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Comminuted Fracture of Hind Limb

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

Oliver and his mum came into our clinic in Sports City yesterday, with Oli clearly not feeling himself and showing Lameness (or limping) in his hind leg. Lameness (or limping in cats can be caused by several underlying reasons.

Symptoms and presenting signs

• Refusing to place any weight on the leg or limping

• Unable to walk or run normally

• Difficulty walking up or down the stairs or jumping up onto heights

• Pain and general signs of discomfort

• Loss of muscle mass around affected leg

• Walking at a slower pace

• Not placing a paw on the floor properly (known as knuckling)

• Swelling or abnormalities around the joints.

On examination, it was discovered he had a mid-shift comminuted fracture of the left tibia. (A comminuted fracture is a break or splinter off the bone into more than two fragments. Since considerable force and energy is required to fragment bone, fractures of this degree occur after high-impact trauma )

After the prognosis of poor Oliver, it was straight too surgery to fix the bone.

Mark our surgery assistant and nurse took Oliver for preparation for surgery shaving the hind limb in our pre-surgical unit.

Dr Everard our senior veterinary director and surgeon proceeded to assess the damage and fix the problem. A cerclage wire (Cerclage wire refers to a type of orthopedic fixation/stabilization wire placed to approximate fractured bone fragments) was used to join the fragment together and a DCP plate (Dynamic Compression Plate) was used to stabilize it.

Dr Everard performing surgery on Oli

DCP (Dynamic Compression Plate) plate used to stabilize the fracture

X-Ray showing the DCP (Dynamic Compression Plate) plate used to stabilize the fracture

Oliver, came round from the surgery and to the happiness of his owner is doing very well indeed.

How well does a cat recover from this?

Recovery and prognosis are generally good following this type of surgery, make sure that you always follow your vet's guidelines and instructions post-op of the operation.

It's a good idea to confine your cat in a small space to limit his movement and to promote healing.

Your vet will schedule follow-up appointments to take x-rays and assess the healing and evaluate stability in the limb.

How long does it take to heal?

Bones usually take between 4 and 6 weeks to heal completely, however, It's not unusual for a complex fracture, especially in an older animal, to take at least three months.

If you notice any swelling, signs of infection or other complications following surgery, contact your vet immediately.

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