Here at Filham Park Vet Surgery we like to take pride in our animals and our latest casualty was one of a kind and pulled through all her injuries against all the odds.
It was your average Saturday morning at the practice and Amy the receptionist was on her way to work when she found a small bundle of fur lying at the side of the road. It was in a bad way and when she got out of her car for a closer look it was obvious that it was a cat who had been the victim of a road traffic accident. Amy immediately picked the cat up off the road and rushed her into the surgery for life saving treatment.
When she arrived at the practice the cat was on the brink of death. Her head was completely smashed, both top and bottom jaw were broken and her right eye was filled with blood where the impact from the car had caused blood vessels in her eye to rupture. It was initially thought that she would need to be put to sleep as her injuries were so severe. When she arrived at the practice she had no collar and no microchip so we have been unable to identify her and reunite her with her owner but the on duty vet decided that it was still worth a try to save her and fix her broken body. She was given pain relief and antibiotics to help with healing, pain and infection and was then x-rayed to see if any of her other bones had been broken. Luckily (or rather not so luckily) all of the damage was on her head and all her other vital organs, spine, legs and tail had escaped without harm.
Next it was down to Zoe to try and fix her broken jaw. We already knew that her eye would probably never function properly again so the next point of call was to reset her broken jaw and put it back in the right place. It was a long winded anaesthetic for such a sick cat to go through and it took a long time to pull the bits of the top jaw together and stitch the hard palate back in place. Once her top jaw had been fixed and cleaned up it was time to set about fixing her lower jaw which had fractured straight through the middle of her front incisors, leaving her with a wonky smile, a missing tooth and a very sore set of gnashers! To fix the jaw of the cat we had to insert a large bore needle through the soft tissues from the inside of her mouth to the underside of the chin, through which a strong piece of wire could be threaded through the needle and out the other side. The same procedure then needed to be carried out on the other side to make a loop of wire. The vet then set the two pieces of bone in the right place and gently twisted the wire together to hold it in place. The sharp end of the twisted wire was then snipped off so it couldn't get caught. Then everyone was on tenterhooks to see whether the little puss cat would wake up. Eventually she came round from her anaesthetic and she was ready to go into a kennel to recover. We wrapped her in a warm cosy blanket and nervously sat by her kennel waiting to see if when she came round she was a fixed cat! Whilst waiting we decided to give her a name...and came up with Gabriella. A few hours later Gabriella and her new name and newly fixed jaw were moved into a bigger kennel. Luckily whilst she was under anaesthetic we were able to insert a special feeding tube through the side of her neck and straight into her oesophagus so we could get food directly into her tummy without it getting caught on the metalwork and stitches in her mouth. The next 24-48 hours were going to be a crucial time for Gabriella and after 2 weeks of having a stomach tube in she was able to feed by herself from a bowl, with no help from the nurses. She then had to stay in for a further few weeks while we monitored her progress. Eventually we decided she was well enough to come out of cage rest and allowed her out of the kennel to explore in the prep room. To start with it was clear to see that she was traumatised by the accident and any tiny little noise such as another cat meowing she would run and hide behind a box or under tables, but eventually she came out of her shell and started rolling over demanding tummy tickles and plenty of attention.
All the nurses became very attached to her and she's even spent time in reception with one of our own cats, Tracy, running reception and making sure the practice is running smoothly! She has now made an almost complete recovery and despite the injury sustained to her eye...it's still fully functioning and she can see with both eyes!