilience of my little cat. It seems, cats just love to be happy and their bodies adjusts so that they can be happy.

My advice to anyone who has just gone through this ordeal, hang in there. Trust your vet. Some use pain patches, some don't but essentially they do know what they're doing. Your poor cat won't know them self for a few weeks and it will be horrible for you to watch and witness the seemingly slow and painful recovery but stick with it. Once the stitches are out, give them space to exercise and plenty of love. Don't be alarmed that they will appear to have made great progress, do something silly and then re-hurt their leg. For Sooty, it seemed like two steps forward and one step back for the first 6 months but don't worry. When they are immobile, the 'false-joint' may form in a certain spot but once they start to move around a bit more it seems the initial join was not actually in the right place. So the cartilage tears off a bit and re-forms in the right place. It's a slow process but necessary. So any healing followed by hurting is progress as it is essentially making the 'false-joint' stronger.

Cats truly are the most remarkable creatures and with lots of love and exercise they will overcome anything. Good luck and don't worry - you'll have your cat back to normal in no time!

P.S. Thanks again to Jason for hosting this discussion - I would have been lost without it!

Hannah said...

A few months ago my cat, a ragdoll, had to have his 2nd FHO. The veterinarian was very hesitant to do it, because the first one--done at a different vet in another state--was not done correctly, so my cat Kahlua was still limping slightly and had some arthritis beginning to form. I was absolutely irate at hearing this news, because the vet that I paid almost $3,000 for an FHO not only didn't do it correctly, but made promises to me (no pain, limping, arthritis, etc.) that obviously did not stand true.

The 2nd FHO went absolutely wonderful--and only cost about $600. They stapled a pain patch to his back leg, which Kahlua proceeded to rip out (ouch) despite my every effort to stop him. I kept up on the pain medicine, allowed him to rest and heal on his own time. Kahlua is doing absolutely wonderful, and I am so happy that I went ahead and got the 2nd FHO.

Alison said...

2 hrs before flying out to a funeral, our 11 month old kitty 'Poosie' slowly made his way up the garden....apparently hit by a car during night. We rushed him to vet, who put him in oxygen tank, he then immediately had 3-4hr surgery (2 vets/2 nurses) to put humpty together again. The trauma was so great, his diaphragm had been totally ripped off his body. His intestines, kidneys - well pretty much everything were up on his lungs, and his liver was on top of his heart. He as been in the vets 5 days now, recovering well....due to pick up today. The vet has found today that he is limping, and an xray revealed he has a fracture to the tip of the femur head (the growth plate). I still get to bring him home...but SIX WEEKS cage rest! Been told I can let him out for 5 mins twice a on earth are we going to be able to hug and kiss him? I am pretty sure we are going to have one pee'd off kitty! It is apparently to stop him moving too much, because the muscle will keep pulling the loose bit away from the head, so preventing it knitting together. If that doesnt work, then he will have that piece removed! Apart from that - no broken bones....amazingly lucky cat to have survived all that! Has anyone else had to confine for this long - and did you give physio?

pb444 said...


So sorry to hear about the trauma your kitty has experienced. It's very difficult as their humans to watch them suffer. My heart goes out to you.

As for your question, I have read hundreds of accounts detailing the recovery of cats who have had a femoral head ostectomy (FHO). There seem to be 2 schools of thought, both apparently viable. One school says, keep the animal's movements restricted for 2-6 weeks until the joint has time to heal. Some vets even prescribe a type of physical therapy for this recovery method. the other school seems to say let the animal do whatever activity they can, they are the best judges of what they can do.

My Bella would not have tolerated being caged, and fortunately for her her doctor recognized this and she is being allowed to undergo the mobile recovery method.

Apparently your doctor prefers the caged method. There may be other issues related to the additional surgeries that require that method. But in any case it doesn't really matter. Your animal is in the care of a vet who knows what is best for you and your animal in their specific condition. You should do whatever they say.

But a few weeks in a cage is really not that long. The important thing for you to remember is that it is a very long recovery period. You can expect 6-12 months to pass before your little one is "better". Be patient. Be glad they are still with you. Be sure to follow all your vets instructions and communicate any concerns you have. Poosie will likely recover fully and live a very long and happy life.

Please occasionally stop in and let us know how you are all faring. Best of luck!

Tania said...

Thanks, Jason, for a fantastic post!

What a huge comfort - and head's-up on what we're embarking on. Very similar story....2 year old, short-hair, FAT male, neutered young. Not entirely sure what caused the fracture - the vet didn't address that, perhaps because Pippin was nearly screaming in pain!

It'll be almost 2 weeks between the initial injury and the surgery, which makes me a little nervous...but we'll just have to trust everything will be ok.

Really appreciate the insight into the long recovery period and some odd things to watch out for!! My husband and I are traveling out of town (family wedding) 4 days after the procedure, and after reading this blog, we will definitely have a cat-canny person watching the fat furry one!

One thing that another person noted, and I've got to say was helpful - shop around for a vet!! Most in my area (Twin Cities, MN) use rotating orthopedic surgeons and don't do the procedure themselves - which hikes the procedure cost immensely. Most vets in my area quoted $1200-1800...which we're financially not positioned for, and caused some panic! My vet recommended shopping around, and after looking in an outlying suburb, we found a clinic who quoted $450.

Surgery on Monday, and just praying that everything goes well!! It's so heartbreaking to watch Pippin walk...and such a love, he still makes the painful trip up and down the flight of stairs to just be in the same room as us.

Thank you all for the comments, suggestions, and your experiences!

pb444 said...


It was 2 weeks between the initial injury and Bella's surgery, as well. The vet didn't seem concerned, but I was...turns out he was right...duh!

Yes, $1500 is common cost, we got our vet to do it for $450 also.

No matter how terrible it looks, remember after surgery that at least Pippin won't be in pain any longer! (well...the first few days are rough. He'll want a nice, safe hidey hole).

Best wishes.

Jacqui said...

RE: Cost of an FHO

I am amazed to hear of these high costs. When Sooty broke her hip we were living in Hong Kong. The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) did the operation for HK$3000. They did a perfect job.
I know I would have paid anything for them to fix my little kitty had they asked but still it does sound like a good idea to shop around. One thing though, as getting the cheapest in life isn't always getting the best, it could be worth talking to the vet before hand and expressing your concerns about exactly what he/she will be doing as part of the surgery.

Anonymous said...

Kali's case seems to be a little different from the others posts. She is 8 years old, female, 8 1/2 lbs with apparent dysplasia. Drugs and FHO have been presented as options. Hard to say her pain, but the she's unsteady on her feet and watching drag her right foot down thee stairs kills me.
My concern is that today we find the "perfect" drug for her. What about 5 years later when her body has adapted or the progressive disease has her in painhat can't be managed. Why not do the FHO while she's relatively healthy and strong? But I'd feel terrible if I did the FHO and she ended up worse off. If she can never jump onto the table again I don't care. I just want her pain-free.
I live in Ontario - has anyone done FHO at Guelph?
All comments/advice welcome!

pb444 said...


Kali sounds like she is in good hands.

There is a lot of information out there on FHO surgery in cats that suggests full recovery with the development of a "false joint" from fibrous tissue which fills in the space where the head of the femur used to be.

I can tell you from my experience that the "full recovery" period seems to take a while. My Bella is 7 yrs. I think it is faster in kittens who have still active growth plates. Bella used to be an amazing jumper. She could easily lea over a 7' fence with only a light touch at the top. It has been 7 weeks since her surgery. Now she can make several consecutive 4' jumps to reach counter/table tops and perches.

One thing that is certain, however, is that IMMEDIATELY following her recuperation from surgery (3 days), she has been pain free. So, while she still hobbles around, she seems to get on fine. In fact, she doesn't seem to even notice that she can't so things she used to. She just does what she can do, and is happy.

Kali doesn't seem too old, or to heavy to respond well to the surgery. Drug therapy will manage the pain, but the surgery will eliminate it.

I don't know anything about Canada veterinary practices, but the surgery is performed all over the world for between $500 and $1500 US.

Best of luck! Keep us posted ;)

Julie said...

It is just over 6 months since The Count had his FHO and I am amazed at his recovery. His fur has grown back completely, he regularly flies around the house -- up three flights of stairs in an instant, and regularly performs acrobatic feats. You would never know that he had ever broken anything. He's a no-fear, where's the highest spot in the room, and how fast can I get up there so that I can flop around in the most self-satisfied way sort of cat. (i.e. completely normal and awesome)

We paid around $1800 to have the surgery done at a specialty clinic. We were fortunate to have the disposable savings to pay it. (Our regular vet does not do surgeries.) At the time, The Count was 7 months old (we'd adopted him a week and a half before he broke his leg). Given that we also have a 19 year old cat -- and my mom has a 24(!) year old cat -- I think of 8 as being rather young. So while Count's recovery may have been partially a product of his age, I can't help but think that an 8 year old would benefit from having the surgery.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Julie!
I guess I'm stressed because unlike everyone else whose cats had broken bones and NEEDED the FHO, it's my choice to make. And of course I'm afraid of making the wrong one.
Kali used to be such a crazy, active cat (we call her Monster), and now she just sits. She's not herself because of the pain. I think it would be worth the money to me to make her pain go away forever.
Has anyone had a cat who was furious after the surgery?

Kika said...

Stumbled upon this post like, I assume, everyone else.

My cat Rigby had the FHO surgery about 4 months ago and had been doing really well. Now tonight, something scared him and he jumped into the air. When he landed, he cried and started limping again. I of course freaked out and called the specialty animal hospital where he had his surgery (VCA in West LA, California) however the orthopedic specialist was not in, so I have to wait till tomorrow to hear back from her.

I'm surprised at the prices I have read - most of the surgeries costing around $1500. Rigby's total vet bills have come to almost $5000 for his surgery (including initial tests, hospital stay, surgery and medication). I am very worried that he has re-injured his leg and I will have to shell out more and more money. I guess living in LA I have to deal with the higher cost of veterinary care... but more than 3x as much?!

Has anyone had an experience like this (where their cat had the surgery and months later re-injured the same leg) and if so, what happened?

I would appreciate any help anyone could give me... I realize this thread is 4+ years old, but maybe some people are still paying attention to it. Thanks.

Jacqui said...

Hey Kika, don't worry. The cartilage has to fuse the hip bone onto the pelvis in the best possible position. When they are healing and not moving much the fuse begins to happen but as the joint becomes stronger and they go crazy, a little bit tears off where it shouldn't be and makes it painful for a while. This is actually a good thing though because it's making the sure cartilage forms the joint in the position which gives them the most movement. Sooty 're-hurt' herself at about 4 months, then again at about 7 months but each time she got better after a few days and is completely 100% healed now so try not to worry too much. I guess if it's still not looking good in 5-7 days then take your little kitty back to the vet but I suspect little Rigby will be fine. Good luck!!!

LynneB571 said...

My cat Tacitus got run over in May and had a broken femur on his left side (which has healed nicely after being pinned externally) and a dislocated hip on his right side. Since May the hip has dislocated a further 3 times, at first my vet relocated it, then he relocated it a second time and sutured. The sutures broke so he relocated it a 3rd time and put a toggle in the joint to hold it in place. Now it looks like the toggle has failed and the only option left is this FHO surgery. Tas is due to have surgery in the next 2 weeks, so I was very encouraged to read about all your cats making such good recoveries.

K. J. McDonnell said...

Hi Jason,

Thanks for the great description of Micio's FHO and recovery. I just took my year old kitten, Percy, to the ER this morning, and he has now joined the throng of FHO kitties.

It was reassuring to see how well your boy did, and that Byco was such an excellent therapist.


Halogengirlie said...

Well... our kitty Jaxx will go under the knife again in a couple weeks. Siigh... I waited awhile after getting the first leg done to do the other one since it is such a rough recovery. But I think I've waited long enough. I really do dread it though, despite how fantastic it is once the joint is recovered!

Pollyanna said...

It was very enlightening to read all the posts about FHO. My Burmese, Harry was hit by a car but excaped with bruising. Bloe me if the silly thing didn't get hit again 6 days later. This time dislocated hip. The vet put a stitch in and all seemed to be going well till about 6 weeks after surgery (costing £600) when, if he stretched, it dislocated again. Back to the vet;she told me off as if it was MY fault. Cheek! She said he had to have another stitch put in (£500) and cage rest for2 weeks then one room etc.. Went to have stitches taken out; he had been in the cage the whole time. Leg really lame. Yes, you got it, still dislocated. This time,FHO, (£450). Why she didn't do this the second time I do notknow. Having read all the posts I am going to have it out with her. It's a rip off! Poor little mite has had to undergo 3 anaesthetics in as many months. He now has an aneasthetic cough as well and is feeling very sorry for himself.
They put a collar/funnel on whhich he had off in about five minutes. They told me it cam e off because he didn't have e normal collar on. The precise reason being that he hates them. Tried one as a kitten, he would roll around all the time trying to get it off. I hope this op works as I would hate him to have to undergo even more surgery.
Thanks, guys, for all your input to this site.

LynneB571 said...

Tacitus is booked in for his FHO on Friday (10th Sept), this will be the 4th time the vet has tried to fix his dislocated hip, he is also having the metal pin removed from his left femur which has healed better than the vet expected it to. I'll let you know how we get on...... total cost so far is now getting on for £3,000!!!!!!
Luckily he is a very determined cat.... he managed to climb the tree in the garden last weekend (whilst dislocated) so I have high hopes for his recovery.

LynneB571 said...

Tas had his FHO on Friday, if the vet hadn't shaved his fur that side you would not know he had the operation. He has been walking round the house fully weight bearing on that leg and has even managed the stairs and to crampon up onto the bed and other furniture. He needs to be kept under house arrest for the time being as his broken side needs more time to heal properly before he goes out climbing and stuff, but I think he is going to make a full recovery.... its been a very long 5 months since he got run over and I am very happy that he is going to be OK, even if I am totally broke:o)

Pollyanna said...

I bought a dog cage too for Harry. He hated it and cried (loudly) and wailed to be let out. He hates having a litter tray and would cry a lot until he realised that he HAD to use it! I was quite distraught at having to watch and listen to him. At night my husband would put him in a cage in my bedroom so that I could speak to him to soothe him. I have Motor Neurone disease and am unable to pick him up. If he was put on my lap for a cuddle, I would panic if he tried to get down in case he jumped and hurt himself.
After his last op where the vet took off the femoral head he did not have to go in the cage but had the cone. we left it off and he DID bite at his stitches but did not appear to come to any harm. I would just leave yours if he/she bites them; I'm sure it will be fine.
Harry didn't eat for a week and was really poorly.
It is now over a month since the op and he is very fed up. I have noticed that he has chewed his claws quite badly making them all ragged. Being a Burmede he is very sensitive. He has become very clingy, sleeps in my bed every night and jumps on my lap whenever he can, even when I'm on the toilet!
Only 11 days to go before he can go outside; I can't wait, nor can he. He doersn't even try to run outside when the door is opened now. He looks whistfully out of the window. I am SO looking forward to 18th October!He is still limping but improving daily. He even managed to launch himself onto my lap from the stairs whilst I was travelling down on the stairlift today!
I am £1500 worse off but, hopefully, this will have worked and I will have my old Harry back; broken but not defeated.

CJBP said...

Hi Everybody,

Wow, been reading some of the comments here about vets blaming owners for dislocations, etc. and charging an arm and a leg (excuse the slight pun)for the privilege.

I have been very fortunate with mine who by comparison must be a saint.

Biscuit, my big ginger tom was clobbered by a car on a Thursday evening about 9 weeks ago. He suffered multiple injuries including a broken pelvis, dislocated hip and vertebrae.

He survived the night and was discovered the next morning by a kindly neighbour dragging himself home. Whereupon, she rushed him off to our local vet.

Long story short (if Jason will permit, you can read the whole story and Biscuit's progress at, hospitalisation, medication, x-rays and two operations (the second having been done at cost)have run up a bill of around £3,100.

This past Tuesday, Biscuit underwent FHO surgery (his third and hopefully last operation) and last night returned home.

After the surgery to repair his broken pelvis, I was instructed to keep him cage confined for several weeks and he absolutely hated it.

By contrast, this time I have been told to keep him quiet for a few days, but to allow him to keep moving around as this will help maintain mobility in his rear leg as he recovers.

When I asked the vet how much the FHO surgery would cost, he replied that for the love of Biscuit they would do the surgery for free. He has been through a lot and everybody at the veterinary hospital has grown very fond of him.

I should add that he isn't being expected to wear a cone (he'd have that off in a second anyway)and will as he did with some of his previous stitches, start chewing on them. He actually managed to tear some out, but the surgical wounds healed just fine.

Elaine said...

This is very nice, finding this long-lasting conversation on a topic I suddenly need to find out about! In spite of many years of experience with cats, I had never heard of FHO until my rescue group took on a cat who needs one.

We aren't sure, but she may have been hit by a car. Her left femur is badly broken, and the hip socked on the right is cracked. That's the side where they are doing the FHO. The femur will be wired and/or screwed to hold the bone ends against each other so they can knit.

Coincidentally, Diana is also a longhaired cat. Interestingly, the surgeon told me that if the FHO were the only problem, they would encourage her to run around normally when she's home from the hospital. But the fractured femur needs to rest for a while, so they did tell me we will be doing kitty PT for a while when she comes home.

Thank you, Jason, for this ongoing disscussion!


Pollyanna said...


Harry has been allowed to go out for a month next Monday. He is still limping but manages to run around and jump up so he must be gettibng there. The vet didn't want him to go out and asked me if I wouldn't be worried. I told her that he had managed to get run over with four perfectly healthy legs so what would be the problem.
He is much happier; very clingy though.Only ever goes out for about an hour. He probably thinks that we may run away whilst he is out after keeping him locked in for two months! Fingers crossed that he will eventually lose the limp!

pb444 said...

It has been 6 months since Bella surgery (see previous). Her false joint never formed, and as a result her leg sort of flops. It doesn't seem to hinder her in anyway. She uses it for balance, and can put weight on it. She can't jump like she used to (but she really was an incredible jumper), so she has learned to take smaller hops to get to a high place. She can't run as fast as she used to, but still fast enough to catch birds and mice and other critters in the yard. She stays closer to home, and in the house more, but neither of those things bothers either of us very much. So, it is what it is.I would call this a "worst case" recovery scenario, and she's doing just great.

Lisa said...

I am so glad to have found this blog! I have 2 young males (16 months) who both have luxating patellas. I have had them for about 6 months and up until a few weeks ago, they didn't seem bothered by their knees. But recently one of our guys Barlow started limping a little and looking distressed. A visit to the vet and an xray revealed that he also has dysplasia in both hips-with one hip worse than the other. Our vet thought that FHO on the worse hip may be the way to go, but she recommended having him seen by an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation. That is where Barlow is today. I am hoping for good news. Since both boys (Bailey and Barlow) have the trick knees, I'm guessing that both also have the dysplastic hips (although Bailey doesn't seemed to be bothered by ANYTHING and runs and jumps anywhere he can!). I am sure that surgery will be recommended, I am just hoping that it will not need to be knee AND hip surgery, and that we won't have to go through this with both cats. Bailey and I are moping around the house today, waiting to hear what the verdict will be for our little Barlow. Will keep you all posted. I am so glad for this information-thank you everyone for posting!

Lisa said...

I am so glad to have found this blog! I have 2 young males (16 months) who both have luxating patellas. I have had them for about 6 months and up until a few weeks ago, they didn't seem bothered by their knees. But recently one of our guys Barlow started limping a little and looking distressed. A visit to the vet and an xray revealed that he also has dysplasia in both hips-with one hip worse than the other. Our vet thought that FHO on the worse hip may be the way to go, but she recommended having him seen by an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation. That is where Barlow is today. I am hoping for good news. Since both boys (Bailey and Barlow) have the trick knees, I'm guessing that both also have the dysplastic hips (although Bailey doesn't seemed to be bothered by ANYTHING and runs and jumps anywhere he can!). I am sure that surgery will be recommended, I am just hoping that it will not need to be knee AND hip surgery, and that we won't have to go through this with both cats. Bailey and I are moping around the house today, waiting to hear what the verdict will be for our little Barlow. Will keep you all posted. I am so glad for this information-thank you everyone for posting!

Lisa said...

The orthopedic surgeon is recommending FHO on both of Barlow's hips, but she is leaving it up to us whether we want them done at once or separately. She said both hips are already arthritic and without surgery he will continue to deteriorate-i.e. have more pain and lose mobility. She doesn't want to do anything with the luxating patellas yet-she said some cats do okay with repairing the knees and Barlow doesn't seem to have pain with the knees, just his hips. We're thinking about having both hips done at once to save $ and recovery time, but I am terrified for my little guy! He is such a sweet and gentle cat-I hope this is the best thing for him! It will be a challenge figuring out how to get him through recovery and keep him away from his crazy thrill-seeking brother Bailey. I will have to separate them in all liklihood, but I know that Bailey will have a tough time being alone during that time. Any advice on this? Thanks again for this blog! I knew what questions to ask when I talked to the surgeon today and feel like I understand the whole procedure a lot better after reading this!

LynneB571 said...

It is now 9 months since Tacitus got run over and he has made an amazing recovery. He is back to climbing the fences and trees and now has enough power in his back legs to jump up onto the furniture too. I got him a little companion in October, a 6 month old rescue kitten called Archimedes who has proved to be an excellent physiotherapist for Tas. They get on well and both are very happy and settled together. Tacitus broken femur has mended about 1" shorter than his other leg so he has the rolling gait of a sailor at the back end, otherwise you wouldn't know anything had happened to him.

Emilia said...

Hello, I originally read this blog back in Oct. '10 when our 1 year old female Siberian - Preciosa -was diagnosed with the need for and FHO becuase of a complete fracture in the head of her left femur. She had the surgery and recovered nicely. She by no means went to being the jumper/leaper she was before the injury but she regained most of her abilities. Her twin brother - Skitty - should get some credit for this.

Well, tonight around 7:30Pm she re-injured the leg again. I have no idea how she did it! We will see he vet in the AM for an evaluation meanwhile she is back in the crate and not happy at all. She is in pain and distress to say the least.

My question is. for those who have already have their surgery; have your cats have had a relapse like this? If the leg has been re-injured do they require surgery again?

I know this will depend on the nature of the injury... still would help to hear of the path other have taken.


Pollyanna said...

Harry has finally (almost) got rid of his limp. He seems to be getting back to his old self and not quite as clingy, though very vocal. I am in a wheelchair as I have Motor Neurone disease and he loves to jump on it if I vacate to go to the loo. Then, if he is picked up to be put elsewhere he squeaks. It's very funny. He never used to do this before. Maybe he's making the most of being papmpered!

Kori said...

My kitten Zooey is scheduled to have the same surgery tomorrow. My vet recommended this over putting in pins. I started Googling FHO surgery in cats and your link was near the top. I'm glad that your cat's surgery went well. I'm hoping for the same outcome. We already have another cat, Mouse, and Zooey is very active all by herself, so her physical therapy should go well. Thanks for your story!

corvidcrazy said...

Wow! This is the first site I visited regarding feline FHO. Great, by the way! I am in the process of helping friends that have a cat scheduled for the FHO procedure Wed. Hopefully, this will post and I will update. Thank you!!

corvidcrazy said...

I have done quite a bit of research on the FHO procedure for friends of mine. I first have to say many thanks to Jason for starting this blog! This is the "to go to" site for info for those going through the process with their cats. Young Hollister had her FHO surgery yesterday. She is a bit over a year old and part Siamese with an attitude! Her surgery could not have been done without the help of caring friends, non-profit organizations, and the hospital. Donations from the Foundation for Care of Indigent Animals, and Animal Welfare also referred them to Mira Mesa Animal Hospital for reduced cost for the surgery. Hollister came home with some stitches and sporting a fine E-collar. Twice she had the collar off with tie intact! She was grumpy and growled a few times, but after her scheduled dose of pain meds and antibiotics, settled down. Food and water were offered about 30 minutes after arriving home. She didn't want water, but ate a little canned food. Mike and Lisa (Hollister's owners)were advised by the Dr. to keep her strictly confined for 2-3 weeks if unattended (If that's even possible!!) The surgery was without complications except for a small piece of bone from the fracture that could not be found to remove. Hopefully it will absorb and not cause problems later. More later....Judi

Niamh said...

Thanks for all the comments. It's great to read through other people's experiences. Our cat, Murdoch was hit by a car last week and dislocated his hip. He had his FHO last week but has to have another surgery as our vet wants to remove more of the bone.

We took him home with us for the weekend and all he did was sleep. We couldn't get him to move much. I managed to get him up out of the bed by shaking his favourites treats and he did walk around a bit. He's eating but only a little bit and mainly if we hand-feed him chicken breast. It's horrible to see him lying there with all his fur shaved and big stitches. I'm hoping the surgery goes well today and we can take him home tonight. Our vet hasn't said anything about physical therapy but that's likely because he had to have the second surgery.

I'm so worried about him and the fact that it will take to long to recover. The vet said he is likely to always have a limp. i hate to think of my healthy,active cat not being the same again but as he was hit by a car it could have been a lot worse :(

Niamh said...

Also - am quite shocked at the costs of the surgeries that people have posted. Murdoch's surgery was $1400 NZD (we live in New Zealand) plus $500 NZD for the emergency vet visit and then all the extras on top of that. I'm expecting it to be $1500 - $3000 in total ($1500 NZD is about $1300 USD)

Luckily we have pet insurance which should cover it all, apart from our excess. I would pay anything to make him better but having the financial worry taken away is fantastic. A lot of my friends and colleagues have bought insurance since it happened, from our experiences. The vet was quite impressed that we had it. She said too often people put their cats down even though they can be cured because they simply can't afford it. I know money is tight for most people but that makes me so sad :(

Suzy said...

We adopted a feral kitten, and she must have taken a bad jump, as she had to have the FHO surgery. Our vet said she had hereditary narrow hip bones. Anyway, that was 2 months ago, and she isn't jumping at all or playing with the other cats. She walks mostly without a limp but mostly lays around. She is still somewhat scared of us, and I don't know how to help her progress with her rehabilitation. Btw, her surgery was only $600. The vet used to teach at the Vet school at the U of Florida. Guess we lucked out on that!!

pb444 said...


Be patient with your kitty's healing process. Don't even think about assessing how well it has progressed for 6 months, and mark the 1 yr date on your calendar, because that's when you can really expect to have the end result.

As long as she is getting a tiny, little bit better each day (and not worse) you are moving in the right direction. She has had a lot of things to adjust to lately, so just be patient with her and let her get comfortable.

If laying around for a while is all she think she's up to, then let her lay. She will recover in her own time. It's possible that she will not regain all her strength and agility, but it is VERY likely that she will recover enough to have a very good life.

Our Bella - see earlier posts - took 1 full year to heal, and even now she has a leg that sort of flops around at times. But she is able to jump (albeit not quite as high) and run and catch all sorts of critters and I consider her to be a "worst case" recovery. So, I am sure you can expect more from your little feline.

Just be patient with yourself, and with her.

Julie said...

It seems that there are different recovery times for different cats -- The Count* was back in top form within 6 months of his surgery, which was done when he was about 8 months old. Our vet tends to be anti- e-collar so we ditched it after the first few days and that helped his recovery. The collar was definitely causing him to be more hesitant than he wanted to be. Now, a year and a half after the surgery, he regularly jumps seven feet or so without ruffling a hair. The only hint of his injury is the position of the leg when he sits. But there appear to be other cats who take a bit longer. Perhaps Count's age or the fact that there were two other kittens in the house helped speed his recovery?

When Count was first injured, my husband was a bit reluctant to have the FHO surgery done. I was not and since I was the one at the Vet ER, I got the final vote. In retrospect, he agrees whole heartedly with the decision.

*Wackiness that there is another Julie out there who has a cat named The Count!

sarah said...


My male 1.5 yr old cat Biscuit needs FHO surgery. He has hip dysplaisa and two fractured plates. He has always been a very active kitty and I desperately want to fix him.

My surgeon quoted the cost at $2800 which I can no way afford. I am in school presently taking out loans to pay for all of it. Any suggestions on how to lower cost or get funding? I did start a website/blog with information and a way to donate but I don't really know what to do. Any ideas?

Thanks, Sarah

Penny said...

Hey Jason,

I live with my boyfriend and his cat got into a fight with a lampshade and dislocated his hip. Our vet did the FHO surgery this morning and I brought him home tonight. Since I took him out of the carrier he's been pacing around the livingroom. I set barriers because he kept running up and down the stairs. Is this normal? Everything I looked up says your cat should be almost immobile from pain, but Jake just wants to search the house or something. Should I put him in his carrier to confine him more? Or is this a good sign? Just wondering if you had any ideas.

mumzie62 said...

Hi there
Our cat Enzo was hit by a moped out the front of our house on Saturday night. (We always have him in before it gets dark but he slipped out when visitors left..naughty boy!)We live opposite a park and he thought it would be fun to see if I would chase him.The moped clipped his back leg as he was running across the road. He has a dislocated hip and FHO surgery is being performed on him today. Thank you so much for this thread has given us hope that our boy who was a present for my daughter who has ASD will be ok.
Waiting to hear from the vet as to how it all went is hard...but reading the comments of others has helped. Thanks to all who have posted. Will update on Enzo's progress.

Kim said...

Hi, What an amazing post, I have not found anything else that gives me the info I need on FHO surgery!!

I live in the UK and a week ago tomorrow, my cat Ronnie had FHO surgery. He is amazing walking, jumping on the bed and sofa within hours of coming home, and putting weight on his leg - very scary though!! We have tried to confine him as much as possible but he will not have it. Even though he is wearing the "collar of shame" he managed to remove his stitches within 48 hours the bottom of the wound gaped slightly and the vet said to keep his collar on. The vet also said that he must have been a very healthy and fit cat beforehand. I really dont know what the time scale is that I should adhere to for his recovery, one vet has even said that if he wants to go out then let him (he jumped a wall to get out of the garden on day 2!)others have said he should be cage rested. Help!!

He is a very determined cat, but I am also very determined that he WILL get better!! What am I doing wrong, or right for that matter? I do feel that there is not enough information/advice out there for owners.


Bex said...

oh where to begin its been a worrying 6 or 7 weeks with our cat Max!!! originally he went to the emergency vets after coming home late 1 night limping and bleeding from which we think was being hit by a car he has had to have his back leg pinned and plated it was in such a bad way, well yesterday i took him back to the vet for x-rays to see how he's healing only for them to find that he has a fracture in his hip and needs an fho :-( insurance ran out ages ago so now we are having to pay for his treatment (ouch!!!) but luckily the vets have said they can reduce the cost of his next surgery by half. I was worried about what would happen mobility wise and found this site and now feel much more reassured thank you

mumzie62 said...

Hi again
It has been 4 days since Enzo had his surgery and he is continuing to improve everyday. He came home with a pain patch on and "the cone of silence"(although it makes his purr and meows echo..LOL)The cone makes him walk in a very odd way though...he wobbles from side to side.We thought this may have been due to his surgery but took the cone off for him to eat his dinner one night and he walked normally..put the cone back on after he'd eaten and the wobbles started again.I think the cone affects his proliferal vision so he wobbles in order to see.He is very cuddly now and just wants to be close to us.(actually he's asleep in my linen cupboard as I type).Our vet told us to let him walk around indoors but try to stop him from jumping etc as the walking was the best way for joint mobility. Will update next week.

mumzie62 said...

It is now just over two weeks since Enzo had his FHO. The vet is amazed at his progress and said he should make a full recovery. He is still limping slightly but mostly after he's been lying down for any length of time.Trying to keep him from jumping up on things has been a nightmare! (one week post op and he jumped onto my kitchen bench and devoured my loaf of bread I had out to defrost!) This was of course after his "cone of silence" came off. His wound has healed nicely and he is definitely getting back to his old self.

Rizwana said...

Hi there,
I have a little kitten(June) who is only 5 months old.She had a very bad fall.As she fell late night , we took her to a vet in the morning and he said nothing serious. She was given usual dose of pain killers.She was limping badly but we thought it was because of the pain.After a 4-5 days it got worse, so we again visited the vet and he had an X-ray taken.
And found out it was femoral head fracture.We had never heard anything about it and are scared as the vet said it is a bit complicated as she is very young.
Plz plz can anyone advice , whether we should go ahead with the surgery? Is it risky for cats so young? Will she be permanently cured?
As I live in India , I am not sure about the kind of treatment here.Do you suggest anything to be asked to the vet.Reply awaited.

praline said...

Hi! We had a terrible accident with our 15 week old kitten today that led her to having this surgery today. I was up googling all night and wanted to thank you. Your photos and experiences will help me explain things with my 10 year old daughter.
Our Pet gate (AKA baby gate with cat door) fell on our sparta as my daughter was leaning over it. She is devastated over the entire accident as you can imagine. Sparta made it through surgery perfect and will be coming home in a few days. Your photos will help me show my daughter what to expect so she isn't shocked. We adopted two kittens, littermates so the physical therapy should be easy due to their playful nature. I was concerned about the 2 kittens being together due to healing but it seems her sister will help her recover. Thanks again!

praline said...

Hi! We had a terrible accident with our 15 week old kitten today that led her to having this surgery today. I was up googling all night and wanted to thank you. Your photos and experiences will help me explain things with my 10 year old daughter.
Our Pet gate (AKA baby gate with cat door) fell on our sparta as my daughter was leaning over it. She is devastated over the entire accident as you can imagine. Sparta made it through surgery perfect and will be coming home in a few days. Your photos will help me show my daughter what to expect so she isn't shocked. We adopted two kittens, littermates so the physical therapy should be easy due to their playful nature. I was concerned about the 2 kittens being together due to healing but it seems her sister will help her recover. Thanks again!

Sandra said...


Our 18 month old cat Baxter, a Maine Coon, had FHO surgery on Thursday, he is confined to a cage for 10 days, complete with "lampshade" on his head but seems to be doing great, eating as normal, the bad news is he has to go back for FHO surgery on the other leg in 2 weeks time :( have no idea how it has come to this, small limp 2 weeks ago that never got better has turned out to be this........2 hips both needing FHO

alison said...

Hi, Our Poosie-Pie had his op one year ago now. He has recovered well. He must have been hit by something and was in vet hosp for a week just before he was 1yr. After rearranging his organs he started to limp in recuperation. This was when it was dicovered his femoral head was cracked. The young vet said cage rest for a couple months to see if would knit. The crying was heartbreaking and we used to let him out. I spoke with the head vet who said unlikey and recommended ahead with FMO. Initially limped like crazy, but one year on, can only see the limp if he is going up the stair. He wraps his paws around every tree he can get them round and jumps the highest of fences. Only difference is he prefers to lie rather than sit and if sits, sits slightly to one side. So relieved to have our beloved kitty around, permanently kissed by 6 of us! And dont worry about the fur growing back, it grows back anyway, who cares if they look like they are wearing UGG boots for a while, they are gorgeous anyway!

Linda said...

My kitten Oliver just had the FHO surgery yesterday... Im really worried about him because he's only 5 months old. My boyfriend and I got him when he was 4 weeks old... we rescued him after someone left him and his two siblings in a shoe box outside of a pet store. The other morning he knocked over a vase in our room and my bf jumped out of bed to get it and tripped over Oliver. He was limping on his right rear leg for a few hours so we took him straight to the vet. Our vet doesn't have an x ray machine so he gave him a shot of anti inflammatory and pain meds and told us to take him for x rays if he was still limping in the morning. He was so we brought him to another vet. The xray showed that the head of the femur was completely broken off the bone! We got him the surgery the same day (it cost us about $1000, I don't know if thats very expensive because we also had him neutered at the same time). Im going to pick him up in a few hours and I don't know what to expect. Help... :(

alison said...


If you've time, read through some of the entries on this site, you will glean a little bit of information from all of them. If I remember, we were told not to let our fluffy boy jump around or go upstairs initially due to the anaesthetic and falling. Once over that tho, within a short time he was up and down the stairs and unlike pre-op where you have to cage them, my vet said let them take whatever exercise they want, as they now need to build muscle strength and in time their body will make a 'false-joint'. So long as you can stop him pulling at stitches, (mine did manage to pull 2!), he possible wont need a collar, just depends how he reacts to it (mine went bananas!). He will probably limp for up to a year, but mine had his done 13months ago now, and can hardly see the limp. I expect as he gets older, or when the weather gets cold, like any human, they will probably get stiff or achey. Keep his ped-meds going (I had metacam) - ibuprofen for cats! to keep swelling and pain down. Good luck.

PearsonGirl said...

This all began with our cat being bitten by a brown recluse spider. After 5 days of treatment for the terrible evening our little black cat - Miss Pickles - decided no more topical antibiotics for her. My husband held her down for me so that I could get the medicine on her. Between the two of them she twisted and turned and eventually won. When she jumped off the table she could no longer use the back right leg - we weren't sure if we had accidentally pulled it during the tussle or if she had hurt it jumping off the table.. Took her to the Vet - Xrays taken - poor Kitty has degenerative hip joint disease. We don't know how old she is as she is a resue. Vet could not tell us her age. With both hips being bad we felt FHO may not be the solution. We knew we could not take her home knowing the hip would be a constant source of pain without the FHO but the doctor could not assure us that the other leg would go soon as well. Not to mention the main factor that she kept getting terrible skin lesions that took 4 or more months to heal. In the end we put our poor kitty down. I am feeling terrible today second guessing my decision. On one hand I feel I did the right thing on the other hand I feel like we should have given the surgery a try. SAD in GEORGIA

Julie said...

It has been almost two years since The Count had his FHO after breaking his leg while jumping off of our bed. He was just short of 8 months when he had the surgery, which went well. For the first few weeks after the surgery we kept him in one room (and slept there on the floor to keep him company since we had adopted him a mere week and a half before he fell).

We were vigilant about doing the suggested exercises (do a search on this page for Jeremy aka jerjer's posts!) and keeping Count from jumping for the first few weeks. And within two months of the surgery, he was pretty much back to normal. Now, just short of two years later, there is no evidence of the surgery. (Really! When people ask which leg it is we have to try to remember which leg was shaved!) He's got a thin build which, perhaps, helps since there's not a lot of weight on the false joint... he's a tall, lanky cat who can easily jump 6 feet to my husband's shoulders from the floor. If there's a high spot in the room, Count will figure out how to get there.

For anyone who has a cat in need of an FHO reading through the above posts will be enormously helpful and reassuring. I am so happy we went ahead with the FHO rather than waiting to see if the break healed on its own.

alison said...

Pearson Girl, What a sad situation. I would have done EXACTLY the same thing. It sounds as tho your kitty probably had ongoing problems for a while that went undetected (cats are very resilient), probably hereditry. Not knowing the cats age and putting them out is dangerous. Also, with both hips, and the pain - cat would not have the greatest outlook. As previous post, I also believe that with injury sites such as FHO, as they get older and/or colder weather, they will really feel in in their bones much like a human. The decision you made for your cat was out of love, remember that. Hope that helps you some. Fond memories xxx Alison

Droidxusa1 said...

Hello Jason and all whom have had their experience with their beloved cat's THO.

Thanks Jason & everyone for sharing about FHO.

Our 6-month old Quad Polydactyl short haired tabby named Jackson Nathaniel, is scheduled for the FHO surgery on Wednesday October 7,2011

On Wednesday September 28, 2011 @ 10:30pm we came home to our 4 cats, Toby our 6.5yr old Maine Coon, Nicky our 6yr old tabby polydactyl, Skylar our 2yr old female tabby, and our newest family member quad polydactyl 6month old Jackson yes this lil guy is different from his older sibling Nicky who only has the extra toes on his front paws, Jackson has the extra toes on all 4 paws.

When we walked in we were greeted by all except Jackson, we found him hiding under loveseat. When Allie got him out he screamed /owner howled in pain.

Allie's uncle is a Vet, we called him at home he said take Jackson to 24hr clinic for immediate care, and call him after this.

Well the xray showed Jackson had broke the round ball off his femor, the ball was still in socket of hip joint.

We were traumatized after hearing from clinic vet, that Jackson should have surgery ( FHO ) thanks to Allie's uncle Dr Rob, he referred us to a colleague /friend who is a Orthopedic Veterinary surgeon, this surgeon is willing to help us with Jackson's surgery, and do a payments as Allie is disabled and I'm currently unemployed. Orthodox surgeon is only charging us $1000 for Jacksons FHO.

Thanks to our Creator for small miracles ie Jackson & our luck / help finding Dr W. ( Jacksons ) Otho-Surgeon.

So will post an update after Jackson's surgery which is scheduled for Wednesday 6pm October 7, 2011

Thanks again Jason & fellow FHO cat familys.
Joe & Allie,
aka droidxusa.

Droidxusa1 said...

Jason, just wanted to share with everyone a clever way to prevent your cat licking or biting their stitches.

Just take a fairly thick towel cut out leg holes, cut a v in rear to allow your pet to still be able to use litter box. When you layout the towel to mark where you'll cut out leg holes, you'll also cut slashes along the sides these cut portions will be tied once you wrap your cat.

I'm not very good with computer or my dumbphone, but I'll try to post a pic or link showing how to make a cat wrap.

This is a great alternative to the head cones!

Peace Joe & Allie .

Connie said...

My orange tabby Ben had FHO surgery 14 years ago! He was 1.5 years old and from what I am reading this seems to be the most common age, and I'm thinking the growth plate is the problem. Ben had a great recovery and did so well all these years but last week made a bad jump and after x-rays the vet said the femur broke through the scar tissue and is now out of place. Ben is limping horribily. My vet said she has never seen this happen and does not know what to do. I am going to make a 4 hour drive to a specialist this week to see what we can do. He is 15.5 yr with early renal disease, so I am trying to keep my hopes up that something can be done. It would break my heart to have to put him down. Has anyone ever experienced this or know of it?

Kimmo said...

My cat Stella just had this surgery and I cannot tell all of you how much it helps to hear others stories about going through this same thing. She is doing well, my only question is about the Physical Therapy my vet said to do with the cat. We have only had her for about 4 months, we adopted her, and then she had the accident and needed surgery. So now I am trying to do the Therapy, which she greatly dislikes, and I feel like it is really making her distrust me before we have had a very long time to bond. She now is very wary of me petting her and runs away from me when she never did before. Im being as kind and gentle as I can, and I realize that the therapy is what she needs, but does anyone have a suggestion to make it go more smoothly? Or did anyone else experience something like this? I really want her to trust me and come to cuddle like she did before all this happened. Suggestions? Thank you all so much.

Fawn said...

This page has given me such hope and info. I have an orange 20 lb 1.5 yr old maine coon "Whiskers" who took a flying leap midway down off our steps ad landed in the hamper which has a metal rim. After calling him and him not coming, We found him inside the hamper downstairs and came to that concl. Well a few weeks later, he began growling every time we'd hold him or touch his back side. We took him to the ER and they said he was just fat and needed to lose weight. After 2 more weeks and no change except our growing fears, we took him for xrays and this new doc said he fractured BOTH hips and showed us the xray. I cried for weeks after. During those 2 weeks, we got 2 more doc opinions and have an FHO surgery scheduled for this Tuesday morning. They said they will most likely have him back by Friday, the day before Cmas Eve. They are doing the worst one first saying he may not need the other after. But to me that's like when i broke my ankle. If I broke both and they only fixed 1 thinking the other would automatically be better since ONE works, it's assinine. Anyway, I am so scared he won't heal well or even over a yr as he is so fat. We started cutting his food back after the 1st er visit. Stopped moist food only dry and indoor brand. No weight loss. He can't walk far or stand long. My 2nd cat is 7 and is only 15 lbs and tries playing with "Wuti" (pet name...pun intended lol) and Wuti moves his upper half but doesn't get up to chase him like he used to. I'm terrified he won't ever heal right because of the excess weight. Don't have aclue how to lose it without being able to exercise now or after surgery. All I do is cry. He will be 2 in March. He's just a baby and has his whole life ahead of him. Never did we expect this and I kept thin king Wuti was one in a million. It's much more prevalent than I thought, which in a morbid way brings me relief. I am so sorry for everyone's kitties but I am glad so many if not all came out and are still going today. Any advice on after surgery exercise would be greatly appreciated!!!! His food rations can't be cut down anymore or he will starve. I'm so upset...i know how he feels...i too am overweight. But my ankle was plated and screwed last yr and i can exercise....he can't :o*( I have pics on myspace of his xray. Look up my name is Stefania 'Fawn' Mukerjee. TY everyone for your stories. It helps so much to know Whiskers and I are not alone!

pb444 said...


First of all...sorry to hear about your coonie. We love ours. They are a very special breed. 20 pounds is not all that very fat for a male maine coon, AND they don't usually come into their full size until about much of it is still baby fat waiting for the rest of his body to catch up. You can expect a male maine coon to be VERY large.

Also, it is the dry food fillers (like corn meal) that keep your cat fat. Wet food of a high quality is good. But whatever you feed him make sure it has the highest protein content and lowest filler content you can find. Cats do best on an all protein diet.

Finally, at 1.5 yrs you can expect Whiskers to FULLY recover from surgery fully, even if you have both hips done. Once he's had the surgery, you can expect that he will feel better immediately, as he will no longer be in pain. In only a few days he will be able to bear weight and move around. Follow your doctor's suggestion for post operative care, as he knows best.

Good luck! you are not alone.

Unknown said...

Hi Jason,

I have a a lil guy(Duling) that has to get the FHO surgery on Monday and have been a bit freaked out about it though after reading your story I feel much better. I'm a lil worried about the confinement part we have another guy and they love to play prolly a bit too rough together so lets keep our fingers crossed. Again Thanks for Micio's story it really made me feel better about this.

Bwhitney said...

Hi Jason,
Our cat Pippy just had the FHO surgery a couple of weeks ago. She seemed very depressed for about a week and a half but is slowly getting back to her normal, social and playful (albeit limited) self. However, we've noticed a huge change in her eating habits in that she has lost nearly 3 pounds and we have to almost force feed her to get her to eat much. Did you experience this with your Micio? Has anyone else had a similar experience? Just curious. Thanks,

CallMeNan said...


My cat Pearl loves to lounge on the window ledge. Tonight she fell from the ledge. I took her to ER in which they did x-ray, and discovered she had a left femoral head and neck ostectomy fracture. My heart just drop. I try my best to give Pearl the best care, like (Wellness Plan)preventive medicine, but this really blind side me. X-ray and pain medication $384.00. My plan does not cover Pearl surgery. They quote me
$2,000. Yes this will take a toll pocket wise, but My Pearl must have her surgery. If someone have pet insurance please inform me of the best type, and that cover more than wellness, but all type of care. I truly don’t want to be blind side by cost again.

CallMeNan said...

I just want to update everyone on Pearl. She got her surgery today. I did find a vet who would do the surgery at half the cost, which I was quote. Thank everyone for a listening ear, and support. What we do for our love ones.

Josephine said...

Hi mt little cat Marley had his hip popped out on May 5 and they tried to put it back but couldn't. Tuesday he was rechected at our regular vets and it was out again. He stayed to have the surgery on the wednesday. He had meds until wednesday and seems to be doing great. However the past day he's lethargic being away for our other cats we have 4. The vet doesn't want him to come back yet at least until May 28. His appetite is not a good as it used to be but he is eating. If he doesn't I feed him by hand.I was so glad to see this bog as I had no idea what he would look like or anything. It was all very helpful.

Armide said...

Hi All,

Thanks to Jason for putting up this post so long ago, and letting it have a life of it's own as people all over the world share their babies' experiences with FHO. I spent from 2AM to 11AM between a Vet ER and a Specialty Hospital today to find out that my almost 2yr male domestic longhair needs a FHO on his right side. I have no idea how he fractured it, as I was home with him the entire time, but suddenly he ran out of my bedroom limping and crying out in pain. $600 in ER visits, xrays, and orthopedic specialists later, and I'm looking at an additional $2000+ surgery. We live in Los Angeles and will definitely be shopping around, but it's very hard to see my Momo in pain. At least I bought enough pain relief from the ER for him for a few days. Now, about 14hrs after the incident, he isn't eating much but just hobbling around and resting.

Question: Did anyone look into financial assistance and was awarded some? I am a very low income (like, below the poverty line) but receive no financial government assistance (we've been toughing it thru). Does anyone have fundraising tips? Sarah, I like your tumblr idea.

In the beginning I had to seriously think about my situation and the unthinkable, but after hours and hours with Momo, it's a no brainer: I'll do whatever it takes to keep him alive and ensure his recovery.

Thank you all for sharing your stories. Scary that it's a trend among young male cats...

K. J. McDonnell said...

Armide -

My cat, Percy, had his FHO surgery at ASEC on Sepulveda, and it was $1200-1400. If that's not where Momo was seen, you might want to call.


Armide said...

Kathy, I didn't expect a response so soon! Thank you for your kind recommendation. I was able to find a vet hospital network that offers low cost procedures at La Habra Animal Hospital. The total cost was just under $1200. Of course, that is not including the cost of a Sunday morning ER visit, etc. Momo is home now with me no worse for wear. He's limping around but seems happy to be home, as I certainly am.

Because of the price I had to pay upfront and max out a credit card and almost another. My friends have been supportive and offered to do fundraising on facebook (I don't have an account).

Again, this blog is a great resource for persons taken by surprise of a FHO needed on their beloved friend. Everyone seems to have had happy endings, and I'm looking forwards to Momo's too! :3

capn said...

Thanks for this blog and all the good stories.

My 18 month old, 15 1/2 pound male Siamese just had this surgery today. I let him outside for an hour and he came limping home in obvious pain. It was clean fracture between the femur and ball head. No idea how it happened but I don't think it was a car. he only goes outside once a week.

Surgery went fine and the vet said to keep him confined to a room away from my other two cats until the stitches come out in a couple weeks. But he wants him walking and using the leg in 24-48 hours and daily thereafter. Pain meds to be applied with a syringe (no needle) on his gums 2x a day.

I'm hoping he recovers quickly. The hard part so far is trying to keep the collar on him, he's ripped it off every time.

FWIW, the cost including the initial visit and xrays was $2200, in Sacramento, CA.

MKS said...

Yesterday, I found a very ill stray cat lying around my apartment complex. I rushed him to the local animal hospital. The Vet said this stray cat probably got ran over by the car and has got a broken pelvis. (X-Ray confirmed it)

He recommended me to a specialist and have surgery to pins and plates put in place to help with the healing.

I emailed couple specialists, only one got back to me with quote $2200 for FHO surgery and possible SI luxation addressed addition $800. SI Luxation addressed is only reason I want to see this specialist. You can read more about SI Luxation here

I started a fundraising at my work place, and hopefully I can collect half the money and I'll put up another half.

As for the cat insurances,
I own 2 cats, both of them are insured with
I filed 2 claims in the past, fast claim, and no problem at all.

Anonymous said...

My 2.5 year old silver tabby had this operation approx 2 weeks ago, after coming home one morning with a limp. Like most of you, the initial vet response was a watching brief, so it ended up being a good 2-3 week gap between the limping starting and the op.
Starbuck has been confined to a cage for the 2 weeks (plus one week before the op but after diagnosis). If you are in the UK, Argos do a great large dog cage for about £35, and this has worked very well.
Tomorrow she will be allowed to roam the lounge at will (very exciting!), and this time next week she is to be allowed to roam the whole house. Like several of you, we have more than one cat, and we were advised to confine Starbuck to prevent chasing and consequent damage.
Cats are more adaptable than you might think - I never thought starbuck would cope with the cage, but although she complains a lot in the morning when I come downstairs, she's asleep 80% of the time!
thanks again to Jason for allowing this to run on his blog, it really does help.

Starbuck ended up going to Davies Vet Specialists for the surgery (recommended by our "GP" vet), and it cost around £2.4k. That's the UK for you!

DanDan Hayles said...

Good morning,

I have a 17 lb. short-haired Tuxedo named Maximilian. He's a big guy, healthy (or so I thought). I got him from the SPCA when they were having free adoptions. My other cat Sebastian had died from cancer and I didn't want to leave my other cat Sophie alone all day.

About two weeks ago, while sitting at the table, I noticed Max trembling on the floor. I got up and took him to the vet. That's when I saw his x-rays. The vet suggested the FHO. The price was $750.00, which was way too steep for me. She gave me the number to the veterinarian school at UCD. The vet sent Max home with Tramamdol.

I didn't like giving him the pain meds because I didn't want him to have a false sense of security (which I think happened anyway)in that he would behave normally and possibly worsen his condition.

Well, the school scheduled his surgery about two weeks out from his original diagnosis. NOW, after having to up his Tramadol dosage, he is limping worse.

Do you know how long he can bear that pain before he has surgery? We have a week and a day to go from today, Wednesday, March 26, 2013.

Thank you for your blog. I really appreciate the information here. I don't want my baby to hurt.

pb444 said...

Dan, I am very sorry to hear about Tuxedo. It's always difficult to see our babies hurting.

You haven't given us a lot of information here. How old is Tuxedo? Do you keep him confined?

I guess that would be my suggestion. 8 more days seems like a long time. I don't know if I could stand But if I HAD to, I would put my baby on enough drugs to keep them completely sleeping comfortably all the time, and then I would put him in a cage (one of those 3x3x3 ones) to keep him from getting over-confident or doing something to hurt himself, until it was time to have the surgery.

Best wishes. Please keep us posted.

pb444 said...

Dan, I am very sorry to hear about Tuxedo. It's always difficult to see our babies hurting.

You haven't given us a lot of information here. How old is Tuxedo? Do you keep him confined?

I guess that would be my suggestion. 8 more days seems like a long time. I don't know if I could stand But if I HAD to, I would put my baby on enough drugs to keep them completely sleeping comfortably all the time, and then I would put him in a cage (one of those 3x3x3 ones) to keep him from getting over-confident or doing something to hurt himself, until it was time to have the surgery.

Best wishes. Please keep us posted.

capn said...

Dan, by UCD I assume you mean UC Davis? If so try some of the other pet locations in Placer, Sacramento and El Dorado county. Fieldhaven cat rescue in Lincoln may be able to help. Auburn has an animal shelter that may be able to do the surgery cheaply. Check with local vets who may work with you on financing and scheduling. I'd be concerned about the cat continuing to eat and drink after being on the medication for so long. Good luck, hope something works out.

capn said...

An update on my Siamese cat that had FHO surgery last October. He was mostly recovered and getting around normally although he never seemed to regain enough strength in the leg to jump. This morning I found him limping and unable to put any weight on the other leg. A visit to the emergency clinic and xrays confirmed his other femoral head was badly deteriorated. The vet said this appeared to be Leggs Perthes disease where the femoral head doesn't get adequate blood flow and deteriorates over time. Most likely the cause of the first break too. This is rare in cats and more rare to affect both legs but it appears he is going to need a second FHO surgery in the next day or two. He's on pain medication and comfortable now. Bad luck for him but he's only 2 and hopefully should fully recover.

Joey420 said...

Come to Vancouver B.C .. My 1yr old grey short hair kitty "Boots" just underwent this fho surgery and a neuter
For $400 + tax . Which was a relief since the first vet wanted $2600

Brittany said...

Hello! My name is Brittany, and I have a 2 year old Norweigan named Elmo who had FHO surgery back in January. He fell while playing, and never stood back up, resulting in the surgery. He's had a very hard time with the healing process, and I feel things may be going downhill for us.
Has anyone had issues with the cats good hip after FHO surgery? Elmo was jumping on small things, sitting sort of normal and walking pretty well. Wasnt too willing to run at all. We have a 3 year old Russian Blue who likes to try to get him to play like he used to. All of a sudden Elmo wont sit on his butt at all, he's stopped jumping on things and has turned standing up from any position a seriously awkward thing. He cries, flips over backwards sometimes.
Any ideas would be appreciated. Considered asking the docs if he could take some sort of pain meds, but the last made him very jumpy and he tried to squish himself under the couch right after surgery. :(

pb444 said...

Hi Brittney,

Even in his lame condition your little Elmo sounds adorable. I'm sorry to hear he is having trouble. Many people here have reported that the other hip also failed. (See "capn"s post just a couple up from yours). It's possible that Elmo could have some sort of a degenerative condition that caused the first one to break. In any case, take him back to your vet. You can't have your little one rolling around on the floor not able to stand up properly! Both legs can have the FHO treatment successfully; especially if he is still young. Good luck!

nolan said...

I have a Maine Coon that just turned two years old that started limp one day. Took him to the vet and we discovered his hip was broken and we required FHO. This cat has had previous surgery and ripped out his stitches 3 times so we knew we were in for good times. We are on day 9 post surgery and he did get his stitches even though we had bandaids over the stitches, a shirt on and his cone on. Luckily he didn't spilt the cut so we are still hanging on. To those that are having the same issues, I have discovered a baby onesie works quite nice. I went to a thrift shop and bought an 18 month diaper vest, cut off the arms and diaper pinned where needed for his left side. This has kept him off his stitches. So we only need to make it Sunday with the cone! After lots of research I'm not understanding the difference in vets for recuperating. Some vets say kennel confinement and others allow the cat free rein. My cat is obviously feeling better now as he was trying to play with a ball this morning. So we are kenneling at night and only allowing him out directly supervised. I'm thinking now that we are hitting day 10 on Sunday I might give him more freedom. The problem is now that he is feeling better he is trying to jump on things, use the cat scratcher and play. I cant watch him constantly so I fear he'll hurt himself. Any suggestions? To kennel or confine or give him free rein? Vet said 3 weeks confinement. I was just trying to get through the stitches first. Now what??

capn said...

Nolan, All the vets I spoke with (3) and both of the surgeons that did my Siamese's FHO surgeries, said to have him up and around within 48 hours. Their explanation is that it accomplishes 2 things, strengthens the leg muscles which are going to work harder to stabilize the leg from now on and it helps to start forming the scar tissue at the top of the femur that acts as a cushion between the femur and pelvis. Once the stitches are out and the risk of opening the wound has passed, there shouldn't be much risk of them hurting anything.

It's been 8 weeks since my cat had his second FHO surgery and for the last 2-3 weeks he's been able to jump very well and I often find him sitting on top of the cat tree that is almost 5 feet high. He can jump about 3 feet clear at this point which may be all he ever does but he is 15 lbs and never was very agile. He was doing a little awkward gallop within two weeks after the surgery but runs now with just the slightest limp.

Good luck, Maine Coons are very beautiful cats. Thanks for the tips on covering up the stitches, that was a challenge for me too.

devonrie said...

I am so glad to hear everyone's stories about their kitties and their recoveries.

I have a 1 yr old tabby named London who is a tad over weight and some how manager to injure his right back leg. The first vet I met with suggested the FMO surgery. This of course scared the hell out of me. Since it just seemed to drastic and intense for my little baby. While waiting to see if his new pain medicines improved his condition I decided to get a seconded opinion.

The next vet I went to see (more expensive than the first) said basically the same thing after seeing the x-rays. That the FMO surgery was the best solution from his pain. But then some inconsistencies were noticed between the x-rays. So now it appears that the neck on both of his femurs are deteriorating.

Currently, my vet is seeking advice from and orthopedic veterinarian surgeon to make sure a double FMO is the best solution.

Capn, I hope my cat does as well as yours seems to be doing with having both done!

Thanks Jason for the great blog!

nolan said...

We are in week 3 of recuperating from FHO. Stitches are out and everyday he feels better. He is starting to jump more and play so that's a good thing. Still a little limp going but pain wise all good. My vet did mention his other hip looked weak. When I asked if we could do the both sides at once he thought that wasn't the best solution. From my research I have done it's better for them to do the operations on separate times for better recovery. So I'm praying we have a little time before we need to look at the other side. It would seem like a better plan to get it overwith at once but my vet wasnt supportive of that. Do your homework and get other opinions if you need.

Ken Bryant said...

What a wonderful discussion, six years' worth!

My Balinese (long hair, male, neutered, 2 yrs old, 16 lbs) gets his stitches out tomorrow from FHO (the few stitches he hasn't already pulled out). He wears a cone, but has gotten really good at pulling it off. He had a pain-killer for the first few days (the one Michael Jackson od'd on), and it seemed to kill his appetite and thirst -- I did elaborate tricks to get him to eat and drink a bit, he never seemed to pee, I was worried. The day after he went off the pain meds he was starving and thirsty!

He's been using the leg since day one -- that is, the day of the surgery he was already walking better than the day before the surgery! Still limps, but seems happy (except for the cone).

This blog was important to me in deciding to do the surgery. It must by now be the world's best resource on FHO. Hope it continues!

Ken Bryant said...

Tavish, my Balinese, took out the rest of his own stitches just before he went to the vet to have them taken out! Today -- 15 days after surgery -- he succeeded in a well-planned escape from the house, and has been hanging around the garden all day. He'll come in when he's hungry. He runs up and down the stairs to the porch; makes graceful ballistic pounces into the long grass, after real or imagined rodents; smells and nibbles at everything in the garden. Just like he used to.

He has a limp, and is of course horribly shaved, but other than that, he's the same old Tavish. And it's barely been two weeks!

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