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Old 08-16-2009, 03:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cat has broken leg *UPDATE* It's been amputated.

My cat broke his right front leg 2 days ago and we could not get into a vet today. The vet took an xray, and there is a fracture in his humerus bone. She gave us two options: either a surgery to set it and insert pins at about $2,000+ or a bandage. The surgery was not an option since we could not afford it. After coming back to pick up Snuffy, the vet told us she could not properly align the bones and therefore the leg would not be able to set properly and may never heal. She put the bandage on him anyway and sent him home with us $600 lighter.
I need an opinion on this vet's actions and I'd also like to know if Snuffy will calm down about having this huge cast on his arm.

*UPDATE*
I came home today to Snuffy's back paws bleeding and the claws missing. He hadn't been scratching the cast that much but now he'd done it so much he ripped off his claws. My fiancee was home at the time, he said Snuffy wouldn't even let him get close. When I got home, he had calmed down enough to let me hold him and look at him. I had already looked up a different vet and took a look at some reviews myself this time (previous vet was found by my mother) and called them and made an appointment within the next hour. The whole cab ride he was crying and shuddering, obviously in worse pain even with the pain medication we had been given.

This vet was much more... I can't think of the words to describe it. She seemed more professional. I am a woman and there's a reason for the phrase "a woman's intuition" She basically sais she that the was the cast was made could be making it worse, and possibly causing Snuffy to "flip out". She took more x-rays (at about 3/5 the cost) and it confirmed it, the peices of the bone are now further apart than the initial break and there is now a piece completely broken off. She gave me two options as well: surgery or amputation.

Amputation was an option I had already considered since the other vet first told me it would probably never heal (this was after she hadn't been able to put the bones back together and put on the splint). Snuffy will be happy even with three legs, and I still can't afford the surgery. So I went with amputation.

The vet now has him at her home. She will be giving me a call telling me how he's doing. I'm very happy with this vet and I'll be going to her from now on. On top of that, they were completely willing to work with my financial situation.

I don't think I should continue to make payments to the other vet. I'd like advice on this.

I'm just happy that Snuffy won't be in so much pain. I don't want to hear him like that again.
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Old 08-16-2009, 06:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat has broken leg

My old cat broke a leg and i couldnt afford the op it never healed properly, she always had a limp the poor thing
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat has broken leg

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quality
My cat broke his right front leg 2 days ago and we could not get into a vet today. The vet took an xray, and there is a fracture in his humerus bone. She gave us two options: either a surgery to set it and insert pins at about $2,000+ or a bandage. The surgery was not an option since we could not afford it. After coming back to pick up Snuffy, the vet told us she could not properly align the bones and therefore the leg would not be able to set properly and may never heal. She put the bandage on him anyway and sent him home with us $600 lighter.
I need an opinion on this vet's actions and I'd also like to know if Snuffy will calm down about having this huge cast on his arm.
Are you thinking the vet did something wrong?
Just having the cast on will usually make the pain of the broken bone better. You do need to keep him confined, possibly a large dog crate, so he won't get too active and reinjure it. When is the follow up visit?
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Old 08-16-2009, 10:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat has broken leg

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quality
I need an opinion on this vet's actions...
An opinion on doing what? For doing *exactly* as *you* asked?
I think the vet did the best job they could within the limitations *you* governed. The vet wanted to do surgery to properly set the leg and you said: "No" to the higher cost of surgery. So they instead performed the second, cheaper, less effective option that *you* chose.
What do you want the vet to do? Perform a $2,000 surgery for free? I doubt they'd be in business long at that rate...

Please, I understand financial limitations and that we sometimes just don't have the money for all of the things we want, but IMO this surgery was something the cat needed and your decision to decline the better option will impact your cat. Not your vet.


We had a feral tomcat I had been taming and we returned from a vacation to find he had a broken hind leg. We took him to the vet and they put him in a cast and neutered him. He did fine. We had him confined to a hastily built "hutch" that was about 2.5'x2.5' and eventually, we were able to let him roam inside the house and he adapted well.
Granted, my cat's break was not a complete break like your cats', and I think an added problem for your cat is that your vet was unable to properly align his bones AND being the humerus bone, I doubt a cast is going to be able to imobilize it so it *can* heal.
I think you should have opted for the surgey.
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Old 08-16-2009, 10:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat has broken leg

Like Heidi, I understand that finances can impact on how we treat our pets - indeed I was facing a situation similar to you a few weeks back (removal of eye or refer to very expensive specialist) - but in this case, as the vet must know that the cats leg wont heal properly, surgery should have been insisted on.
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Old 08-16-2009, 10:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat has broken leg

The vet did what they could given the limitations you set in place. By not opting for the surgery, you accepted the risks associated with choosing the less expensive cast option.
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Old 08-16-2009, 12:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat has broken leg

Yes, I understand surgery was the best option, and I could not afford it. So I went with the riskier option.
Perhaps I did not explain thouroughly. It was 2am when I wrote that, I couldn't sleep because I was worrying so much over him.

The cast she put on his seems rushed. Our family had a cat who had a broken leg a few years ago and this one seems so bulky in comparison. I don't remember which bone was broken on the previous cat so that could make a difference.

Everything that she did just seemed hasty and rushed. Like she didn't give her all because it was the end of the day and working on him went past closing. Also the fact that she kept calling Snuffy a she makes me feel that she didn't read the information I had given them. I'm not the only one who had this feeling, my mother and finacee who were with me felt the same too.

I'm waiting on a dog crate to come in from my grandmother today, we'll be keeping him in that. Follow up visit is in two weeks. He seems to have trouble sitting up or standing up. ): I had to prop him up so he could eat and drink.
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Well...I wouldn't get too upset over he/she. Some people (including vets) can get a 'gender' stuck in their head and may call all dogs 'boys' and all cats 'girls' or vice/versa. Not much of a big deal to me, considering the number of animals they see and how the gender of many pets are not readily apparent unless you are staring directly at The Evidence of their gender.
As long as the vet calls my pet by the correct species, I'm good.

As to perhaps feeling rushed about the cast ... is it possible the vet was disappointed, disgusted, offended, angry or whatever ... because you chose an option the vet knew was not a good one for the cat and just wanted to get you all out of her office? I happen to agree with your vet in thinking the chances of this leg healing are slim-to-none. I think the surgery should have been done.

If this $600 cast effort is unsuccessful, what then?
Will you then attempt the surgery the vet first suggested?
Will you have the vet perform a surgery to remove the damaged and useless leg?
Will you have the cat humanely euthanized?
Can you call around and "price-shop" for that type of surgery?
Can you ask *this* vet about the cost for external fixaters (this *may* be what they had in mind with the original quote) for the broken bone?

Best of luck to you and your Snuffy-kitty.

Here is The Wanderer in his hutch in the barn:

Here he is a few weeks later, in the house:
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat has broken leg

From what I understand, the leg can be 'rebroken' and reset if necessary?
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Old 08-16-2009, 02:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't think you understand. I'm very poor. It's not that I just chose not to spend the money for the operation -- I simply don't have it. I can afford to take care of my cat but when it comes to something like this, I'm simply at a loss.

Yes, if it can't be healed, I'll ask the vet to remove it. Even with it broken, Snuffy insisted on jumping on the counter in front of the vet -- and jumping off when she moved toward him. He'll be very happy with three legs if it is necessary. But I'm willing to give this a shot first.
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