Special Cases

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December 2008 Patient: Sascha

"Sascha" is a very well mannered, one year old, neutered male, Maine Coon cat. This breed of cat is the largest of the domestic breeds and he weighed in at 18 pounds. He was presented to Midway unable to walk. A trip to the emergency clinic the night before and the resulting radiographs of the hips revealed fractures of the femoral necks of both rear legs.

Greg and Kyra Strachov, the owners, were deeply concerned about their beloved pet. It seems that a month earlier "Sascha" was showing signs of pain in the back end. A trip to their regular vet and resulting radiographs of the hips had shown no abnormalities. How could the cat have injured both rear legs without any history of severe trauma?

Dr. Nayfield examined "Sascha" and found him to be a healthy cat with a moderate heart murmur and very painful in the rear legs. Since successful repair of the fractures seemed unlikely, Dr. Nayfield recommended a procedure called the femoral head ostectomy. This involves removing the ball from the ball and socket joint of the hip and allowing a false non-painful joint to form. This procedure is considered to be a salvage procedure and one of last resort. The good news is that most cats do well with it although most cats only weigh 7 or 8 pounds.

"Sascha" was taken to surgery that afternoon. Using a very small nitrogen powered oscillating saw, Dr. Nayfield was able to precisely cut the necks from the femurs and remove the femoral heads from the sockets on both back legs. During the surgery he noticed that the bone was soft and crumbly. This condition was most consistent with a condition called Legg Perthes disease. It is extremely rare in cats but has been reported in a few cases. It explained why the radiographs from the first veterinarian had appeared normal yet the cat was in discomfort.  The post-operative radiographs were excellent.

Greg and Kyra are artists and were scheduled to have important exhibits up north for the next couple of weeks. It was agreed that "Sascha" would stay at Midway and begin his physical therapy.

The hospital ward staff members were quick to adopt this cat as one of their favorites. They made sure he received his pain medications and began passive range of motion therapy as well as standing and walking exercises. Over the next three weeks he began walking on his own, using the litter box normally and doing all the regular cat activities.

When Greg and Kyra returned it was a wonderful reunion. "Sascha" went home though much to the dismay of the hospital ward staff who had developed a love for this wonderful animal. He is now at home happily playing with his other feline friends.

The Strachov's were so happy with the results that they donated a large print of one of Greg's watercolor paintings. It is a scene of a cat on a porch near a chair with an amazing effect of lighting. It proudly hangs in the lobby of the hospital and serves as a constant reminder of a great cat that had a great outcome.

Radiology View Box

Pelvis Pre Op

Pelvis Post Op