Purdue Veterinarians Perform Successful Feline Hip Replacement

August 12, 2018
Amanda Carrozza

Amanda Carrozza is a freelance writer and editor in New Jersey.

A young Bengal cat has the distinction of being the first feline to receive a total hip replacement at Purdue Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

When veterinarians at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Purdue University's College of Veterinary Medicine were first presented with Fridgey, a 2-year-old Bengal cat, in 2017, the cat had just started to have problems with its hips. After a thorough evaluation, the hospital’s orthopedic surgery team performed a femoral head ostectomy (FHO) on his left hip, removing part of the femur.

However, when Fridgey’s owners noticed the cat began to display discomfort on his right side, they returned to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Rather than perform a second FHO, the surgery team took an alternate route. For the first time at Purdue University, the team—led by Mark Rochat, DVM, clinical professor of small animal orthopedic surgery, and Sarah Malek, DVM, assistant professor of small animal orthopedic surgery—performed a total hip replacement surgery.

“The technology has been around for years,” Dr. Malek said. “It's just that the availability of the systems and training for the people performing the procedures weren't as commonplace in the past. Now it's much more commercially available and technically feasible."

Fridgey’s surgery took place in March, with physical therapy sessions at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital commencing immediately after surgery. The team is happy to report that Fridgey is well on the way to recovery.

According to Dr. Malek, the total hip replacement surgery better addresses quality of life issues than the FHO procedure, which has been done for decades in dogs and cats to treat hip dysplasia, severe fractures, and arthritis.