To evaluate owner adherence to recommendations for follow-up examination of dogs and cats following orthopedic procedures and identify factors associated with adherence versus nonadherence.
Medical records of 485 dogs and cats that underwent orthopedic surgery.
Cases were categorized as urgent or elective. Information obtained from the medical records consisted of species, age, body weight, proximity to the hospital, procedure cost, recommendations for coaptation, use of financial aid, and number of owners. Cases were considered adherent to follow-up recommendations if, at the latest visit or communication, no further visits were recommended. Cases were considered nonadherent if owners did not return for recommended follow-up visits.
Overall adherence to follow-up recommendations was 65.8% (319/485). Elective cases were 1.6 times as likely to be adherent to follow-up recommendations as were urgent cases, dog cases were 2.4 times as likely to be adherent as were cat cases, and cases with multiple owners listed were 2.1 times as likely to be adherent as were cases with 1 owner listed. Distance from the hospital had a statistically significant association with adherence, but the effect was not clinically important. Age, weight, coaptation, procedure cost, and use of financial aid were not significantly associated with adherence.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
The percentage of dogs and cats lost to follow-up following orthopedic surgery at an academic veterinary teaching hospital was substantial (166/485 [34.2%]). Efforts to improve follow-up adherence are especially indicated for animals undergoing urgent procedures, animals with single owners, and cats.