Max finally had his bilateral femoral head ostectomy (FHO).
For a month leading up to Max’s surgery we discussed with Dr Lloyd at North Dekalb Veterinary Clinic if surgery during Max’s kittenhood would be the right thing to do. Max wasn’t showing any signs of pain (he’s also a cat and they tend to hide their pain very well). Should we wait until he starts limping? We also had to factor in the adoption aspect. Do we tell his adopter that in the next two years he’s going to need major hip surgery that will cost approximately $3,000.00?
We decided that we at least needed a consultation with a veterinary orthopedic surgeon.
In the meantime, Max was running around, climbing cat trees, scaling cages and getting pounced on by Schroeder. He seemed fine, which still had us debating whether or not surgery in the next month was premature or even necessary?
On March 1st Max went in for a consultation with Dr. Corse at Northlake Veterinary Surgery. Max charmed the vet with his immense cuteness and his irresistible personality. He sat like a mermaid, climbed on chairs and stared at the birds out the window. Dr. Corse reviewed his x-rays and examined him by pulling his legs to see where the pain started. Afterward, he stated that surgery was the best route to take.
He said that Max would have a bilateral Femoral Head Ostectomy, which means the ball at the top of the femur, which fits nicely into the hip socket, would be removed. Does that mean Max would have a free-floating femur? Yes and no. The femur won’t be attached to anything, but it will be secured in place by muscle and tendons. The other great thing about the procedure is that Max will never have arthritis in his hips.
What about recovery? If surgery is performed on both hips at the same time will Max be able to walk? The beauty of the surgery is that walking and jumping are all the physical therapy that’s needed to aid in recovery. The first 24 hours post-surgery are the worst. Also, the current pain caused by bone rubbing on bone would be gone. Walking, running, jumping and general cat activities won’t hurt anymore. Working to Max’s advantage is that fact that he is small.
So surgery it is!
Max had his FHO on Tuesday, March 14th. Much to Dr. Corse’s surprise Max not only had broken femurs his tibias had healed on their own after being broken once upon a time. We were told that bone fragments were pulled out of his legs. The vet suspects that when Max was a very young kitten he was probably dropped, which explains the symmetrical injuries.
The first 24 hours were tough. When Max was dropped off for surgery we were told that we could possibly pick him up was early as Wednesday if he was feeling fine. But, he wasn’t. The vet tech explained that he exhibited pain while shifting his weight. And he showed zero interest in eating. They recommended he stay another 24-48 hours in order for them to manage pain.
Thursday morning we were informed that Max was feeling great! He was eating and moving without any problems or signs of discomfort. They were confident that the little man was ready to go home!
The goal for the next two weeks is to keep him moving. Walking and small jumps will help him heal faster. Unfortunately for him, no climbing and no wrestling. To add insult to injury Max will have to wear an Elizabethan collar (commonly referred to as the Cone of Shame) when not being supervised. His stitches must stay clean and dry.
We’re looking forward to Max making a full recovery. He has never been a rambunctious kitty, which made us wonder if his physical condition contributed to that. Please send Max some positive kitty vibes. Though, we believe the worst is behind him.
We are still accepting donations even though the surgery is complete (we still have to pay that credit card bill!). If you would like to donate please check out Max’s Go Fund Me page. Thank you to everyone who has already donated. And a huge thank you to Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends for accepting Max into their program.
Camp Kitty is also holding a fundraiser for Max. We’re raffling off a Happy Camper Kit. It includes a $75 Camp Kitty gift card, a fleece mat, Tiki Cat variety pack, Orijen treats, From the Field catnip toy and a stylish tote. It’s valued at $125. Raffle tickets are only $5 or 3 for $12. C’mon down and enter! Drawing takes place April 15th.
If you have donated money and entered the raffle because you love Max so much, but feel you need more Max in your life then apply to adopt him!