Kittens & Broken Bones

Let’s take a little trip to the land of orthopedics!  Yes, bones can be a fun and fascinating part of the body but sometimes they can get broken.  For awhile, I thought about titling this “how to fix a broken kitten” except they’re aren’t really broken…just curious and sometimes a bit clumsy.  Unfortunately, cats & dogs are not like people in that you can tell them to keep things clean, stay rested, and keep a cast on at least not in all cases.  Let’s look at two different cases I’ve had recently here in Kingston and even in Florida.

The Curious Case of Skinny PeteIMG_1195

Look at him…he’s adorable!  But why does he get to wear that super cool looking bandage that makes all the ladies swoon for him?  Well, the owner & I still aren’t sure how he manage to break his leg.  Skinny Pete may have been climbing around a barstool and hit his leg awkwardly but that is the only suspicion.  Pete had a fracture of his radius, a bone in the forearm.  Oddly, he didn’t break the ulna right next to it.

Fractured radius

Fractured radius

Fortunately for Pete and his family, we were able to splint his leg.  The reason we could do this and avoid surgery was due to the type and location of the break.  For splinting or casting, you need to be able to immobilize the joints above and below the break.  The other component is that at home care and follow up must be done as directed.  Splints need to be changed every 7-10 days and at home they need to be kept dry.  Changes are required due to the risk of skin problems developing under the bandage material as well checking to make sure the splint hasn’t slipped.

Skinny Pete was brought back in diligently for rechecks and after a few weeks and with a very compliant owner, we were able to take the last splint off of Skinny Pete’s leg and give him a clean bill of health.  A lot of the outcome was made possible by his family following directions and following up as scheduled.

skinny pete Fx healed

Healed fracture

Goldy & the Working VacationGoldy fracture

Months ago I wrote about a stray cat my dad picked up that ended up having kittens.  Goldy is one of those kittens and curiosity got the best of him as he fell out of a second story window.  And while Goldy wasn’t so lucky, my dad was in that I happened to arrive home for a visit the next day and I could fix the problem for a fraction of the cost.  Goldy’s fracture is one we can commonly see in young dogs & cats, especially when trauma is involved or also when cats are neutered too soon (before 5.5 months).

Goldy post-op

Goldy post-op

Unfortunately for Goldy, surgery was the only real option for him as the fracture in could not be stabilized with a splint/bandage.  Just leaving the leg alone would not have healed as the constant motion of an active 5 month old kitten would not allow the boney formation to persist.  This type of fracture can be fixed but can be complicated with higher risks.  Luckily, there is an easier surgery with an equally great outcome.  Similar to a dislocated hip joint, we can remove the ball part of the joint and allow the muscles to hold the leg in a position as a false joint with minimal changes in function and virtually no discomfort.

example of post-op

example of post-op FHO/fracture

Oh the Ways Bones Heal…

Nowadays, both Skinny Pete and Goldy are doing well and running around at home.  They are just two examples of animals with broken bones with just two of the ways that they can be fixed.  More complicated can involve plates, pins, wires, and other complicated devices.  In the worst cases, amputation can be considered; and there’s nothing wrong with a 3-legged pet – I have one and he’s a normal cat!  The important thing when dealing with fractures is to have a conversation with your veterinarian to figure out the best way to help your furry friend and make sure that you follow up as directed to avoid complications.

Our 3-legged cat, Louie

Our 3-legged cat, Louie

Disclaimer: All blog posts are personally written and my opinion and do not reflect those of current or former employers.

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