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Luxating Patella?

2408 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Tabbylove
My vet just diagnosed my young cat, Niles, with luxating patella, mainly in his left hind leg but also a bit in his right, she thinks. She said this is the first time in years she has seen the condition in a cat, but she sees it in dogs often. She said it's a really expensive surgery to fix, and a lot for a cat to go through. I got the idea that even if I had the money for and wanted him to have surgery, she might advise against it.

I'm a relatively new cast owner. I adopted Niles last February when he was 6 months old. So he's not even 2 yet--he will be in July. It breaks my heart that this young, energetic cat has a disability. It's been getting worse and worse since December, though it hasn't seemed to have gotten worse in the last month--maybe this will be as bad as it gets? He has a noticeable limp most of the time, and sometimes it looks like he is bowlegged when both legs are bothering him.

I don't know what to do. My mom actually took him to the vet because I was sick, so I didn't even get to talk to the vet myself. I am unemployed and probably will be so for a long time because of some chronic health problems. My parents are paying for all of the cat stuff, including vet bills. Aside from some supplements that the vet recommended (which my mom paid for), there's nothing I can afford to do for Niles.

Does anyone have any experience with this disability? Anyone have any good sights or videos I can watch so I can be sure he was diagnosed correctly? Should I get a second opinion? The only place I could afford to take him right now would be the low-cost clinic at the SPCA, but I guess that's at least something. She said the surgery to fix it would cost thousands. Should I start a savings fund now and hope that in a few years I might be able to afford to get this fixed, or will so much damage be done by then that it won't even matter? Is this kind of surgery even very successful? Ugh I HATE that it wasn't me taking to the vet--I've never had anyone take him tot he vet or anywhere else before, but I was so sick last week.

I am so depressed about this. I feel so sorry for him and I feel like a horrible mother. I'm thinking it was terrible for me to even adopt a cat when I couldn't afford any expensive medical treatment for him. I never thought he'd need a procedure that would cost this much at such a young age. He has gained so much weight lately because he's been running around less (yet he still runs around and jumps a lot--which worries me too now, because I keep thinking he's making it worse). I am a mess about this. :(

Please anyone if you have any helpful words or info, let me have it.
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i'm afraid i'll be no help at all because i didn't even know cats had patellas lol.

don't be a mess, it can't be helped. if you can't afford the surgery (and i would imagine it would be difficult for a lot of people to part with thousands for something like this that isn't life-threatening but uncomfortable--it would me) you just can't.

call the vet yourself. i'm sure she'll talk to you, i don't see why she wouldn't. ask her all those things. my vet gave me a pretty good website (that i've forgotten LOL--i'll get it again on monday) with tons and tons of useful information, and it isn't one of those ask-a-vet sites that charges you (and i wonder how valid a lot of their advice could be especially since they can't see the animal. maybe they use webcams, i have no idea).

also, don't let your cat gain weight. cut back on food, modify it, whatever, because it will only make the condition worse. it turns into a vicious cycle, just like with people. they get laid up, gain a lot of weight, that makes it hard to exercise, so they gain more weight, on and on.

if the vet isn't gung-ho on the surgery, i'd think there's a reason, so find out how uncomfortable this is. and the cat's already there, you can't worry about the past and not being able to afford expensive veterinary intervention. i wouldn't have my parents mortgage their house to pay for it if i were you, though. but i also wouldn't adopt any more pets until you're solvent, or in a better financial position.

that's all i got. :) good luck. this doesn't sound like the most horrible problem in the world (for a cat). i'm sure it's upsetting but try not to let it get you down. just be good to niles and i'm sure he'll be fine.
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Cinder, thanks, just hearing someone tell me that I shouldn't freak out about this too much or start looking into putting myself into ridiculous credit card debt makes me feel better. I'm going to call my vet on Monday. She didn't actually do an X-ray, because of the extra cost, so I'll find out how much that would be and maybe have that done so it'll be certain. That might give me more piece of mind.

There's no way I would get another cat or any more pets. I was doing really well health-wise when I adopted Niles. I had saved up a lot and was about to graduate college (finally--I was in school forever!). But then things went south for me that summer. I never would have adopted a cat if I thought I'd have to rely on my parents to pay for his stuff. I feel like such a failure about this whole thing.

You're right that it isn't the most horrible thing in the world, by a long shot. He just has a disability, and I love him even more for it. I just want him to be a happy little cat. My mom keeps reminding me that he's a lucky little guy--all of his litter mates were adopted out when they were much younger; no one seemed to want the all black cat, especially once he was no longer kitten-small. I'm so happy to be his mom. :)

I still will start that savings account though. A little at a time over a couple of years and I could afford to get him all fixed up. I was going to start an account soon to save for Lasix (I have the worst eyesight ever!), so I'll just make Niles my first priority. :)
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My younger kitty has luxating patellas in both knees :( When she was 8 months old they started popping out really bad. They said one leg was a lot worse than the other and the specialist recommended doing surgery which we did on one leg - it cost $1,800 after my 10 percent discount! (I work for a rescue). The hardest part was the cage rest after the surgery - we had to crate her for almost 2 months. then a few months after surgery they tell me she will need surgery on the other leg too. I haven't been able to do it yet due to cost but hopefully within the next year I will. In the meantime I keep hear lean, give supplements and stay away from food with grains as well as dry food. Dry food irritates joints as do grains. It's pretty rare in cats so only a good orthopedic surgeon is willing to do surgery on it.
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