Femoral head and neck surgery can be done to relieve the pain associated with hip dysplasia, dislocation and fractures of the hip joint, and arthritis in the joint. Although this surgery helps relieve the dog’s pain, there are certain complications to be aware of.
During femoral head and neck surgery, a small incision is made over the dog’s hip region. The head and neck of the femur bone(s) are removed and the incision is closed. After the surgery, fibrous tissue develops in the area to prevent the bones from rubbing against each other.
The dog is encouraged to use the limb as soon as possible after femoral head and neck ostectomy, although it may take up to six weeks for the dog to fully recover. A physical therapy routine likely will be suggested for several weeks.
The results of femoral head and neck surgery vary with each case. Half of large dogs experience good or excellent results, while the other half experience some degree of lameness. Nearly all small and medium dogs have excellent or good results after the surgery.
If a proper physical therapy routine is not followed after the femoral head and neck ostectomy, the dog may experience a decreased range of motion in the joint. The hip joint becomes much more relaxed and may seem to be loose when the dog is running or walking.
As with any surgery, certain complications may arise. Although rare, the dog may experience a negative reaction to the anesthesia, develop an infection or suffer nerve damage.