Saturday, 25 April 2009

Travels of a Pellet

Jake was a big fluffy domestic long hair cat 8 years old. The other week he ended up at the emergency vets. He was found on the Friday night bleeding and collapsed. Initially it was thought that he was yet another victim of the metal monster, a car. He was placed in critical care on fluids, pain relief antibiotics other medications overnight to stabilize him.
The car theory was disproved when he was x-rayed and a pellet lay in his abdomen. Unfortunately, instead of stabilizing he was deteriorating, so the decision was made for him to go to surgery. When l got into work at 13:00 he had just gone through, in fact was in surgical prep being shaved.

An incubator was prepared for him, a heat pad placed along with a nice deep bed and we got on with our normal jobs. I was in critical care covering for lunch breaks and doing odd bits. After about an hour and a half l went through to see why they were taking so long.
Jake was in what is best described as a state of repair, his intestines were not in but out and what had been hoped to be a straightforward op was settling in to a marathon.

On its travels the pellet had started by dragging dirt and Jakes long silky hair deep into the body, this had to be removed or it would set up infection.
The pellet continued in and out of the stomach causing 2 holes that needed closure and had allowed stomach contents to leak out into the abdomen.
The pellet then hammered on and made 3 holes in the intestines. Major damage had occurred and again contents had run into the abdomen, 2 sections of damaged intestine had to be removed and the ends reattached to each other, this means that his small intestines are now shorter by a few inches.
The spleen was damaged but had stopped bleeding and the decision was made to leave it in, the option would be there to go back and take it out if the need arose.
Finally after all hair was removed, all holes found and closed and no more bleeding evident, he had to be flushed. This involved several liters of warm saline flushed through his abdomen to clean the organs and remove as much of the leaked fluid and remaining foreign material (hair and dirt) as possible so minimizing the chance of peritonitis.

Nearly 3 hours later he was brought back to critical care, placed into the incubator on his heat pad and bed and snuggled under a blanket. He came round slowly but as soon as he was conscious enough he took up what we fast learned was his favorite position. Blanket kicked off and on lying on his back, legs straightened at full stretch outwards as if he was sunbathing. He is a big cat and filled the incubator. I do not recall a position like that a recovering animal, usually they curl up and try to ignore everything, but not Jake.
He had a long way to go and was still at high risk of peritonitis, and his spleen was still not out of the woods. He had come through this far though and was treating his recovery like he was sunbathing this was one cat that was not going to feel sorry for himself.

By mid evening he was round and taking a mild interest in life but the incubator was getting to hot, it isn’t temperature regulated. I moved him to a kennel and placed an oxygen tube next to his face, and yes you guessed...straight back to sunbathing position.

Sunday he was brighter and had a little bit to eat, when he wasn’t sunbathing. Needless to say everyone fell for him. His purr made listening to his heart difficult; just as well there are pulses! Cats purr if they are scared or if they are happy, but his body language was not scared just contented.
On Monday he was subdued and there was a worry that things may be kicking off inside of him. I was not back in till Friday and one of the first things l asked was how he was. The brilliant news was that Jake had pulled through and gone home. Thankfully Monday’s quietness had not progressed. He still has a lot of recovering to do but the vets and veterinary nurses had done their job now it was down to his family to do the rest with antibiotics and outpatient trips to visit the vet and tons of TLC.

If you allow kids to use a pellet gun then teach them that animals are not sport. The pellet that hits an animal will often mean a slow lingering death and is not funny nor does it make you a big man for shooting an animal.
While l do not advocate hunting, if you have to hunt animals it must only be recognised game animals. The hunter should be an experienced marksmen, and using a killing shot on the animal. If the game animal is injured it is the hunters responsibility to track it and kill it. No real hunter would ever consider it right to leave an animal harmed and in pain they have more respect for their prey than that.

Jake post op, as he appeared in the local paper

A photo of Jakes x-ray the pellet very visible.


Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

So glad he made it! Could so easily have been a statistic.
My dog walked through our neighbour's sheep and was shot with a pellet shotgun - hit her shoulder/leg. She nearly bled to death - she came home after a week in intensive care and we can still feel pellets under her skin occasionally. I never trusted the neighbour again - we had little kids and he was going quite senile!!!

Constable said...

F'ing B'stards you would.....oh you know. Got 2 dogs and a cat and pond and fishtank x 2. In other words quite like animals.

Would skin the scum who did this.


Anonymous said...

Phew, I was reading that with baited breath.

We had a big ginger tom who died when I was a nipper after being shot by someone with a pellet gun. Mum was a vet nurse and did what she could but he died not long after.

So well done to Jake for pulling through and making it.

JuliaM said...

"Would skin the scum who did this."

Me too. Slowly. With a rusty knife.

No doubt thats how how this little charmer got started, before he moved on to bigger prey:

Vetnurse said...

Julia l note that the "big brave men" that cause injury always run away from the scene.

I agree with combining CC and Julies ideas of skinning with a rusty knife. Think l would also stake them out and let Jo's pigs do some heavy duty tusking just to allow animal revenge.

Sorry to hear your cat was also shot but died Jo.

Fi having a senile neighbour like that must have been unnerving.