Swapping hi res model for lower res after hair has been applied!

Hi, first time on here, thanks for having me.
Sorry if the subject seems confused! Basically, I have a model, I applied an SSD modifier, stupidly applied it, did all the fur (it’s a polar bear) now I’m thinking when it comes to rigging and animation, the rig needs to be above the SSD modifier for animation, to reduce any lag in performance etc. Can I re-import the lo res model, add an SSD (without applying) then the existing particle hair systems (keeping all vertex maps) from the original model?

BTW, this is my first Blender project, so I’ve dived in at the deep-end a little!!