written by Lynn O'Shaughnessy
Abby came into rescue overweight and with hip dysplasia. She needed to have surgery for her hip problems and was a candidate for FHO surgery. However, before the vet would perform the surgery, she had to lose at least 10 pounds. She weighed 90 pounds when she came into rescue. Nearly two months later, she was ready having reached her 80 pound goal.
I was told that for the first two weeks after surgery, Abby needed to be kept quiet and go outdoors on a leash only. After two weeks, she could pretty much do whatever she felt good enough to do.
For the first two days, Abby limped around on only three legs. On the third day, she began to put her rear leg down on the ground. Two days later she was actually hobbling on it during her leash walks into the yard.
At two weeks and two days, we began to take Abby out with our other three dogs for a short walk. We have 10 acres and normally walked our dogs around the perimeter of it. Abby did not want to turn back after a short walk - she wanted to go around the 10 acres and actually pulled on the leash to do so! She exhibited no signs of pain at that point.
Her recovery progressed very well over the next two months. The daily walks around our property was crucial in getting her weak rear muscles back in shape again. I have visited with Abby twice in her new home since she was placed and could hardly tell that she every had the FHO surgery. Four years later she gets around like just about any normal dog.
Rescue has had very good success with doing FHO surgery on adult dogs with hip dysplasia. This entails removal of the head of the femur. There is relief from the pain of a sloppy joint and the leg muscles hold the leg in place. According to the vet that did Abby's surgery, the recovery period is usually two weeks. It usually takes about 6 to 8 months for the dog to regain the maximum amount of mobility - which is usually about 80% of what a normal dog would have.