Monday, April 4, 2011

What would you do…. (FHO)

….I was asked if you had to do it over…  Well..   …let’s see.. 

Let me tell you what I’m talking about – Jake’s FHO…. Femoral Head Osteotomy …that was his surgery to cut off the ball of his hip.  This is a procedure used for dogs with hip dysplasia but Jake had an accident at a young age…  what kind of accident, we don’t know.  When I got him at 12 weeks his pelvic bone had been broken and as it had healed it pushed his hip out of joint.  If you haven’t read about it… go back to the posts starting February 2010 and you’ll be able to read it from the beginning. 

Teddy had that surgery also at about 2 years old and it went very well for him so after being reassured that the fact that Jake was a puppy wasn’t a bad thing…  in fact it probably gave him an advantage … we scheduled the surgery.  I won’t go into that whole story because it is well documented in other posts.  This one will simply list some things that if I had to do over I would start before the surgery, if possible, to prepare for after the surgery.  So…here goes…

  • If I were doing it over I would get him used to physical therapy - not do it but get him used to what might happen.  Look at Jake on the grooming table - he will lie down anywhere and I can tell him to "put your head down" and he does..  all it took was treats... that you could start.  Instead of physical therapy before the surgery, I would get him used to this position and maybe some massage.
  • One of the the changes I made in my home was to position a large crate IMG_1617aright where I spend most of my time so while he is recovering (resting) he will not feel isolated.  I used rubber matting (the kind that is used in playschools) and had that all around it and a path to the door to go out.  I dug out my stash of throw rugs with rubber backing that I used when Ari was having rear end issues after his seizures to put down other places.  and need I say…  if you haven’t crate trained your dog, do it NOW!
  • I would take a horse lunge line (30 foot line from a horse supple store) and teach him how to "walk" away from me so I could stand still and have him go around me in a circle in a trot.  Jake had a tendency to want to run or hop and needed to learn to walk - sort of like a show dog but not so fast.  This may not be possible before surgery because of the pain but thinking about how to do it, putting it on the post-surgery list and getting a lunge line will then be one less thing to do after the surgery.
  • Make sure you have ice packs on hand….  read my post about what Jake thought of frozen vegetables being used in place of ice packs….  See the picture above also.
  • I hand made the coolest sling to help him walk…  just took a tote, cut it down the sides and sewed it up.  He never needed it.  I picked him up the same day of surgery and he walked out – he was a little goofy however!
  • Everything I've read indicated that the most successful recoveries are if the owner follows through with the right exercises, stretches, etc.  With Teddy I took him to physical therapy and he would walk in water.    That ,of course, does add an additional cost but checking in to it beforehand would be good.  With Jake, I choose not to do it and formulated a plan of what to do at home on my own.  If it was summer I would find a place to walk him in water – a pool, lake, etc.
  • I am a believer in supplements.  My dogs get Animal Naturals products.  Check them out.
  • Another thing - VOM treatments...  if you haven't read about it,  here is my VOM lady’s site:  This should be #1 or right up there in my opinion…  check with your vet for sure on this.  Included with her treatments is Cold Laser Therapy and AlphaSonic Sound Wave Therapy both2010-10-09 11.07.51 of which are described on her site. 
  • Teach “sit straight”  if your dog doesn’t.  Jake would puppy sit (lean to one side) and his back legs were uneven so I taught him that was not correct and that he needed to “sit straight”.
  • Teach spins and circles (I say circle for right and spin for left)…  fun for the dog and when his body was starting to curve to the right I would have him spin to the left and them have him do it slowly for a stretch. 
  • Prepare to keep a journal of the recovery…
  • I am now teaching Jake to walk on a treadmill.  Will post more later….

…….continued …. as ideas come to mind…

(PLEASE NOTE:  if any of these things are hard for your dog to do, STOP!  Obviously, lying on a table would be ok but walking on a line, spins, circles or walking in water could be VERY painful.)  Always remember….  SLOW is FAST! 

Here are some links to information that will be invaluable before, during and after the surgery!
Click here for Top Dog Animal Health & Rehabilitation’s website
Click here for Top Dog’s step by step guide to post-surgical home therapy for FHO recovery.
Click here for Top Dog’s Health and Rehabilitation’s YouTube channel. 


The photo of Jake catching the  ball was taken 9 months after
surgery.  Click on it to enlarge and you’ll see the muscle he has on
his hind leg.  What a guy, huh!