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"Fluffy" - Cat with Detached Triceps

Photo of fluffy


"Fluffy" by name but definitely NOT by nature! If ever a patient was less aptly named then I'm afraid "Fluffy" is it, unless that is of course the name "Fluffy" conjures up in your mind a 9 pound whirlwind of spitting claws and teeth!

It was with some considerable difficulty that both of my colleagues, Ingrid and Geraldine, were able to examine "Fluffy" for a lameness involving the right forelimb.

When the treatment prescribed failed to produce the anticipated improvement I advised an examination under sedation and x-rays to establish a diagnosis.

It is very much easier to examine patients whilst under sedation - especially of the "Fluffy" variety!

It was during this examination that I was very surprised to discover that "Fluffy's" elbow felt very unusual.

On palpation it became clear that the triceps muscle insertion, which attaches itself to the point of the elbow, was missing.

Each joint has a group of muscles (flexors) which bends it one way and another group of muscles (extensors) which pulls in the opposite direction. The missing attachment of the triceps muscle meant the "Fluffy" could bend her elbow all too easily but was completely unable to extend it.


photo of fluffy

X-rays confirmed that the muscle tendon had become hard and calcified, losing it's elasticity. Consequently, it had torn off the point of the elbow. This is an injury which I have never previously recognised but fortunately where the treatment is relatively logical: reattach the muscle insertion to the point of the elbow!

By drilling tunnels through the point of the elbow (olecranon) the muscle can be realigned using strong artificial fibres in a special suturing technique! Whilst this area is under a considerable amount of strain and the damaged muscle may not heal quickly the use of modern, expensive suture material means that in this instance "Fluffy's" recovery is well on course.

Whilst "Fluffy" is never likely to be too appreciative of our efforts at least her owners are glad to have their own little "typhoon" restored!

Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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