Ilial Fracture Repair
Smokey went missing for a week and when he came home his owners realised he was hurt – he was struggling to get around on his back legs. He went into his vets where they determined Smokey had sustained a severe fracture to his pelvis.
Figure 1: Smokey the cat
The pelvis supports the back legs and is important in movement. As well as preventing a patient from moving around comfortably, pelvic fractures can be associated with damage to some of the major nerves that exit the spine close to the pelvis which provide movement and sensation to the back legs, and control whether the animal can go to the toilet normally. Therefore, Smokey was kept in hospital until the vets were sure he was able to feel and move both his back feet, and checked he could pass urine. After that, Smokey was referred to YourVets Referral Service for repair of his pelvic fracture.
Figure 2: x-ray showing Smokey’s fractured ilium
The fracture Smokey has was to the ilium, the long flat bone at the front of the pelvis (this is the bone you can feel on your hips!). Because the muscles of the back are so strong, it is common after an ilial fracture for the back part of the pelvis to be pulled centrally and forward, which if left untreated would cause pain in moving the hip and back leg, and difficulty passing motions due to narrowing of the pelvic canal. In female cats, it would also mean they couldn’t give birth to kittens. Kathryn, the vet, chose a bone plate and screws to repair Smokey’s fracture. This method of fixation means that the normal position of the bone is restored straight away, so the patient can move more normally, without requiring any external fixation that might prevent comfortably sitting and lying down. After this type of fracture repair, most of the strength of the repair comes from the metal plate rather than the bone for the first 6-12 weeks. This means that extreme forces, such as those caused by running and jumping, must be avoided as metal can bend if high pressure is applied to it.
Figure 3: x-ray showing Smokey’s fracture repair using a bone plate and screws
After surgery, Smokey was allowed to go home the next day, where his owners kept him confined to a large dog cage to stop him jumping or climbing on furniture while his bones were healing. After 6 weeks, follow-up x-rays showed Smokey had made a full recovery, and he was signed off.
Figure 4: Smokey relaxing at home after being signed off from surgery
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