This little kitten’s leg is mending nicely.
BREAK A LEG!
Panache is an inquisitive 12 week old, female Domestic Short Hair kitten.
Her owner, Angela, was in the shower one night when she heard a bang in the lounge room. She went to investigate and found Panache on the floor, unable to bear weight on her right hind leg. It appeared that Panache had tried to climb a piece of art on the wall, before getting caught and falling onto the floor!
Panache arrived at Vet HQ the next day unable to bear weight on her right hind leg. Physical examination revealed her vital signs were normal, but she had a suspicious swelling over her right femur, and was unable to bear any weight on that leg. Based on her history and physical examination, we suspected Panache had broken her right femur. To confirm our suspicions we needed to take x-rays of both her hind legs and her hips.
As broken bones are very painful, we administered pain relief to make Panache more comfortable, then placed her under a general anaesthetic to take radiographs.
The x-rays revealed an oblique, comminuted fracture of the distal diaphysis of her right femur. Lucky for Panache the fracture was just above the delicate growth plate (physis), which if damaged, could affect the growth of her right leg.
In young animals, growth plates are responsible for the longitudinal growth of the skeleton. They are present in nearly every bone and “close” or cease growth at various ages in various species and breeds. For example in cats, the femur’s growth plates usually close by 16 months of age.
If growth plates are damaged, they can permanently affect an animals’ conformation and gait. For instance, complete closure of a “long bone” such as the femurs’ growth plate, results in a shortened limb. Whilst incomplete closure causes limbs to grow at an abnormal angle, placing stress on nearby joints which will eventually lead to degenerative joint disease.
In order for Panache’s fracture to heal, she required surgery to realign and stabilise the fragments of bone. Making a lateral approach to the femur, we were able to realign the bone and stabilize the fragments with two cross pins and cerclage wires in a modified Rush Pin Technique. After 4 days in hospital, Panache was ready to return home on pain relief and strict cage rest for 4 weeks.
Two weeks after her accident, Panache returned to Vet HQ for a check-up. She is making a speedy recovery and will be back to running around the house in no time.