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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Cat
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Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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I have a sphynx with a floating sternum. He has a good appetite,

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I have a sphynx with a floating sternum. He has a good appetite, but is lethargic and appears to breathe heavily. Our vet has x-rayed him and diagnosed that it is a floating sternum and that surgery is not necessary. However, he is only a six month old kitten and just eats and sleeps and does not play with the other kittens. Is there a surgery to correct his abnormality? Thank you.
Hello. My name isXXXXX will be happy to help you. Just to make sure we are on the same page, I do have a couple questions for you. Does Zoly have a flat chested appearance, or are you referring more to a rib that is protruding?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

His chest looks normal to me. My husband says that he believes the protrusion is above the rib cage. Our vet took multiple x-rays. I suppose it could be a rib that is protruding, but wouldn't that have shown up in the x-ray? Vet described it as pectus excavation - mild form of the condition. Sternum caudally displaced from ribcage causing a "hole" effect. I am quoting from his health certificate.

Thanks for the information. In mild cases of pectus excavatum, surgery may not be necessary. They may do fine on their own. With mild cases, your vet can show you how to manually compress the chest to help the cartilages take on a more normal shape. They can even apply a splint. The problem is that at 6 months of age, the cartilage is probably less pliable, so compression may not help. Moderate to severe cases usually require surgery to correction. If there is any type of respiratory problem, then surgery is your best option for alleviating the symptoms. You would most likely need to be referred to a board certified veterinary surgeon, though. It sounds like he has some respiratory difficulty, so surgery may be the best option for him. I am not sure what the "hole effect" is your vet described. It isn't a standard radiology term, at least not one I am familiar with. If you will consider surgery, I would have your vet refer you to a surgeon and bring the x-rays for them to evaluate and give you the best options. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. I hope this answers your questions.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, please rate it. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We will look for a qualified surgeon. He also does not always use the litter pan. Could this be a symptom of his discomfort? It seemed to take him an extended time to urinate this morning when he did get in the litter pan while I was cleaning it. Our vet prescribed Metronidazole which we have been giving him.

If he is having issues getting into the litter pan, that is possible, but he may have a urinary tract infection as well, especially if he is straining to urinate and nothing to very little urine is coming out. I would cup your hand under his belly and see if you can feel a large, firm water balloon type mass; or if it is painful for him. If that is the case, he may have a urinary blockage, which is considered an emergency. Hope this helps.
Dr. John and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Elaine,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Zoly. How is everything going?

Dr. John

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