atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5768: Nursing a kitten

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As you can see from the above, Maki is doing well. He seems to have an affinity for the IBM 1309 keyboard.

The issue here is where the fracture occurred. It took place near the knee, too close for a splint, which is why we had to have an expert operate on him. They did an ORIF: open reduction internal fixation, meaning they put a couple of pins in his femur to hold it together while it heals. If all goes well the pins can stay there for the rest of his life; it may be necessary to remove them under certain conditions, which we are fervently trying to avoid by doing everything the doctors told us to do, to the letter.

That means no running, no licking the incision, no climbing. Do you know how hard it is to keep a 9-week-old kitten from running? It also means physical therapy twice a day.

Fourth day post-op, he's got full extension back. He still complains a bit about it--I expect because it's uncomfortable--but there's absolutely no resistance to extension except muscular, because he's expecting it to hurt and he sometimes will "guard" by tensing his muscles. Flexion is still incomplete; I can't get his leg to fold up completely, but every day it gets a few more degrees back. Flexion doesn't bother him at all unless I really push it, but there's no need to push too hard because it's already really good, it's improving, and we've got three weeks to go. Anything less than 90 degrees is cause for alarm, but he's had better than that since he got home, and as I said it's getting better every day. Right now he can flex, from full extension, about 120 degrees, maybe a bit more (I don't exactly use a protractor). Once he's completely healed I expect him to have full range of motion, which allows the leg to fold up.

The interesting thing is that he can already put full weight on it. The doctor said he'd be able to do that immediately after the operation. I see him favoring it, but more and more I see him walking normally on it--especially after PT--and obviously it doesn't hurt very much when he's trying to run on it.

The big problem right now is he must wear the Cone of Shame for at least another ten days. Absent that I doubt he'd care much about anything; the cone bothers him mainly because he can't groom with it on, but we must keep his tongue off his incision until it's healed.

Today I took his cone off for the PT, and did it while he was laying on my chest and grooming himself. He purred loudly the entire time and barely noticed I was doing anything.

Because he's a kitten, the doctor expects full recovery by the end of August. It'd be longer if he were an adult, but kittens grow so quickly that the bone will heal that much faster. So we have one more road trip south at the end of August, and I hope fervently that will be the last time Maki has to go anywhere long-distance for a while.

To keep him out of trouble, we bought a kennel, and when he's unsupervised we put him in there (such as when we go out or to bed). It's a large dog kennel, big enough for him to move around in it without getting into trouble, and there's enough room for toys, food, water, and litter box. We got a good price on it thanks to PetSmart having an on-line sale they price-matched to. He doesn't like being in the kennel, either, but eventually he settles down and goes to sleep.

I thought that the PT and the kennel would make him hate me, but he seems to adore me. He constantly wants to be in my lap, he purrs loudly when I pick him up, and generally speaking he just lets me do whatever I want, so when I start massaging his leg (part of the PT) he just purrs and licks my hand.

So, when he's an adult, I'll now have two Maine Coons who try to sleep on my face. *sigh*

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