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James Ransom, DVM
James Ransom, DVM, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 6
Experience:  Over 15 years in the veterinary field - small animals (dogs/cats), reptiles, birds and pocket pets.
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Our 2 year old cats left leg seemed to be giving him some

Customer Question

Our 2 year old cat's left leg seemed to be giving him some pain earlier this week so we took him to the vet who gave him an x-ray. We have been told (from what I can remember) that there is a problem with the femoral head growth plate and ball and that he needs an operation asap to remove the femoral head. Having googled the operation and read several blogs it's apparent this is going to be quite an ordeal for him and we want to make sure we are doing the right thing. What would happen if he didn't have the operation? If there was no trauma involved, how has this happened? I don't remember the vet using the word fracture but all the info online seems to refer to fractures incurred by trauma when this operation is done. We had him neutered at 5 months and I've read there is a possible link between early neutering and this type of problem. Is that correct? If so, could it also happen to the hip on the other side? The operation is booked for Monday and the vet is too busy to talk us through everything until Monday morning. Something in writing would be easier to digest I think. Can you help?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  James Ransom, DVM replied 3 years ago.

James Ransom, DVM :

Hi there, did you have your question answered yet?

James Ransom, DVM :

The type of procedure that your vet is recommending is quite common. It is called a femoral head ostectomy or "FHO" procedure. the indication for this type of procedure is typically any damage to the femoral head or neck. Once the femoral head is removed the femur then articulates (forms a joint) with the muscles around the hip joint. Cats do very well with this surgery as long as the surgeon is properly trained in how perform the surgery.

James Ransom, DVM :

It sounds as though Alfie may have damaged his femoral head somehow, perhaps a traumatic injury, however a congenital defect may be present as well. Occasional the blood supply to the top of the femoral head can be damage leading to a type of necrosis (tissue death) on the capital physis of the femoral head. This damage can cause the top of the head of the femur to lift up off of the bone. It is quite painful for the cat to walk on.

James Ransom, DVM :

This PDF describes the procedure in a dog but it is exactly the same surgery in the cat.

James Ransom, DVM :

http://dcvets.org/surgical/fho.pdf

James Ransom, DVM :

Hope that helps! Have a wonderful weekend. I hope that Alfie feels better soon! Take care:)