When Jett was brought to the practice one Sunday in late January, his back foot was hugely swollen & painful. Jett is a very friendly 2 year old cat who had attempted to jump up on a radiator cover which wasn’t secured and unfortunately it came down on his foot.
After a couple of days of painkilling anti-inflammatory medication, Jett’s foot swelling had reduced enough to assess it better; it had become clear that the bones felt very “crunchy”.
X-rays confirmed that he had fractured all four of his metatarsal bones which would require surgery to stabilise thus ensuring that healing would occur. The radiographs showed that the fracture sites had displaced out of alignment adding to the trickiness of the surgery to follow.
With any major operation, a discussion must be had with the owner to explain the problem & the proposed treatment. Along with this we make clear what the possible outcomes could be including complications and what sort of post op care is likely to be involved.
Jett’s owner was keen for us to operate & organised a crate for him to be confined in for the weeks after his operation. Jett was anaesthetised & prepped for surgery
My colleague Claire Letts scrubbed in with me to assist with the surgery.
Although the bones are quite small there would be some firm manipulation to get the bones realigned and pinned back in position.
I used a technique called dowel pinning to hold the realigned bones in position. A small wire pin is inserted into one half of the broken bone then the end is cut short leaving about 6mm poking out.
The other half is then manipulated over the pin which then stops it from dislodging again. With all 4 bones pinned it was surprisingly stable. The tissues & tendons help to keep things aligned and a bandage was applied for a couple of weeks.
The owner reports that after 2 weeks Jett is doing very well. He is comfortable & using the leg to potter round the cage though he seems a bit frustrated at being caged for most of the day! We trust that the bones will heal uneventfully and Jett will be able to come out of the cage in a few more weeks’ time.
We’ll probably x-ray his foot again after 6 weeks to ensure everything is ok before Jett is able to be fully out of the cage – When that happens, I’m sure he’ll appreciate finally regaining his freedom!
Enjoy your pets
Ps the pins in the xray look quite chunky but are only 1.6mm in diameter!
Jett’s First Steps without a bandage – 2 weeks post surgery
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