There are two cats in my household, Artemis and Calliope. I've had Artemis for about 6 years and he is an awesome cat. (Calliope is pretty good, but still mellowing from being a crazy skittish kitten) Nearly 2 years ago Artemis came home with a really bad limp, and we rushed him to the vets to get it checked out. They assured us that nothing was broken and he'd just need to rest it. Thing is that, despite sleeping most of the day, it's actually really hard to make a cat rest since when they're not sleeping they're jumping over fences, chasing birds etc etc. 2 years on and the limp has never quite gone away. There have been times when it seemed fairly minor, and other times when it has clearly flared up. This year I decided that enough was enough, and asked the vet to x-ray his leg to figure out what is going on, and whether we could do anything about it. Now the thing is, I've never had Artemis insured. I should have, but never got around to it. So getting an x-ray is not a cheap option, at £160 just to find out what is going on. It turned out that the initial damage to the knee joint had triggered some growth of other tissue around the joint, causing nasty inflammation and general badness in what should be a smooth hinging joint. The vets presented me with 3 options.
1) refer to a 'specialist' this would certainly get the best possible results, but would be 'a couple of thousand pounds'...
2) get them to do surgery on the joint, they would clean it out as much as they can and generally do what they think is best to improve the situation. cost £700-800
3) take the leg off entirely. (I didn't bother to find out the cost of this option)
Initially I was quite surprised that option 3 was even on the table, he seemed to be coping well enough with a limp. I was told though that in situations like this it is basically getting worse, and could quite suddenly become unbearable for Artemis, and then I'd be in an emergency situation and there would be considerable distress. Luckily Artemis is a *really* awesome cat, and I happened to have enough money in savings to cover it, so I went for option 2. It turned out to be almost exactly £800, which once I'd added normal booster shots etc means he has cost me a little over £1000 in the last week.
Sadly for Artemis the recovery period from this ordeal requires me to keep him in a cage for up to 6 weeks. This is really hard to do, he clearly wants to get out and about, and I really want to let him out and make a fuss of him. And we're only a few days in, it's going to be really hard to do this for 6 weeks. At the moment the leg is clearly still sore, if all goes well in a few weeks I'll have to contend with keeping him in the cage despite things looking better, just to be on the safe side.
Being a geek I have set up a webcam to monitor Artemis in his cage, so I can check in on him from work. Mostly just to see him sleeping.
In this picture you can just about make out his bald leg where they had to shave him for the surgery.
In the mean time Calliope seems to really be appreciating having the run of the house and the choice of laps. It also means there was no doubt which one was responsible for the dead mouse this morning ;-)