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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19294
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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Identify location & type of cat rear leg injury from video

Customer Question

Identify location & type of cat rear leg injury from video of symptoms
What specific injury would cause these symptoms:
With bad leg while sitting: Rotate/turn stifle out to the side, rest on outmost half of hock joint & shift weight off it every few seconds, and have foot slightly raised.
I am wanting to identify location of damage to know where to apply DMSO, and what to stabilize with homemade padded splint I will be designing to be semi-rigid or jointed.
Cat fell 5 feet off frig onto thin carpet and pile of boots 1 1/2 weeks prior to video.
Has been treated with joint & anti-inflammatory supplements, and topical DMSO on stifle.
I'm guessing most likely diagnosis might be-- cranial cruciate & medial collateral ligament tears, hock injury (tho not Achilles tendon), or broken bone???
Video at
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 6 months ago.
Hello. That video looks pretty consistent with a hip injury. My guess would be a hip luxation/ dislocation. This causes them to carry the leg with the stifle rotated out. They can still walk on the leg, but it hurts and that is why they stop. The treatment is surgical, so remove the head of the femur on that side. This is called an FHO procedure. I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Both her legs are the same length when extended behind her. I'd read they would be different lengths if it was a hip dislocation so I'm wondering if it might be something else?
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 6 months ago.
That works on occasion, but I find that to be an insensitive way to diagnose a hip luxation. You really need x-rays to see what's going on with the pelvis and leg. That would be my next step.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I checked her leg lengths 3 times over the last few days & they've looked very even. The videos I'm able to find on hip luxations also show extension of legs & length comparison as a pivotal clinical diagnostic, and the ones with x-rays also do.
Are there any other diagnoses that might be possible?
Thanks for helping me try to explore possibilities.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Her movements do look similar to some I saw in hip injury videos--esp. shifting weight & position. But she isn't pointing her toe out to the side like seems common. Instead she actually tries to rest the lower part of her leg on the outermost edge.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Would her symptoms seem to match with some type injury of metatarsus or lower? I wondered about hyperextension injury to lower tendon maybe? I checked & she is still able to support her weight on the bad leg on her toes if I lift her good leg off the ground (though she sinks down to sit pretty soon). With a partial tear from hyperextension would it make sense for her to still be able to do that, & would her leg position & especially the shifting around fit for that injury?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Another note--she was happily running around though limping before we caged her, & I'm sure would run around now if we let her. But she's also being content in cage, which seems to me like she realizes it's good to rest to help her injury.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Note: I may be off the computer a few hours but will check & respond later. Thanks!
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 6 months ago.
Sorry about that wait, I was taking my kid to day care. There are many other things this could be- pelvis injury, stifle/ ACL injury, metatarsus injury. They can all look pretty similar given the video I saw. The reason I lean toward a hip luxation is because that stifle is turned out. No matter what it is, you need x-rays. I wouldn't start putting DMSO on a cat without a diagnosis. That is a strong anti-inflammatory that can potentially cause kidney damage if used too liberally. If you get x-rays and need a second opinion on interpretation, post them here and I'd be happy to look.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thanks for your patience, too!
We are considering taking Tiny to a chiropractor who also does acupuncture (usually on people but sometimes treats animals) next week. Would be alright if I leave this question open until then in case we get some additional info that might help with figuring out this problem?
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 6 months ago.
You can leave this question open as long as needed. I'll be here if you need further assistance. Just reply on the thread and I'll get an email.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
A couple days ago, I also noticed Tiny will flinch & try to bite if I press on her back near her spine around her hips / tail.
We are going to take her for a chiropractic adjustment & probably acupuncture. Next week, I'll send an update with any questions that might come up and then submit feedback.
Thanks very much for your patience!
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 6 months ago.
I hope that helps. Let me know how it goes.

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