Misty the Kitten

 
Misty is a 6 month old kitten that came to the vets because he was unable to walk on his left hind leg.  Misty lived indoors with his brother and sister and as healthy young cats they were always playing and jumping around the house.
When Misty was examined he had pain over his hip joint, but also a very high temperature.  He was admitted to treat his pain and try to bring his temperature down.  We were concerned that he could have an infection over his hip joint (perhaps from a playful nip from one of his siblings), or that he had damaged the joint.  Usually joint damage occurs as a result of a road traffic accident or high impact injury, so it would be unusual in a house cat.
No wounds could be found, so Misty was anaesthetised a nd his pelvis was x-rayed.  This x-ray clearly showed that the ball part of the ball and socket joint of the hip was both dislocated and fractured. This injury had occurred because at this young age the bones are still developing and there is a growth plate in this area which is weaker than adult bones. Misty must have simply had a fall in the house.
This type of injury can be treated by removing the fractured bone and smoothing off the bone that remains.  This allows a false, fibrous joint to form and the cat can maintain full use of the limb -despite the removal of the normal hip joint.  The x-ray shows the post-operative appearance of the bone.
Misty had to be rested a little to allow recovery from the surgery but it is important to encourage movement to promote the formation of the new fibrous “joint”.  Misty was moving around comfortably after only a couple of days, remarkable when you consider the extent of the surgery.  Hopefully he and his brother and sisters will keep out of mischief now!