Kitty having bone surgery on Tuesday

I adopted this awesome guy(facebook link) from the shelter where I work in September. We think he’s about 3. His name’s Nimbus, and he’s a really silly, awesome cat. He had an episode of extreme pain while living at the shelter in June, and (unfortunately not great) x-rays revealed an irregular right hip joint. The femoral head and socket were odd looking, and determined to be the source of the pain, possibly from the hip briefly dislocating partially and then popping back in. Ouch. Best guess was an old injury that never healed properly.

He seemed to mend fine at the shelter, and within a couple weeks was running around playing with other cats with no problems. After he came home with me in September, he made fast friends with the other young cat in the house, Chico (facebook link), and Nimbus played and roughhoused with no problems. Until now.

This time, I took him to the ER/specialty center where I work weekends, and some nice, clean digital x-rays revealed a fracture between the femoral head and neck. A new fracture, the surgeon thinks, but in the same place or possibly it was a tiny hairline fracture before, but now it’s through and through. It’s a pathologic fracture, and the joint looks like some form or arthritis, but not arthritis. Surgeon thinks it’s some kind of bone disease, but not cancerous by how it’s formed. This kitty was in so very much pain, and he still kept head butting my hands and asking for face rubs and making biscuits. If it were me, I would be biting everybody!

So FHO (femoral head ostectomy) is scheduled for Nimbus on Tuesday. A sample of the excised bone will be sent for analysis just to make sure it’s not something to worry about, and surgeon believes Nimbus will recover extremely well. He’s been hospitalized since this afternoon, so he can be confined and get really good IV pain meds that I can’t give at home. Chico has been looking for him. He will be home Wednesday night barring any problems. I’m trying not to think too much about the bill. Thank Og for employee discounts, and I’m trying not to worry.

Please send healing thoughts toward Nimbus! I can’t believe how quiet it is around here without him.

Best of luck for kitty, keep us updated. Also consider getting him some kitty drugs if the vet okays it. One of our older cats was on kitty-ultram for a bit due to pain. He was stoned out of his gourd and his pupils were as big as dinner plates, but he seemed to be feeling no pain.

Headbutts to Nimbus from Kitty K. Hope he’s a hip cat again real soon.

What beautiful cats they are. I wish Nimbus the best with the surgery, and you, too!
Please keep us updated on his recovery.
Also, thank you so much for all you’re doing for him.

Poor l’il kitty! He looks like a real sweetie too, hope he comes through ok.

Good luck

One of my cats had this surgery and he was up and about in no time. His problem was repeated dislocation. He was walking on it after a couple of days but for a while would hitch the bad leg up to run. He looked so cute skittering about on three legs. The only lasting problem was with jumping and scrambling up onto things. He never did seem to learn that he couldn’t get a purchase with that leg, but then he was never the sharpest of cats.

Good luck to Nimbus, beautiful cat.

Our dog Sadie had a very similar surgery. While confined to a crate during treatment for heartworms, she evidenced an occasional limp. At first we thought she was stiff from confinement, but X-Rays revealed an old injury from before we adopted her. The hip had been crushed (car, perhaps, although she was afraid of human feet when we adopted her) and apparently never treated. Osteoarthritic degeneration had wrecked the ball joint, so that bone ground on bone when she walked, and there was some form of loose crud (bone chips or calcium buildup).

The vet removed the ball and part of the top of the femur and “let a soft tissue joint” form, which, it was hoped, would end the bone-on-bone grinding, although probably not be as good for bearing weight.

That was at 2.5 years of estimated age. She’s now 7-going-on-8 and seems happy and active, but she’s starting to occasionally limp, and once in a while she’ll pull that leg up and carry it hanging loose when she runs, so we’re planning to have it looked it again soon.

Hoping the best for your guy.

Sending warm fuzzy thoughts to Nimbus. Hope all goes well.

Thank you, everybody! Been anxious all day. Surgeon called a little while ago. Nimbus is done with surgery and doing well in recovery. He will be coming home tomorrow night. The bone that was removed looks like old injury that had never healed properly. Sending to lab just to make sure there’s no cancer or other disease to worry about. Clear results are expected.

The worst is over. I think he will be more comfortable during recovery than he was before, he always had symptoms/behaviors similar to those you see in hip displasia patients. We knew he was mildly uncomfortable at times, but weren’t sure it was worth putting him through the surgery. Well, I guess re-fracturing it sealed the deal.

Thanks again for the support. Dopers are awesome!

Can’t see your kitty pic (it’s asking for a login. Sometimes I can see FB pages and sometimes it does this - no idea why?) But I’m glad Nimbus is doing well!

That’s great news, SeaDragonTattoo! Thank you for the update.
I’m wishing Nimbus a very speedy recovery!

So what’s the post-op protocol?

Confinement to the bedroom for 2 weeks, re-check with the surgeon. Then range of motion therapy a couple times a day for 4-6 weeks, which I know how to do at home already so we don’t need a therapist. He can be loosenin the apartment during that time as long as the 2-week checkup goes well. Then, he should be all set. 2-3 months to expected full recovery.

Visited him tonight. He’s doing OK. ICU is busy for him. He ate some of my clam chowder, but won’t eat his kibble or treats or cheese. He’ll be much better once he’s home tomorrow night!

Hmm. Try this? I just found the “public link” url at the bottom of the page, that should work. Before, I copied and pasted from the browser, that must be for fb users only. Hope that works. If it does, here’s Chico, too. If it doesn’t, I’m sorry!

the queen and the superkittehs are all sending you and nimbus bestest wishes for a speedy recovery!

Yep, that worked. Pretty kitters!

I hope everything went well!

So … it sounds like a hip replacement surgery, only they’re not replacing the hip joint? That works? Or am I reading this wrong?

Kinda. It’s more like a hip removal surgery, leaving the socket intact, and removing the ball portion of the joint. Here’s a great explanation of start to finish on an FHO.

Nimbus has been home for 24 hours now. He’s actually putting weight on that leg, and seems more comfortable. Of course he’s on a healthy dose of pain meds for a few more days. Here’s a pic of his incision, and one of him sleeping.

Right now, based on how he’s doing, I think his therapy will go quickly and he will have a fast recovery. He’s already stretching that limb a lot while he’s laying down, flexing his toes and extending as far as he can. I think he’s reveling in not having pain in that joint any more, even though he’s got a surgical site and muscle that needs to heal.

Thanks so much again!

Nimbus had his 2-week post-surgery checkup with his surgeon today. He’s doing so well that I don’t need to do the physical therapy (range-of-motion) exercises on him, this cat is so great, he’s doing it himself by stretching that limb and planting his toes as far back as he can when he stands. When he lays down, he stretches his leg and flexes his toes.

He’s been cleared to have free range of the rest of the apartment, and the Dr. said we can skip the 6-week checkup because Nimbus is doing so well and walking without holding the leg up.

He’s such a good cat. I’m so proud of him! He’s worth every penny the surgery cost, and since he’s so young, he will benefit for a long time. The pathology report on the removed bone sample says it was a very old break that had never healed properly, and so the bone became porous and broke on it’s own (twice!).

Thanks for your support!


Oh, and here’s a pic of him sound asleep