Wednesday, February 13, 2008

femoral head ostectomy

so my 1 year old cat broke his leg and had to have a Femoral Head Ostectomy, or FHO.

here's some info on FHO, which is the surgery that trotsky has to have because my other cat, tribble, broke trotsky's leg. i have had words with tribble. i don't know if he understood them. but he seems pretty sad.

tribble (11 months old) ambushed trotsky (1.5 years old) from a behind a chair with coats hanging on it... a perfect cover. this is a game they often play but for some reason this time it went afoul.

when tribble landed on his head, trotsky understandably freaked out and kind of jumped sideways in a startled way, landed badly, and in so doing, broke his hip. it seems amazing, but it's true. he started yowling really loudly and i knew it had to be bad, so i called a car service (i live in nyc and have no car) and had the car take us to the emergency vet... at 3:30 am.

apparently young cats can have growth plates in the tops of their femurs (and presumably other places) which are not completely formed yet, and perhaps never will be, making them very fragile and easy to break. most cats who get this type of injury are 1-2 years old. and this is what trotsky had.

his leg was broken just below the head of the femur, where the femur (top leg bone) articulates into that groove in the pelvic bone. the surgery basically involves surgically removing the head of the femur and then sewing the muscles back into place over the joint; the cat is then said to have such a strong muscular structure that they heal and make a false joint in that hip. so, trotsky is now one hip cat.

that was my boyfriend's joke, not mine.

i came home from the vet scared and not knowing what to do. i've had cats my whole life and i've never heard of this! but i googled femoral head ostectomy and found this blog post, where a wonderful person named jason posted a story about his cat having to have FHO. it was very comforting, as were the numerous comments people had posted, telling their stories of the exact same thing that had happened to their cats.

hopefully one day someone will come across this post, and be helped like i did! don't worry, it's a pretty common thing and cats have an excellent recovery rate from this surgery. feel comforted. it will be ok.

and what post about cats would be complete without pictures? and so...

here's trotsky after tribble has taken his food.
what a wuss.

trotsky bowl

and here's tribble (such an innocent kitten)
kitties aug 2007 006

trotsky is now home and recovering nicely despite his baldness
trotsky postop

i have asked bastet for quick and painless healing for her fellow sacred feline.

trotsky is actually doing pretty well. 3 days post-op and he is hobbling around the house, jumping up on low sofas and chairs; he has 3 other legs after all, as the vet pointed out to me.

the first day or so he was pretty fatigued with pain, and didn't move very much from the little blanket-nest i made for him, but he seems a lot better now and closer to his normal self. they didn't even send him home with any pain medication, because they said he would not need it; cats apparently tolerate pain very well and pain meds make them not want to eat, which is obviously a bad thing right after surgery. so, he seems a little uncomfortable, but he's getting better quickly. thank the goddess!

update (august 2008): 2 weeks later and trotsky was walking around fine without hardly any pain, within a month he was completely pain free. he is still a little bit nervous around tribble (which i think is understandable) but he is back to his normal, sweet, running-around cat-ness.

here's a picture of him now. seems like he's really suffering, doesn't it? ;)

30 comments:

Jason Sparks said...

Hey Lia... Glad to hear things turned out so well. Trotsky seems to be on the mend and it sounds like he'll do just fine.

Thank you for the very kind words. I'm glad you found my post to be helpful :)

Becky Young Photography said...

Thanks for sharing your story! My kittie Miles just had the same things happen to him. He's at the ER vet right now and should be having the surgery in a few hours. I'm glad to hear that your kitties recovered well. Hopefully Miles will too. =)

Anonymous said...

Hi. I have a stray cat that needs FHO and I just wanted to let you know that your blog did help. Thank you for posting this.

lia said...

hey becky, and anonymous ;) i'm glad my blog helped! i hope your respective kitties are doing well and feeling healthy again!

lia said...

and thank you jason! i think i posted over on your blog, but it really helped me :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for your reassuring story about your cat. My Cat Cosmo a sweet and gentle mixed siamise is scheduled to have this surgery today. he also jumped against a chair in the dinning room and broke his femur head. he is 20 months old. What a strssful three days. We thought he had just pulled a muscle.

Anonymous said...

Our cat, Nutmeg, had an FHO done in August of 2008 on his left femur. Yesterday, March 3, he had an FHO done on his right femur. We never thought he would need to go through this ordeal twice. But now he has had both femurs fixed. Be aware that the growth plates on cats femurs are vulnerable. This happened without any trauma. The vet said it was a "time bomb" waiting to go off. Happy to report that Nutmeg is home now and resting comfortably.

Anonymous said...

this was good for me to read and learn about this surgery my 6mnth old kitty had this surgery on friday, and im glad to hear it will go fine in mending

Tom said...

Thanks for this post, my kitten seems to have had a knock and is due to have her femur head removed on her back left leg. We're a bit worried about the effects of the surgery on her as she's a lively little half Siamese and only 8 months old. She has only recently been let out into the garden and has been loving getting up onto the fence and the shed, a great shame.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. Our little siamese baby, Meezer had this surgery done just yesterday. I have been just sick wondering what happened to him to break his bone, since he is an indoor cat. He is coming home this afternoon! :) Is there anything you suggest for the first few days of care?

lia said...

hi to all who posted, i am so glad to know that my blog post helped. it's always reassuring to hear about other kitties going through the same thing and being fine, especially something so weird and scary as this. i know tons about cats and veterinary medicine and when this happened to my kitty i was like wtf?

to the owner of meezer - your vet will have given you good instructions i am sure, but just keep him quiet, safe, maybe make him a bed in a sheltered corner or a closet, make sure he gets enough water, and if he has pain meds make sure you give them to him. cats are amazingly strong and great healers, so he should be fine very soon! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for these comments and photos. My cat Parker has to go in this week for the same surgery and I was really nervous until I read your comments. Thank you. Thank you.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Thank you to whomever began this blog. I was beside myself thinking I could have done something to contribute to my kitty's growth plate break. He was climbing into a cabinet drawer and got his head stuck. The break most have taken place as he struggled to free himself. It was a nightmare. It's the morning after surgery. He still won't eat. I slept beside him all night and he didn't make a peep. Hoping for the best.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Hi all and thanks so much for all the great advice and stories. I just found out today that my 9 mo. old kitty also has the same fracture and is scheduled to have an FHO done on his right femur on Tuesday. Unfortuntely, the surgeon was out of the office so I have to wait until Monday to find out the cost for surgery. I'm worried sick about my beloved kitty but also whether of not I'll be able to afford it. I hope it's not inappropriate to ask any of you but I'd love to get an idea of how much I can expect to pay. Of course I understand that veterinarian rates vary, but I'm just looking to get an idea. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks!!

lia said...

hi anonymous, so sorry for the delayed response! i assume you already got a quote for the surgery and hopefully it's been done and your kitty is healing well. i think the surgery was around $2500, but that was in brooklyn, so i don't know how rates vary in different states and countries. there was a program i was able to sign up for to pay for the surgery in installments, hopefully you can or were able to find something like that. best wishes to you and your kitty!

Anonymous said...

Brooklyn Michigan here...yes there is a Brooklyn in Michigan. The Animal clinic here charged me $600 for the FHO on my cat inky. The procedure was done yesterday (oct. 12, 2010). Poor little guy is not feeling too good right now but he was sure glad to be home. After reading this blog we are very hopeful for a positive outcome. Thanks for the input

Re said...

Hi,
I have a foster cat that needs to have fho done, but I've been hesitant to do it. Low cost sn vet said he could do it for less than other vets, but I have to get an xray. I hope it turns out ok because he is the sweetest cat. Did your kitty gave any limping afterwards? Thanks for your blog!

lia said...

hi re - i would say to definitely get it done if you can afford it, it makes their pain go away almost immediately and they tend to heal really quickly and well, from everything i have heard! my kitty limped for about 2 weeks afterwards, but not much, since he had the other 3 legs to walk on. and after 1 month i had to really look to see any hint of a limp, and shortly after that there was no limp at all. cats are so amazing! :) good luck to you and your sweet foster cat!

Anonymous said...

Im so glad u started this post! Me and my husband have so many ?'s about this since me 2 yo cat Bubba was just diagnosed w/a broken femural head in his back left leg. We had noticed him limping and unable to jump up on the counter or the bed and thought maybe he just had a gimpy leg or something. It wasnt untill he started hiding in the closet and hardly moving that we knew something was seriously wrong so we took him to the vet and 500.00 later they said he needed surgery. We are going in for the consulatation with the surgeon tomrorow and are really nervous how much it is going to cost. My husband kept asking why his bone wont just heal itself like other bones do? We were considering crating him for a while to restrict his movement to see if it did heal on its own but after reading your blog I think we are making the right choice in getting the surgery. I was so scared of the downtime and whether it would lead to any other problems in the future but you guys have put me at ease.

ChaosPancakes said...

My kitty, Chaos fractured her growth plate on her femur as well when she was one year old. Because she is a Maine Coon my vet recommended against the surgery because she was to grow so much more. Now, Three years later she has completely broken her femur from the femoral head and we're back to square one - after all the physio and vet bills. I really wish I hadn't taken the first vet's advice because she has been in pain for years and the FOH was unavoidable. I'm so worried that by not receiving the FOH initially that I've ruined her chances for a smooth recovery. She's my baby and I'm so scared for her!

Mo L said...

It was so nice seeing blogs about other cats with FHO surgery, so I started my own blog about my cat Mo's FHO.

He is doing sooo well about 3 months post-op and I would recommend this surgery to absolutely everyone!

To read about our journey post femoral head ostectomy, go to mofhosurgery.blogspot.com!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog.
My GF and I were Super worried about our 8mth old Calico: Photon.
She came to our bed, this morning, and screamed at us. We thought she hurt her spine or something, so we took her to the vet.

note: I am in China, and used the local chinese vet.
They gave her a shot to reduce the pain, and relax her, so we can get the x-rays.

Later, we found out, the shot only freezes the muscles. She could not even BLINK, but she could feel the pain.
There is a western hospital a little further away, so we took her there, for a second opinion.
Both places suggested the same surgery, but I trust the Western hospital MUCH more.

After she could blink on her own, and move her front legs, they gave her a REAL pain shot.
She will be boarded there for a week, so our other 2 cats don’t “play” with her.
Hope she recovers as well as the other cats on this page.

-FZ

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. God bless you.

pmwfotos said...

hi there, i'm really upset my kitten 6 months old kitten broke her femur bone. i'm so upset, how long will it take her to heal? anything you can tell me about post-op?

lia said...

hi pmwfotos,

i am so sorry about your kitten. but i believe post op will be fine. from my blog post above:

"trotsky is actually doing pretty well. 3 days post-op and he is hobbling around the house, jumping up on low sofas and chairs; he has 3 other legs after all, as the vet pointed out to me.

the first day or so he was pretty fatigued with pain, and didn't move very much from the little blanket-nest i made for him, but he seems a lot better now and closer to his normal self. they didn't even send him home with any pain medication, because they said he would not need it; cats apparently tolerate pain very well and pain meds make them not want to eat, which is obviously a bad thing right after surgery. so, he seems a little uncomfortable, but he's getting better quickly. thank the goddess!

update (august 2008): 2 weeks later and trotsky was walking around fine without hardly any pain, within a month he was completely pain free. he is still a little bit nervous around tribble (which i think is understandable) but he is back to his normal, sweet, running-around cat-ness."

Anonymous said...

Hi,

thanks for the useful post! my cat had this surgery yesterday and she seems in quite a bit of pain. She hasn't left her little cage and seems in pain when she moves. I have put a litter box right by the cage so that she doesn't have to move far but she hasn't gone into it. I am worried that she is holding it in because it is painful to move. Is there anything I can do and is this common?

Mo L said...

Before my cat, Mo, had this surgery, I found this blog (and other similar blogs) extremely helpful, which inspired me to create a blog about my experience with Mo and the surgery + recovery. Its been 2 years now this August and you would never know Mo even had the surgery. He doesn't limp at all and is able to jump and play with other cats.

If anyone reading this is interested in reading my blog as well, please check out moFHOsurgery.blogspot.ca

Helen said...

Feb 28, 2017. Thank goodness for the internet and this blog! As I write, my 20-month Molly cat is shut up in my spare room, on pain meds, awaiting surgery in three days. She broke her femur just under the ball. I have no idea how, but she is a delicate little cat, while my other cat is a big teenage thug. I suspect there was some rough play. Everything I am reading about this surgery is sounding very positive, but I find it hard to think of her in pain. It's going to be a long 3 days...it was already 3 days after she started limping that I got her to the vet, who can't operate right away. I feel terrible for not taking her in right away, At least she's got some pain meds in her now.

Dances with Dachsies said...

I don't know if you still are reading your blog but I wondered how much limping Mo was doing at 2 weeks following surgery? My cat JasPurr had the FHO 16 days ago. He has done well but does have a definite good limp though weight bearing and has a hard reised thickened area maybe 1/2 inch wide next to his incision. Just want to be sure the limping is normal at this stage and how long others were limping. I kenneled him in a large kennel for 2 weeks to be sure he had s safe place to heal but began letting him out on day 5, 3 times s day to feed him, take off the e collar and just give time to groom and stretch and begin using his leg. Day 14 took off the ecollar after visit with surgeon to check incision, and took down the kennel but am keeping him in a room with nothing he can jump on. I have a ramp he can climb on to begin strengthening and flexing his leg but was told no jumping for another month as the muscles need time to heal. I have slept with him by his kennel for 2 weeks. He is doing well but I'm just not sure if the limp is normal. I expect limping so soon after surgery and even possibly that their could be one always but just don't know how much is considered normal. Did anyone else have a hardened raised area by the incision? Thank you so much.