Veterinarians perform Purdue's first-ever hip replacement on a cat

July 24, 2018

Two-year-old Bengal cat named Fridgey is recovering well.Image courtesy of Lauren Bruce.

Image courtesy of Lauren Bruce.

When 2-year-old Bengal cat Fridgey began having problems with his hips, his owner took him to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Purdue University's College of Veterinary Medicine. The orthopedic team performed a femoral head ostectomy (FHO), a common procedure, on the cat's left hip in 2017, but he began to have problems with the right hip, a university release says. That's when the team of surgeons, lead by Mark Rochat, DVM, MS, clinical professor of small animal orthopedic surgery, and Sarah Malek, DVM, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery, decided to perform a total hip replacement in March 2018.

While hip replacements are common in human medicine, the procedure has never been used on a feline patient at Purdue, the release states.

“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,” Dr. Malek says in the release. “Now it's much more commercially available and technically feasible.”

Dr. Malek explains that the first human hip replacement was inspired by a procedure originally performed on dogs, and it took some time for the process to come back into small animal medicine from people. Dr. Malek also notes that total hip replacement could better address quality-of-life issues than the FHO procedure.  

Since his surgery, which was a success, Fridgey has rested and had physical rehabilitation sessions at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which began immediately following the procedure. A video of one of these sessions is available here.