March 2019 OrthoPets Case Study for the Canine Rehabilitation Institute: Katie the Cat
Katie, a 10-year-old domestic short hair, suffered from degenerative Achilles tendon changes which contributed to the rupture of her gastrocnemius and stretching of her superficial digital flexor tendon after falling off the counter last fall. She had surgery to repair the damaged tendon and to place a transcalcaneal screw to hold the joint in extension and minimize tension on the Achilles. The screw was removed 8 weeks later.
Katie then went to see OrthoPets partner, Dr. Tari Kern at Pawsitive Steps in Michigan. Cats don’t always make the best candidates for orthoses, but Dr. Kern is no stranger to working with felines. She will even walk them in the underwater treadmill, so she was up for the challenge. To reach Katie’s goal of returning to normal function, she was fitted with a pink camo tarsal paw orthosis with articulation at both the tarsus and paw and internal and external wedges. She moved well at her fitting, encouraged by moving her crate around the treatment room.
Rehab is not just for dogs. At her first follow-up visit, Katie climbed up and down stairs as well as rocked the “catalettis.” She has since advanced, and the paw shell has been removed. Dr. Kern continues to work with Katie on gait and hind limb and core strengthening.
LEFT: At her first follow-up visit, Katie rocks the “catalettis” and shows off her tarsal paw orthosis. RIGHT: Close-up of Katie’s device