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Torn Achilles tendon in cats?

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  • Torn Achilles tendon in cats?

    Has anyone had a cat with this injury?

    My cat somehow injured himself by trying to climb up into the cieling rafters in our unfinished basement (to which we are now attempting to stuff with insulation so none of the felines will attempt this again....). I noticed a bloody gash on his leg and that he was walking with a severe limp.... not a limp from pain, but a limp like he couldn't physically walk correctly. On his hind leg, instead of walking up on his toes like a cat does, he is walking with his entire heel down, like a rabbit.

    We took him to the vet, who said it is likely he tore his Achilles tendon. Surgery is $3000 and has an extremely low success rate, so he advised is to keep his leg bandaged and hope that it starts to heal on its own.

    Has anyone had a cat with this injury? Did it heal and resume normal leg function?

    My poor guy!

  • #2
    Really? We see this frequently and never had a problem with surgery recovery rates as long as a proper brace and rehab is initiated.

    Another option is a cat-friendly brace.

    Was this diagnosed by a specialist or your regular vet? Might be worth having an orthopedic surgeon have a peek at it, an MRI or ultrasound to detect how severed or strained the tendon is. ACP injections (similar to IRAP) can often help with partially torn or strained tendons. They are realtively cheap and can really help speed recovery time even if conservative management is the option chosen!

    Good luck with your kitty!!!
    Last edited by SquishTheBunny; Feb. 15, 2013, 02:46 PM.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
      Really? We see this frequently and never had a problem with surgery recovery rates as long as a proper brace and rehab is initiated.

      Another option is a cat-friendly brace.

      Was this diagnosed by a specialist or your regular vet? Might be worth having an orthopedic surgeon have a peek at it, an MRI or ultrasound to detect how severed or strained the tendon is. ACP injections (similar to IRAP) can often help with partially torn or strained tendons.
      Should we get a second opinion? It was our regular vet who told us this, but he consulted with a specialist about it and the specialist was the one who said it had a low success rate.

      What do you think the healing prognosis is without surgery? He does have a little brace on it right now that the vets put on.


      • #4
        I suppose in cats its a lower success rate because the brace might not be as customizable. Its more a "dog" thing to do, and in dogs we have had great success with surgery. It really depends on how much money you have to spend, I really dont think its the end of the world to try conservative management for a few months and see if there is any change. To know for sure what you are dealing with, imaging (MRI, ultrasound) etc. is beneficial before surgery and that adds to the cost.

        They can heal and develop enough scar tissue with conservative management, there are surgical options (that dont fix the tendon, but stabilize the joint) like an arthrodesis or pin placement that can also help relieve pain (if there is any pain after scar tissue builds...soemtimes there isnt). Lots of options, and to be honest it might be worth a consult with a boarded orthopedic specialist to just present you with all the options, and give you a timeline for conservative treatment A consult is generally $100-$175 and you certainly dont have to commit to do anything, but at least a fresh set of educated eyes can give you a wealth of information.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for all your input, guys. I'll let you know if any progress is made!


          • Original Poster

            Alright everyone... so here's the update:

            Since we were beginning to have doubts about our vet's diagnosis, we took our little orange cat to another clinic to get a second opinion. Immediately upon seeing him walk, they said that without a doubt, his Achilles was completely severed and would not heal on its own. She said that the surgery to (maybe) fix it would ballpark around $3000, with two months in a hard cast and the unknown possibility that it might not be fixed at all. She said that especially since it's been a few weeks since this happened, the scar tissue has already started forming around the area and once they get in there, it might not be as simple as just reattaching the tendons.

            Anyway, this didn't really seem like a good option for our guy, so the other option is amputation. This is still $1200, but obviously there isn't the risk that it will or will not work... and he's basically already functioning like a three legged cat who just has a dysfunctional limb getting in his way.

            We told them we would let them know our decision by tomorrow, but at this point we are leaning heavily toward amputation. Seems the best thing for him right now.