Mickey - fracture repair after road traffic accident
Mickey is a 1 year old domestic short haired cat that presented to us after a suspected road traffic accident. He was unable to walk and was having difficulty breathing. Conscious radiographs revealed a fractured right femur (hind leg) and a pneumothorax (this is when air leaks into the space between the lungs & chest wall. The air pushes on the lung causing the lung to collapse). This happened due to the force of impact. The priority for Mickey was to first address the pneumothorax and stabilise his breathing. The plan was to repair the fracture after a few days when he was in a more stable condition for a general anaesthetic.
122ml of air was drained from Mickey's chest and he was kept in an oxygen chamber with critical care nursing. Mickey's breathing settled well over the next day and he was able to be removed from the continuous oxygen therapy and transferred into our cattery ward. He was kept comfortable on cage rest and pain relief until the Vets decided he was well enough for his fracture repair surgery.
A few days later Mickey's surgery was scheduled. As you can see from the image, Mickey's fracture was a comminuted fracture (this is when the bone is broken and splintered into a number of pieces). This made surgery much more complicated and meant his recovery would be heavily dependant on strict rest. This is because the bone would be relying on the implant to take his weight as the leg had no stability. Once Mickey was asleep radiographs were again performed to ensure Mickey's pneumothorax had completely healed, which it had, and that there were no other injuries sustained to his pelvis. This confirmed his fractured femur was his only injury and Martin took Mickey into theatre. An intra-medullary pin was placed within the centre of the bone to bring the two main parts of the femur together with an external fixator then tied in to bring support to the leg and prevent any rotation. Mickey recovered very well and was discharged home the next day for his owners to continue with his aftercare.
We have seen Mickey regularly over the last few weeks for cleaning of the pins and replacement of the dressings and we are pleased to report he is doing well. The plan will be to remove the external fixator after 6 weeks if radiographs show adequate healing of the bone.