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Vet
Vet, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
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Experience:  I have spent many years in mixed practice, dealing with all the major species.
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My cat broke his leg and came home on last week after surgery.

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My cat broke his leg and came home on last week after surgery. The vet said get him to walk on it as much as possible with supervision and give him cage rest otherwise. He was very hard to control and hurt himself a few times by running, moving round on our laps etc. Three days ago he got stuck under a table and hurt himself turning round - under the brace that hold the table legs, so quite low. He also tired to jump on a table before we could grab him - drinking milk one second and the next he leapt up. He may have bumped his bad leg on the way down but we didn't think he landed on it. Now I'm not sure. We took him to the vet who examined him and thought it all felt ok. He couldn't find where the pain was coming from. He's on extra painkillers now but howls if he tries to move. He's barely moved now in 3 days. He's eating normally but won't sit up to eat or drink. Would the vet have been able to feel if the pins had moved? Could this just be tissue pain from doing too much too soon?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Vet replied 2 years ago.
Vet :

Hi there, vet Andrew here. Are you online?

JACUSTOMER-3kzindhc- : Yes
Vet :

Hi. Do you know exactly where the break was?

JACUSTOMER-3kzindhc- : His femur, it broke in three places. It's pinned and has a rod in place which will be removed later
Vet :

If he's there, can you feel his leg and see if it's warm all the way down?

JACUSTOMER-3kzindhc- : Yes, it fells normal
JACUSTOMER-3kzindhc- : feels
JACUSTOMER-3kzindhc- : not too warm, both feet feel the same
Vet :

Good. The rod you speak of is called an intramedullary pin. It's normally inserted from the top. Will he let you feel around his hip area? Start at the base of the tail and move down his leg. If the rod has backed out it'll be sticking up there. Compare the two sides if you're not sure.

JACUSTOMER-3kzindhc- : I'll try. He's lying on that side and will howl if I try to turn him. Give me a minute....
Vet :

OK, be gentle.

Vet :

You should be able to feel without turning him

JACUSTOMER-3kzindhc- : He's distressed. I couldn't feel the pin but he didn't like me moving me hand over his thigh. His hips feel the same each side.
Vet :

Ok, that's fine. There's no more you can do to assess the repair.

Vet :

There are two possibilities here:

Vet :

1. The pin has backed out, or the broken ends have rotated and the fracture is no longer stable.

Vet :

2. He has damaged the soft tissue around the area by being too active as you suggest. There is also a remote possibility that the site has become infected, but given his appetite I doubt it.

JACUSTOMER-3kzindhc- : The rod doesn't seem to be evident at the opening - not pressing at the suture sight. He's got 4 screws either side of a plate and those felt ok yesterday but I've not run my hand over his knee today - would I feel it if it had backed out? It's definitely not infected. How would I know if the ends had rotated? X-ray? If it's soft tissue how long to rest before he should be showing signs of relief?
Vet :

Yes, sometimes a rod will back out and you'll feel the end of it sticking up. Rotation would mean the leg would not be straight but I don't recommend trying to get him to stand up to assess this if he's in severe pain. If it's soft tissue the pain should recede over the next three days or so, as long as the repair is still stable and not repeatedly causing trauma. Since he's on strong painkillers and is still in pain I would not hesitate to have him x-rayed again to make sure everything is in place. It may cost you a little extra but will be nothing compared to the hassle of dealing with a non-union, where the bone does not knit. The other factor to consider is that he's in distress despite his home painkiller regime, and may benefit from some injectable pain relief. I recommend you keep him quiet tonight, skip breakfast tomorrow morning and book him in for an x-ray. In these cases it's far better to be safe than sorry.

JACUSTOMER-3kzindhc- : Ok thanks, ***** ***** my plan, my vet was having a day off today but I'll call him tomorrow. Seems as though I can a avoid calling anyone out tonight. I think his leg is straight - can't see it today but it appeared to be on Friday when he was last standing. He seems fine so long as he doesn't move. He got himself to his litter tray last night but couldn't get back out - took me an hour to clean him up. Very distressing for both of us. Hoping he stays still tonight. Many thanks!
Vet :

No problem. I hope he's back to his extremely active self as soon as possible! Regards, ***** *****

Vet, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 77
Experience: I have spent many years in mixed practice, dealing with all the major species.
Vet and 2 other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Vet replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks for your kind rating. It's a pleasure to deal with online customers like you. I wish you all the best for the appointment tomorrow with your vet.
Kind regards
Vet Andrew

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