First time procedure at Purdue Small Animal Hospital saves a cat

Would you be willing, or even able, to pay thousands of dollars to save your pet? This was a tough reality for Tyler and Faith Goldsberry when their bengal cat, Fridgey, broke his hip for the second time.

Posted: Jul. 18, 2018 6:51 PM

West Lafayette, IND. (WLFI) - Would you be willing, or even able, to pay thousands of dollars to save your pet?

This was a tough reality for Tyler and Faith Goldsberry when their bengal cat, Fridgey, broke his hip for the second time.

But thanks to precautionary measures taken in the past, their decision now was much easier to make.

The Goldsberrys are no strangers to large medical bills for their pets.Their previous cat that suffered from a neurological disorder and genetic defect.

After they realized how expensive the costs were, the Goldsberrys turned to pet insurance to help out with their two bengals, Noodles and Fridgey.

"When we realized how much it costs and how much the medical care could extend animals lives, when we got these two we immediately got the pet insurance for them,” said Tyler.

“It was no question,” added Faith.

And when it comes to Fridgey and his multiple hip fractures, the Goldsberrys say the insurance has paid off.

"It's been about $10,000 probably between the surgeries and the rehab,” said Tyler. “So having 80% of that covered is huge for us."

They brought Fridgey to the Purdue Veterinary Teaching Hospital where the doctors were ready to try something that had never been done at Purdue before: a hip replacement for a cat.

This surgery has been used on large dogs for nearly 40 years. In fact, the reason we are so knowledgeable about human hip replacements is because of its use on dogs.

But for small animals like cats, it had rarely been feasible until now.

"When I first met Fridgey's owners it was very exciting to see that they were as excited about it as I was and consented to do it," said Sarah Malek, who is and assistant professor in small animal at the Purdue Small Animal Hospital.

Malek assisted Dr. Mark Rochat with the hip replacement surgery on Fridgey.

“It's still something new, a lot of people don’t even know it’s possible,” said Rochat. “But the technology has come a long way and the expertise is there in certain places to be able to do it.”

It's an operation that is growing in popularity with pet owners.

"It’s becoming a routine procedure,” said Malek. “Just like grandpa goes in and gets a new hip when they get older, now dogs and cats are coming in more and more for total hip replacement."

However this procedure is costly. Malek says it can cost up to$5,500.

But pet insurance options are there to help, just like it did for Goldsberrys

"The insurances people have enables people to invest more into fixing their pets," said Malek.

After the operation, Fridgey had to go through a series of physical therapy, just like humans do after undergoing this surgery..

The Goldsberrys say he loves water, so his favorite part of physical therapy was the treadmill in the water tank.

After several weeks of cage rest, he was finally ready to start returning to his normal playful self.

And to the Goldsberrys, every penny invested in insurance and the procedure was worth it to save Fridgey’s life.

"He has no more hips to break and we're just praying neither of our cats have any more injuries,” said Faith. “We've had enough for a lifetime.”

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