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yngver
October 5th 06, 07:57 PM
Has anyone had knee surgery (also called stifle joint) done on their
cat? I am just wondering how safe it is.

Our 8 year old cat had been having trouble climbing stairs, and when
the vet did x-rays, they showed some loose bits of cartilege in the
knee joints. He consulted with an orthopedic surgeon, who said that
surgery could be done to remove the bits. However, our vet recommended
putting her on Cosequin for a couple of months first to see if that
will help. He also recommended weight loss, which was kind of obvious.

She has lost about a pound and a half, and the Cosequin must be helping
since she seems a lot better. She still doesn't run much and sometimes
stands with her back legs a bit forward and her spine arched, as though
her knees hurt, but lately she is able to trot up the stairs normally
and is getting better about being able to jump up on things she
wouldn't even try a couple months ago. Our vet did say the loose bodies
in her joint won't go away on their own and will continue to cause
inflammation, so my husband wants to go ahead with the surgery, but I'm
hesitant since our cat seems much better and I'm not sure how risky
surgery may be. I'm afraid it could make things worse, and she is
almost back to her old self now. Anyone familiar with knee or joint
surgery in cats?
-yngver

Elle
October 5th 06, 11:53 PM
It's not exactly the same, but I have been caretaker for
over a year now to a cat who broke his hind ankle. After he
broke it, he landed at an animal rescue organization. The
org had been keeping an eye peeled for someone willing to do
the labor of post-surgery needs etc. It found me (or we
found each other), and the org paid for his surgery. The
surgery installed a metal splint in his ankle, so it's
rigid. But as a result, the muscles in that paw ceased to
atrophy, and he does not seem to be in any pain. He
gradually began to purr more and more after the surgery. I
think it was a rough six-month period all-told. He walks a
little funny but gets around fine. The post-surgery care was
a bit intense. Meds of course, and he had a cast and
Elizabethan collar. He also had to be restrained (in a large
pen with litter box) from jumping or running for around six
weeks. We saw the vet/vet techs once a week during that
time. Ultimately, to keep his bandage/cast clean, I switched
to "escorted litter box visits," so I could lift him out as
soon as he finished. Else he'd kick up the litter and get
his cast dirty.

The vet who repaired my cat's paw is specialized in
orthopedic surgery.

Sorry I can't add more on this specific case. Maybe google.

jmc
October 6th 06, 02:19 PM
Suddenly, without warning, yngver exclaimed (06-Oct-06 4:27 AM):
> Has anyone had knee surgery (also called stifle joint) done on their
> cat? I am just wondering how safe it is.
>
> Our 8 year old cat had been having trouble climbing stairs, and when
> the vet did x-rays, they showed some loose bits of cartilege in the
> knee joints. He consulted with an orthopedic surgeon, who said that
> surgery could be done to remove the bits. However, our vet recommended
> putting her on Cosequin for a couple of months first to see if that
> will help. He also recommended weight loss, which was kind of obvious.
>
> She has lost about a pound and a half, and the Cosequin must be helping
> since she seems a lot better. She still doesn't run much and sometimes
> stands with her back legs a bit forward and her spine arched, as though
> her knees hurt, but lately she is able to trot up the stairs normally
> and is getting better about being able to jump up on things she
> wouldn't even try a couple months ago. Our vet did say the loose bodies
> in her joint won't go away on their own and will continue to cause
> inflammation, so my husband wants to go ahead with the surgery, but I'm
> hesitant since our cat seems much better and I'm not sure how risky
> surgery may be. I'm afraid it could make things worse, and she is
> almost back to her old self now. Anyone familiar with knee or joint
> surgery in cats?
> -yngver
>

I don't know if it's the same surgery as has been suggested for my cat's
luxating patellas (locking stifles, for the horsey folks), but that
one's a pretty invasive surgery, with a two-month cage recovery.
However, it's supposed to be very successful, and a permanent fix.
Unlike horses, cats don't seem to develop arthritis of the stifle later
in life.

But, it sounds like this is just surgery to remove loose bits, not
nearly as dramatic... but I'd ask how similar it is to surgery to fix a
luxating patella...

My cat's 10 years old, I won't put her through it. She's getting older,
and also developing a cardiomyopathy. Her stifles aren't really bad, I
think they've always locked a little when she sits/lays certain ways,
she just stretches the kneecap back where it belongs. When she
occasionally limps, I set the flat of my hand under her foot, and flex
her leg up against her body, and she walks off sound.

Try the Cosequin first. Also, for the long term, you might want to take
a look at Dr. Fosters and Smith's joint products. Meep's on those -
she's on Joint Care 2 now - and it has helped her a lot. It generally
takes two weeks to show a visible effect.

If you can, when she's showing discomfort, try to keep her on a single
level (no stairs or jumping) for at least two weeks. It's hard, but
helped Meep when she injured her knee launching herself from my shoulder
and landing badly.

Good luck.

jmc

yngver
October 6th 06, 07:34 PM
On Oct 6, 8:19 am, jmc > wrote:
> Suddenly, without warning, yngver exclaimed (06-Oct-06 4:27 AM):
>
>
>
> > Has anyone had knee surgery (also called stifle joint) done on their
> > cat? I am just wondering how safe it is.
>
> > Our 8 year old cat had been having trouble climbing stairs, and when
> > the vet did x-rays, they showed some loose bits of cartilege in the
> > knee joints. He consulted with an orthopedic surgeon, who said that
> > surgery could be done to remove the bits. However, our vet recommended
> > putting her on Cosequin for a couple of months first to see if that
> > will help. He also recommended weight loss, which was kind of obvious.
>
> > She has lost about a pound and a half, and the Cosequin must be helping
> > since she seems a lot better. She still doesn't run much and sometimes
> > stands with her back legs a bit forward and her spine arched, as though
> > her knees hurt, but lately she is able to trot up the stairs normally
> > and is getting better about being able to jump up on things she
> > wouldn't even try a couple months ago. Our vet did say the loose bodies
> > in her joint won't go away on their own and will continue to cause
> > inflammation, so my husband wants to go ahead with the surgery, but I'm
> > hesitant since our cat seems much better and I'm not sure how risky
> > surgery may be. I'm afraid it could make things worse, and she is
> > almost back to her old self now. Anyone familiar with knee or joint
> > surgery in cats?
> > -yngverI don't know if it's the same surgery as has been suggested for my cat's
> luxating patellas (locking stifles, for the horsey folks), but that
> one's a pretty invasive surgery, with a two-month cage recovery.
> However, it's supposed to be very successful, and a permanent fix.
> Unlike horses, cats don't seem to develop arthritis of the stifle later
> in life.
>
> But, it sounds like this is just surgery to remove loose bits, not
> nearly as dramatic... but I'd ask how similar it is to surgery to fix a
> luxating patella...
>
> My cat's 10 years old, I won't put her through it. She's getting older,
> and also developing a cardiomyopathy. Her stifles aren't really bad, I
> think they've always locked a little when she sits/lays certain ways,
> she just stretches the kneecap back where it belongs. When she
> occasionally limps, I set the flat of my hand under her foot, and flex
> her leg up against her body, and she walks off sound.
>
> Try the Cosequin first. Also, for the long term, you might want to take
> a look at Dr. Fosters and Smith's joint products. Meep's on those -
> she's on Joint Care 2 now - and it has helped her a lot. It generally
> takes two weeks to show a visible effect.
>
> If you can, when she's showing discomfort, try to keep her on a single
> level (no stairs or jumping) for at least two weeks. It's hard, but
> helped Meep when she injured her knee launching herself from my shoulder
> and landing badly.
>
> Good luck.
>
> jmc

Thanks, this is helpful. My husband talked to someone he works with who
told him that with dogs, they just go in and remove the loose bits with
tweezers so it's a simple surgery. But I will have to find out from the
surgeon what he would actually do--if that's all it is, I guess it's
not so bad. It's just that if the loose cartilege is always going to be
there and will eventually erode the joints I guess we should do
something, and my husband thinks sooner is better than later.

I should also have mentioned that upon the advice of this board, I
began feeding her Royal Canin for Maine Coon cats. This food has joint
care supplements added since apparently Maine Coons tend to have joint
problems. I'm not sure if it's just the Cosequin itself that has made
the difference, or the Royal Canin as well, but lately she seems
remarkably better. I also wonder if, since the vet said this type of
thing is normally due to an injury, whatever happened has healed up.
I'd almost like to have new x-rays done but our vet requires anesthesia
to do orthopedic x-rays because he said cats won't hold still in the
necessary position long enough. And I hate to have her anesthesized
just for x-rays--last time he did the x-rays after a dental.

At first I thought her problem might be luxating patellae, since it
always seemed to me her knees tremble a little once in a while, but the
x-rays would have shown that. I know in milder cases of luxating
patella, surgery isn't needed.

I don't know if we could stand to cage our cat for a period of time if
that were necessary for recuperation, so that's an issue. She would
hate that. But she isn't much of a runner or jumper anyway, so I think
that part we could control.
-yngver

yngver
October 6th 06, 07:46 PM
On Oct 5, 5:53 pm, "Elle" > wrote:
> It's not exactly the same, but I have been caretaker for
> over a year now to a cat who broke his hind ankle. After he
> broke it, he landed at an animal rescue organization. The
> org had been keeping an eye peeled for someone willing to do
> the labor of post-surgery needs etc. It found me (or we
> found each other), and the org paid for his surgery. The
> surgery installed a metal splint in his ankle, so it's
> rigid. But as a result, the muscles in that paw ceased to
> atrophy, and he does not seem to be in any pain. He
> gradually began to purr more and more after the surgery. I
> think it was a rough six-month period all-told. He walks a
> little funny but gets around fine. The post-surgery care was
> a bit intense. Meds of course, and he had a cast and
> Elizabethan collar. He also had to be restrained (in a large
> pen with litter box) from jumping or running for around six
> weeks. We saw the vet/vet techs once a week during that
> time. Ultimately, to keep his bandage/cast clean, I switched
> to "escorted litter box visits," so I could lift him out as
> soon as he finished. Else he'd kick up the litter and get
> his cast dirty.
>
> The vet who repaired my cat's paw is specialized in
> orthopedic surgery.
>
> Sorry I can't add more on this specific case. Maybe google.

Thanks for the info. It seems to me that the muscles in our cat's hind
legs are weaker because of the bad knees, and I guess if we don't get
the surgery they would atrophy. The post-surgery care does sound
intense. I'm not sure we could bear to keep our cat caged for that
long, but I guess we would have to find a way to keep her from going up
and down the stairs. I already put a ramp next to the bed so she
doesn't have to jump up or down and she does use it. She would be okay
with meds; she isn't hard to pill.

Anyway, thanks, this gives me some idea of what to ask the surgeon
about recovery.
-yngver

Lynne
October 6th 06, 08:59 PM
yngver wrote:
> Has anyone had knee surgery (also called stifle joint) done on their
> cat? I am just wondering how safe it is.
>
> Our 8 year old cat had been having trouble climbing stairs, and when
> the vet did x-rays, they showed some loose bits of cartilege in the
> knee joints. He consulted with an orthopedic surgeon, who said that
> surgery could be done to remove the bits. However, our vet recommended
> putting her on Cosequin for a couple of months first to see if that
> will help. He also recommended weight loss, which was kind of obvious.
>
> She has lost about a pound and a half, and the Cosequin must be helping
> since she seems a lot better. She still doesn't run much and sometimes
> stands with her back legs a bit forward and her spine arched, as though
> her knees hurt, but lately she is able to trot up the stairs normally
> and is getting better about being able to jump up on things she
> wouldn't even try a couple months ago. Our vet did say the loose bodies
> in her joint won't go away on their own and will continue to cause
> inflammation, so my husband wants to go ahead with the surgery, but I'm
> hesitant since our cat seems much better and I'm not sure how risky
> surgery may be. I'm afraid it could make things worse, and she is
> almost back to her old self now. Anyone familiar with knee or joint
> surgery in cats?
> -yngver

I had similar surgery on my knee last winter. It looked like a snow
globe before the surgery, with bits of cartilege and bone floating
around. It was very painful (for years), but I felt brand new after
the surgery and a minimal recovery. If the risk is minimal with your
cat and if she has the same results as I did, I'd get her the surgery.

I imagine it will be harder for her, emotionally, though. Not knowing
what is happening to her and why is what would trouble me. I'm sure
with your loving care, she will get through it, though.

yngver
October 9th 06, 04:12 PM
On Oct 6, 2:59 pm, "Lynne" > wrote:
> yngver wrote:
> > Has anyone had knee surgery (also called stifle joint) done on their
> > cat? I am just wondering how safe it is.
>
> > Our 8 year old cat had been having trouble climbing stairs, and when
> > the vet did x-rays, they showed some loose bits of cartilege in the
> > knee joints. He consulted with an orthopedic surgeon, who said that
> > surgery could be done to remove the bits. However, our vet recommended
> > putting her on Cosequin for a couple of months first to see if that
> > will help. He also recommended weight loss, which was kind of obvious.
>
> > She has lost about a pound and a half, and the Cosequin must be helping
> > since she seems a lot better. She still doesn't run much and sometimes
> > stands with her back legs a bit forward and her spine arched, as though
> > her knees hurt, but lately she is able to trot up the stairs normally
> > and is getting better about being able to jump up on things she
> > wouldn't even try a couple months ago. Our vet did say the loose bodies
> > in her joint won't go away on their own and will continue to cause
> > inflammation, so my husband wants to go ahead with the surgery, but I'm
> > hesitant since our cat seems much better and I'm not sure how risky
> > surgery may be. I'm afraid it could make things worse, and she is
> > almost back to her old self now. Anyone familiar with knee or joint
> > surgery in cats?
> > -yngverI had similar surgery on my knee last winter. It looked like a snow
> globe before the surgery, with bits of cartilege and bone floating
> around. It was very painful (for years), but I felt brand new after
> the surgery and a minimal recovery. If the risk is minimal with your
> cat and if she has the same results as I did, I'd get her the surgery.
>
> I imagine it will be harder for her, emotionally, though. Not knowing
> what is happening to her and why is what would trouble me. I'm sure
> with your loving care, she will get through it, though.

Thanks, Lynne, that is helpful to know. Although the vet said it didn't
appear to be very painful for her, of course he only saw her in his
clinic and you know how cats will hide pain if they are scared. At home
I can tell she must have been in pain because now that she is better,
she is much more lively, affectionate, and playful. She also doesn't
stand with her spine sort of hunched as much as she had been. My
husband pointed out that since she just turned 9, if we wait the
surgery might be harder on her as she gets older.

I don't know, maybe it won't be much scarier for her than when she has
a dental cleaning; I'm sure they anesthesize them for this surgery but
I guess she won't understand why her knee hurts from the incision. I
don't know what kind of bandaging they use either. She does get very
grouchy about things like this so I hope it would be a short recovery
period.

Anyway, my husband is going to talk to our vet again today and see what
he says about referring us to the orthopedic surgeon. If we have the
surgery done I'd like to schedule it right before I'm off for the
holidays so I can be home to care for her.
-yngver