When a two-year-old Bengal cat started to have left-hip problems in 2017, Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital performed a femoral head ostectomy (FHO), which involves removing part of the femur bone and has been done for decades. A year later, the right hip started to give the cat trouble. The owner returned to Purdue, but this time the veterinarians decided to perform the first feline hip replacement.
“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,” explains Dr. Sarah Malek, assistant professor of small animal orthopedic surgery. “Now it’s much more commercially available and technically feasible.”
Dr. Malek said the first human hip replacement actually was inspired by a procedure originally performed in dogs, and it has taken some time for the process to work its way from people back to small animals. She says total hip-replacement surgery better addresses quality of life issues than the FHO procedure.
The cat is doing well, currently in rehabilitation, just like any hip-replacement patient.