Femoral fracture

Meet Skillet, a 2 1/2 year old domestic short hair cat.  He is an absolute sweetheart, but
overweight by 5 pounds.  He has a sister, Molly, who is more petite and a grey tabby.  She plays
into this case, too!  At the beginning of October, Molly was brought to Four Lakes Veterinary
Clinic because she was acutely limping on her LEFT rear leg.  She is an indoor-only cat and there
really was no trauma that the owners could remember (except maybe a little nudge with a
foot).  She was very painful in her hip, so she was sedated prior to taking x-rays.
There wasn’t much that could be done to repair this fracture, apart from a femoral head and
neck ostectomy–where the “ball” or head of the femur (which is stuck in the hip socket, or
acetabulum) is removed (in this case, it is already broken off) and the neck of the femur is
removed and then the leg is left to form a “false” joint in the muscles.After 2 months, Molly was doing well on the leg–running and playing with the other cats.  She still had a limp and some muscle atrophy in that leg, but no apparent pain.

But in mid-November, Skillet was brought in because he was suddenly limping on his LEFT hind leg!  We sedated him and took x-rays and saw the EXACT same thing!  There was absolutely no possible trauma to account for his fracture.  Dr. Scarlett wrote up the case on VIN (Veterinary Information Network) and posted the x-rays and got a reply from a veterinarian in Saskatchewan.  He had written a journal article back in 2004 entitled “Atraumatic proximal femoral physeal fractures in cats.”  Apparently this is a spontaneous fracture seen at the growth plate in some young adult cats.  It isn’t known what causes this, although since both Molly and Skillet had this fracture, there is likely some genetic predisposition.  It is most commonly seen in young (~2 yrs or younger), neutered male cats, generally overweight.  The growth plate (physes) tend to remain open much longer in early neutered males, making them more likely to have the “slipped” femoral head.  It is apparently similar to a condition that can occur in obese children (particularly boys) at puberty.

Skillet had his FHO the next day.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHere he is, anesthetized and prepped for surgery.





SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe smooth, shiny head of the femur–the “ball” in the hip joint.





After removing the femoral head from the socket (acetabulum), the sharp neck of the femur is removed and smoothed.  Then the muscle layers are sutured over the bone and the skin is closed.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES






His skin is yellow because of the iodine applied prior to the surgery.  The stitches will stay in about 2 weeks and he should start using that leg fairly quickly.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES






This is the post-op x-ray.  You can see the smooth femur that isn’t touching the hip socket.  It looks just like it is supposed to!skilletpostop

There is about a 33% chance that Skillet and/or Molly will have the same thing happen on the other leg.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed that it won’t!

Here are Molly and Skillet at home.  Molly is laying on her “bad” leg and keeping Skillet company as he recuperates.  What a good sister!20131126_180103