The orthopedic team at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine had high hopes for Fridgey, a two-year-old Bengal cat brought in by his owner in 2017 for left hip issues.
The orthopedic team performed a femoral head ostectomy (FHO), but Fridgey’s problems then shifted to his right hip, and his owner again brought him to Purdue. This time, Mark Rochat, DVM, MS, DAVCS, clinical professor of small animal orthopedic surgery, department of veterinary clinical sciences, and Sarah Malek, DVM, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery, performed a total hip replacement.
The procedure had never been performed on a feline patient at Purdue.
Hip replacements have been performed on larger dogs for almost 40 years, but smaller dogs and cats had to hold off until the last 10 to 15 years, waiting for the technology to catch up, according to Dr. Rochat.
“The technology has been around for years; it’s just that the availability of the systems and training for the people performing the procedures weren’t as commonplace in the past,” Dr. Malek said. “Now it’s much more commercially available and technically feasible.”
The first human hip replacement was inspired by a procedure originally performed on dogs, and it has taken some time for the process to migrate from humans to small animals, Malek said. Further, total hip replacement surgery could better addresses quality of life issues than the common FHO procedure, she added.
Fridgey, who had his surgery in March, is doing just fine four months post-surgery and has begun a rehabilitation program, which includes use of an underwater treadmill, Rochat said.