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FHO Surgery: Femoral Head Ostectomy for Cats

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Why she needed it, and Surgery.

February 15th 2013 7:46 am
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Why she needed it, and Day 1 AFTER surgery.

Chloe and her sister have been active since the day that I got them. They love to run, climb and play. Chloe used to do these little ninja rolls after catching her prey when we would play with a mouse at the end of a wand toy.

One day, I took her off of the bathroom counter and set her to the floor (low, about a foot, because I had older cats before these ones). She went limp and fell on her right side, got up and limped from then on. No more climbing, less playing, no ninja rolls. After a day of limping, I took her to the vet. Chloe was scared and she had to be sedated to get her x-rays. I had to leave her there for several hours. I think I had more separation anxiety than she did. By advice, we digitally sent the x-rays to a radiologist to look at. She had a fracture in her right hip that had healed (I didn’t even know), and re-fractured it and the growth plate was sliding. That is when the vet told me my options: I could let it go and she would have a terrible quality of life of pain in which the bones of her hip/leg would grind together, or we could do this surgery, in which, in cats, has been successful, and wouldn’t be painful over time. She is my baby, and I opted for surgery.

The night she came home was hard. She was shaved and had staples. She tipped over when she walked. Her sister didn’t recognize her and would hiss at her. She tried to eat her kibble, but would throw it up because she tried to gobble it up. I had left over can food and let her walk over to the food area. I gave it to her a small spoonful at a time.

I am very affectionate, and she responded with big purring, and I knew it would be okay. I used “earthbath” wipes to wipe her face (she has FVR and gets watery eye, especially so when stressed), and I had to wipe her toosh one day before surgery.

She walked where she wanted to walk. She jumped on the couch. The more she moves now, the better she will be able to walk later.

Signs your kitty has trouble:
-favoring one leg over the other
-trouble jumping
-using upper body rather whole body
-laying on one side a lot
-sensitivity to hips
-kitty wouldn’t sit up, or "loaf" sit



February 16th 2013 2:07 pm
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Fiona (Chloe's sister) has two hips going and is in pain, so nursing one cat (Chloe) while making the other one comfortable before her surgery has been exhausting!

Chloe is doing well. She is starting to get her personality back. She loves to play and drag her toys and bring them to me. I had to remind her to eat....I made a trail of kitty kibble to the food dish and she followed it.

Last night was really hard. She didn't feel well, Fiona was crabby, and I was tired. I gave in and went to bed and after ten minutes, I looked down and saw that Chloe walked all the way from the living room to my bedroom. I put her in a kitty bed and put her on my bed. Poor thing whimpered through the night. I had to take her to the vet this morning to remove the time-released medication attached to her front paw. The car ride there was kind of hard, but we were in and out of the vet really quickly. She is so happy to not have bandages on her paws, and is jumping on furniture. I don't have to take her to the vet until the 28th to get the stitches.


Holy Cow, that was fast!

February 17th 2013 8:08 pm
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Chloe is testing her boundaries: hopping up the tall kitty condos (not climbing but hopping), getting closer and closer to laying next to me (before surgery, she wanted to be held like a 12 pounds). The funniest thing by far is watching her walk. She is walking faster, but her tail is all over the place until she finds that balance. It's like it has a mind of its own. I am so happy she is doing well. I am concerned that she is cleaning/licking her wound too much and I will probably get one of those cones. I would rather have a cone on her than have it get infected. The vet told me that if it gets infected due to over-cleaning, the procedure that follows would be like having surgery all over again.


How to make a cat angry? Put a Cone on it.

February 18th 2013 4:01 pm
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Animals have a natural instinct to clean themselves, especially when injured. This gives the cat's wound an opportunity to get infected, and the whole process of surgery starts all over again. Chloe didn't really pay attention to her wound until TODAY. I should have had the vet put a cone on her right after surgery so I wouldn't have to wrangle my cat to put it on. The first time I tried, I felt like I was diffusing a bomb. The second time, I finally got it. She has been mad/uncoordinated ever since. I had to gear myself up to put a cone on Chloe. That doesn't mean I made up a nifty cheer, I did what anyone would do....I searched the internet for re-opened wounds after stitches. It was terrible! It did give me the strength to make the better choice and stuff Chloe into her plastic cone as her eyes bore into my very soul. She did really well. No biting, no scratching. This will be a very long week and a half.


One cat healing

February 19th 2013 5:39 pm
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Poor Chloe gets depressed with the cone. She just stays on the floor. From time to time, I take it off to feed her, give her water, and clean her face. When she starts to lick near her site, I put it back on. She is sweet, and still likes to put her face next to mine....technically her cone-face.

I did some research, and I bought two "Pro-Collars". I think this will be a better option for Chloe and Fiona so that they can go about normal things without the sensory deprivation of the cone. Chloe has 8 more days left until she gets her stitches removed. r-Large/dp/B001FKBZL2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361323927&sr=8 -1&keywords=pro+collar

Fiona has her surgery tomorrow. It will be harder for her because she has to have surgery on both hips. This all happened pretty close together--and the vet thinks that because Fiona and Chloe are sisters and litter mates, there might be a genetic factor as to why they both are 20 months and having hip problems at the same time.


Back in the game

February 21st 2013 9:29 pm
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Chloe hates wearing the cone. I monitor her when I take it off (to eat, drink, nap), but as soon as she starts liking her incision, it goes back on. She is so great at walking that when she sees me with the cone in hand, she RUNS the other way. She is steering clear of Fiona--rightly so, because she is cranky.

She should be happy pretty soon because it is laundry time. She loves rolled up socks. Since she was a kitten, she has tackled my folded socks (on my bed while I fold other laundry). One day, I forgot to put the socks away and went to work. When I came back, there were 3 pairs of socks waiting by the door, a couple socks in front of the couch. Before her surgery, she brought me three pairs of socks and put them in front of the couch (where I usually put on my shoes). I think she knew I was in need because my pile was getting large.


Yay, 5 o'clock kitty shadow

February 26th 2013 7:50 pm
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Chloe is doing well and her hair is starting to gradually come in. She runs, jumps, and is still playful. It might be a while before she does her infamous ninja roll. She crouches and pounces. I am happy to see her so energetic and playful again.

I shouldn't laugh, but when Fiona growls (because she had surgery), Chloe turns and goes into a different room.


Paw and effect

March 2nd 2013 7:29 pm
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Chloe has licked the top of her paw to the point in which it is raw. I had to put the cone back on her. I even sprayed Neosporin to help.

My kitty family--attack of the cones.


Chloe's Paw and Kitty History

March 3rd 2013 5:43 am
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Someone asked me what was wrong with her paw and I thought I should elaborate. After her surgery, she had an area on the top of her knuckles that is shaved. Because it is a common area to clean multiple times (1-to clean after litter box, 2-to clean face, 3- clean paw before nap). She has licked it raw! I had the cone on the whole day to let it heal until she needed to eat. Shortly after, she licked off the scab and it started bleeding. I am going to go to the pet store today to see if there is anything I can get to help.

I also received an email that inspired me to share my story of the kitties and their adoptions, so here it is:

I have had two cats before this--I got them when I was eight years old as a gift from a parent in my mom's classroom (she is a teacher). They lived 19 years before I had to put them down due to old age and health complications. They were healthy kitties born from a cat that was well cared for, and we never took them to the vet because the couple times we did take them to different vets, the experience was horrible. I am more educated now, knowing what declawing the front claws entails. My heart was broken after they were gone, and I missed the companionship.
My mom and I knew we were going to adopt kitties and filled out the paperwork online before we got there. We bought food, a kitty condo, and a litter box. It was the best day I had in a long time. These kitties were tiny, malnourished, but they had a lot of spiritIt turns out that because these kitties were in a shelter, they were pretty sick. I nursed them back to health through more than several rounds of medication for each--pill form, liquid form, lysine treats, lysine powder. I stayed up late holding Fiona & Chloe when they didn't feel well. After a year, we found that Fiona has a food allergy and has to have a special diet along with liquid prednisone every now and then so that she wouldn't have itchy skin on the back of her legs and bite, creating holes and risking infection. Chloe has Feline Herpes, and it took a while to get that under control, it is manageable. The wikipedia pages show the worse of cases, not the everyday symptoms. These kitties are my family, and because of all of their health issues, I watch them closely. The second they started limping, I knew I needed to help them. I have a good relationship with the vet hospital I go to and they have been on the spot with their diagnosis and very helpful. The FHO surgery hasn't been the easiest, or the cheapest, but it was worth while. I didn't want the kitties to be in pain all of the time, grinding bones in the wrong places, and other painful symptoms. They are far better off going through this surgery. The reason I have posted this diary in both kitty pages is because this site has been helpful answering basic questions about health and behavior. I thought that if I could post information and help others with issues from behavior to health problems, I can help other kitty families as well.


What, no cartoon bandaid?

March 4th 2013 8:14 pm
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Tisk, tisk, tisk. Chloe found a new yoga pose to lick her paw. I put Vetericyn on it, and she would run to lick it off. I had to get creative and put a human bandaid after applying more vetericyn until I get vet advice. I tried wrapping with pet gauze, but it came off with a fling of the wrist.

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