I can't think of a graceful segue into this story, so I'm going to dive right in.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Boone started limping. We assumed he sprained it after a high jump or rough wrestling with Amelie. At his annual check-up, he was noticeably better, so it seemed that he just needed time to recover.
Monday night was normal... until 11:00 p.m. when I heard Boone climb (or attempt to) a cat perch behind the couch, and then he let out an abnormal cry. I assumed she wanted to wrestle and accidentally bumped his lame leg. (Boone and Amelie are incredibly good-natured felines. We are told this by every vet they meet. In a situation where other cats would claw and growl, these little guys might give a long meow or turn their heads away.) He cried again... and again. I walked over to find him propping himself up with only his front arms. Amelie gave him space but didn't go far. You don't want to play with Amie, baby boy? He tried to walk but couldn't. Oh, my God. Booney, what's wrong? He tried again.
Clearly, he couldn't use both legs, so I ran into the bedroom and said, "Honey, something is really wrong with Booney. He can't walk at all." Like lightning bolts, we were dressed and in the car on the way to the E.R. After a few hours, this is what we learned.
Boone wasn't built properly. Whether it is a genetic disorder or something that happened to him as a kitten that affected his development, his growth plates didn't grow, and his bones don't fit. It's highly likely that he has experienced pain, but it took one wrong move to break the camel's back -- or in our case, break the kitty's hips.
We got home at 2:00 a.m. I was in bed at 3:00 a.m. and woke up at 6:30 a.m. to go to work for a bit before our appointment with a veterinary orthopedic surgeon. We are exhausted, y'all.
Boone is having a bilateral femoral head ostectomy (FHO) today. Basically, they are removing the head and neck of his femur bones completely. We'll have him home by Friday night for a week of rest and snuggles, and then we'll start rehabilitation by playing with him and gradually coaxing him to use his muscles again.
We are so happy to know that his discomfort is caused by something that can be fixed and not a disease. We are also happy that we didn't have to do a complete bilateral hip replacement (the other option on the table) -- not only because of the $12,000+ (!!!!!) price tag, but because the operation included a good chance of infection and other complications. Also, we asked the surgeon point-blank what she would do, and her preference matched ours. Relief!
A lot happened in 14 hours! We feel uneasy about anesthesia and surgery, because we lost Tolly on the table last December. However, Boone is young and healthy, so he shouldn't have any problems. Our pets are our family, and we will never give them up instead of paying for their healthcare. I think Tolly, Amelie, and Boone were meant to be with us, because they've all had health issues, and the Universe knew we would stop at nothing to give them a good life. We discussed our plan, and although we'll take an immediate financial hit, we'll be fine soon enough. It's a small price to pay to fix Boone's legs so he won't have to do his kitty army crawl.
Thank you for all the love, prayers, and good vibes sent to us via Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and text message! Boone wasn't built properly, but he is still perfect to us. We're going to get him fixed up!