View Full Version : Hip Dysplasia intel dump & Louis update

Brian Link
December 23rd 06, 01:01 AM
I finally found the right keywords to use to search for info on Feline
Hip Dysplasia, and spoken to my vet a few times. Since searching this
newsgroup has found me precious little info on the condition, I
thought I'd toss off a few info bits in case anyone comes back here to

1. websites I've found most useful:

2. Awareness of HD in cats is still evolving. Not many years ago, it
was not widely appreciated that they could get the condition. Mostly
this is due to the fact that the symptoms rarely are as bad as they
were for Louis - a sudden, painful femoral subluxation.

3. Treatment is most commonly supplements (Glucosamine, minerals),
anti-inflammatories and pain meds (non-steroidal, although cats
supposedly tolerate steroids better than dogs). Some articles suggest
that surgery is rare to treat this in cats. My own vet seems pretty
gung-ho to do a Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO).

4. In an FHO, the ball of the femur articulating with the pelvis is
removed. The soft tissues surrounding the joint are enough to hold the
leg into position and provide support. This surgery is highly
thought-of among vets, and cats apparently can regain almost full
mobility afterward - and most importantly, elimination of pain. Very
tough on owners though, since the cat can't stand, walk or crouch for
a few days after the surgery.

5. FHD is incurable. Gradually arthritis overwhelms the joint, and at
some point the scarring and inflammation will prevent the joint from
working at all without incredible pain.

6. My vet didn't think Louis' broken leg (the one attached to the
affected hip) at age six months is responsible, though I wonder if
having that leg immobilized for several weeks at that young age may
have affected the proper growth of the joint.

7. In dogs, euthanasia is sometimes the only option. In cats, I have
yet to come across any cases where the animal had to be put down (not
that they're not out there). This mostly has to do with their size and
musculature, apparently.

8. Breeds that have been discovered to have increased incidence of FHD
are large breeds such as Maine Coons, as well as Rex and Siamese.
We're trying to locate Louis' pedigree and find out what the original
hybrid parent's breed was (we were guaranteed he would be "free from
genetic defect", which if we have any legal recourse, may pay for part
of any treatment or surgery).

9. FHD is genetic, but not congenital. It doesn't present at birth.
For a cat to get FHD, both parents need to have it or be carriers for
the genetic markers.

We'll be getting a second opinion, seeing as our vet is so
enthusiastic about doing an FHO. We're pretty confident about the
diagnosis though, since it was proposed by our vet and validated by
the U of M radiologist, who's a good guy.

The most horrible thing about this though is that Louis was an
extremely athletic and energetic cat prior to the diagnosis. I really
hope we can get good care for him. At least as advertised, the
treatment options (from conservative to agressive), seem to offer some
hope that he'll be able to jump up on our refrigerator again some day.

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