Failed FHO on 8 Month Old Rescue Lab Mix


Hello, I have a question re: a failed FHO left leg for our 8 mo old rescue dog white lab mix. Our daughter got him post op when he was about 5 mos old. There were no instructions on rehabbing him. He continuously favored his left leg, and was on Rimadyl when my daughter brought him home from school in Dec. we tried 1 visit of accupuncture. We found out that he has a very low pain tolerance, but it seemed to help for about 4-5 days along with the Tramadol. He is now on a course of Tramadol every 6-12 hrs and Deramaxx 100 mg 1/2 tab every 24 hrs for the last 2 weeks. He weighs about 48 pounds. I work full time and can only walk him about twice per day. When he feels well he plays and torques and twists; he then is in such pain that he can only sit up at night and it is hard for him to lay down. Needless to say I am not getting much sleep at night. I am not equipped to continue rehab on him; I don’t have a pool and there is no animal rehab in my area. My question is, what can I do to help him? The vet says that another Surgery will not help him, he doesn’t have any real muscle mass to help him. At this young age I can’t see him on a long course of meds. I think the vet ruled out infection but not sure and I will follow up with that. Is removing his leg a viable option at his age? We are basically fostering this dog since our daughter is in college and none of us can really afford continuous treatment or surgery at this point in our life. We would like to get him to a point where he is somewhat pain free and find a good home for him.

Thank you for your time and expertise.


Hi there!
I have some steps for you to follow *exactly* and then get back to me if you’d like 🙂
You say it’s a “failed FHO”, and I see very many of those, able to rehab them to full function or thereabouts, so take heart! I’m glad you wrote 🙂
1) I am writing (soon) the full FHO post-sx booklet, but in the meantime, you will be well-served to buy the paper copy (so you may make written notes) of my post-sx rehab booklet for knee surgery for torn ligament, here: and follow it as if your kiddo just had surgery. I promise this will help and this is the place to start. I suggest reading the booklet twice, especially the parts about pain, because that is your biggest obstacle right now.

2) Begin doing the work in the booklet AFTER getting at least two analgesics back into your dog. In my experience with cases like this, you will need 2-3 pharmaceutical analgesics to help, and for research-based reasons I don’t have time to go into (see my research posts on nsaids), I’d prefer not using an anti-inflammatory right now. We need him to use the leg and build muscle= Tramadol & Gabapentin (usually used in my area), along with adding the supplements I discuss in the book and along with

3) Start the massage as I demonstrate in my video under the “Videos” section of this site.

Ok-that’s a little bit from my perspective, but it may be a lot for you, especially since you may think you’ve exhausted resources (but you DID reach out to me :)) The most important thing is everything I mentioned…and especially paying good attention to the chapters on pain in my booklet. You definitely do not need a water treadmill, water work, or a rehab clinic at this point; your pup needs very good pain control and controlled activity, restrictions and controlled drills.
I have never had an animal fail to respond well to my protocol for after FHO surgery or even after work to improve hip muscles after diagnosis of “really bad hips” or “dysplasia”, so please give it a go! I cannot emphasise enough how much people undervalue and misunderstand the role of pain medication after surgery…if you can overcome the obstacles of not enough pain meds and too much activity, you’ll be on your way.


Thank you Deborah! I will get started on this today. We have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon this Thursday so I will ask about the analgesics. Again, thank you for your suggestions.
Have a great day,


You’re welcome!


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