LIL’ BITS Medical Cats... Getting Them Back To Purrfect! D id you know that cats are masters at concealing smol-dering problems with their bones, joint and muscles? Unlike dogs, cats with orthopedic problems often do not limp or express pain in an obvious fashion. This is not to say they are not feeling pain. In fact, painful orthopedic conditions are common in the cat. These conditions lead to changes in behavior that can be confusing to owners. Cats have become themost popular pet in the U.S. and with that come an increasing number of orthopedic problems. HOWDOYOU KNOWIF YOUR CATHAS ANORTHOPEDIC PROBLEM? It’s not always easy.Many cats with orthopedic disorders appear to simply slow down and this is often assumed to be a consequence of the aging process. Some cats may have a slight limp, but most cats tend to have decreased activity, show reluctance to jump, appear stiff when walking or have muscle wasting. Is your cat’s behav-ior changed? If so, it might be a good time to visit your vet! WHAT ARE SOME COMMON ORTHOPEDIC PROBLEMS IN CATS? Cats sharemany of the same ortho-pedic problems as dogs and humans. These include ACL injuries of the knees, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, knee cap dislocation and common fractures and traumatic injuries of the joints of the front and hind legs. They also have special cat problems such as arthritis ofmultiple joints, patellar fractures, meniscalminer-alization, Achilles tendon injuries, muscle tears and growth plate fractures. RADIO STOP By: Brian Beale,DVM,DiplomateACVS, Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, www.gcvs.com EARLY DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT IS THE KEY! The longer an orthopedic problem persists, themore difficult itmay become to treat. Veterinarians have been trained to look for subtle changes in your cat that allow them tomake an early diagnosis. Typi-cally diagnosis is made with a simple orthopedic examination and radio-graphs (x-rays). Once a diagnosis is made, treatment options are dis-cussed.Orthopedic disorders may be best treatedmedically, surgically or both. The key to success is early and appropriate treatment. This ensures the best chance of healing and de-creases the chance of future arthritis, chronic pain and limb dysfunction. WHYARE CATS SPECIAL? Cats havemany endearing personal-ity traits thatmake them special, but they also have special physiological and anatomical differences that re-quire special attention when treating orthopedic problems. Cats can be very sensitive to painmedications so never self medicate. A veterinarian should always be consulted to avoid potential serious side effects. The bones and joints of cats are also dif-ferent fromdogs and adjustments in technique must bemade to accom-modate when performing surgery. IS SURGERY PAINFUL? Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists is arecognizedleaderinminimally-invasive surgery around the world. Minimally-invasive surgical tech-niques are the state of the art in hu-man medicine, and now it is the state of the art in surgery of dogs and cats. Small incisions and arthroscopic surgery are used to alleviate most or-thopedic problems in dogs and cats, dramatically reducing postoperative pain and speeding recovery. Many cats are returned to normal activity Fracture of the knee cap repaired in a cat within 4-6 weeks! WHAT IS THE EXPECTED OUTCOME? Cat orthopedic problems can be typically treated with great success. Even severe fractures or injuries to the soft tissues have a bright outlook in themajority of patients.Most cats can be returned to an active pain-free lifestyle for the rest of their life. The best results are always achieved when treatment is initiated in the early phase of disease. Catch Dr. Beale 8pm Sundays, KTRH 740 AMon “Your Pet’s Health” Aninjuredmeniscus (arrow) is seeninthiscat’skneewith atearoftheACLligament. Abonefragmentisseenin acatwithelbowdysplasia. This fragmentcanbe removednon-invasively usingarthroscopicsurgery. Houston PetTalkMagazine 41
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