Bailey the injured Birman cat is Quantock’s next Pet of the Month

14 Aug 2018 | Pet of the month

PLEASE BE WARNED there are some graphic photos of poor Bailey’s leg injury (and recovery) in this news.

Bailey, a stunning, three year old Birman cat, first came to us in mid December as an emergency with a huge wound to his left hind limb, extending above and below his hock (ankle) joint. The wound was down to the bone, with joints and Achilles tendon exposed, and lots of muscle damaged or missing. He was in a lot of pain and the wound was contaminated with dirt.

Bailey’s owners the Rossiters were hugely shocked when they found him, Ally Rossiter remembers the night well “The night of the 19th December will forever stay with us as the night that Bailey was badly injured and to this day, we still don’t know exactly what happened to him.” Bailey had the wound flushed and dressed by Veterinary Surgeon Dominic Phillips that night, and was hospitalised with strong pain relief and antibiotics.

X-rays under general anaesthetic the next day showed no damage to the leg bones and no signs of infected joints, although this could not be ruled out because traumatic injuries often only become apparent over the course of days. The tissues did not appear to be infected yet, which was lucky for Bailey.

Veterinary Surgeon Amy Haylock cut away all of the damaged and contaminated tissues, inspected all of the wound for further damage and gave everything a really good clean. There was no way Bailey had enough skin present to stitch the wound closed, and Amy discussed with the owners whether amputation of the leg might be better for Bailey. The only alternative for Bailey was months of bandage changes every 2 to 3 days, which he might need sedation for because of the pain (and his feisty character!). The owners were so determined that he keep all of his legs, so they made the brave decision to commit to months of bandaging and cage rest for Bailey. This is not easy in a cat, and was certainly not easy for Bailey.

Over Christmas, Bailey stayed in the hospital and needed to be sedated for each bandage change, because of the pain. After two changes, he was comfortable enough not to need sedation and was sent home.

Two weeks later, it was obvious that some areas of the wound were devitalised, so Bailey required another general anaesthetic and further surgery to tidy up the wound, where vet Sarah also tacked the skin down onto the underlying wound bed to try and encourage the skin to creep across. Bailey underwent 6 weeks of bandage changes every 2-3 days after this operation. During this time, he had profuse diarrhoea, some bandage sores, and he kept chewing his bandage. He would not wear a buster collar at all, and hated being cage rested. Poor Bailey – he did not have an easy time!

Ally, Bailey’s owner recalled “Bailey did not like the regular bandage changes and was rather bad tempered at times, earning him the well deserved nick name from the vet nurses of ‘ grumpy cat’. Have to say that the camo bandages did fair a lot better than the girly pink coloured ones which he seemed to attack the most!!! We especially loved the special little touches the vet nurses added, like a heart on his bandage for valentines day and B letter for Bailey on another.”

Six weeks into treatment, the wound had come a long way. All that was left was a round point above the hock where the Achilles tendon attaches, and some open areas below this. Amy decided to take a gamble and attempt to close the wound down completely under anaesthetic. There was some tension on the wound, but it did come together. At his 3 day bandage change after this, all looked well and it was holding together. Sadly, at his next change, the stitches had all come undone and the wound was open again. However, the operation had brought the tissue edges into closer proximity than they had been.

Five weeks after this, Bailey’s wound suddenly got a lot bigger between bandage changes. Tests were done on the exudate from the wound and revealed infection. This was a real blow for Bailey. Luckily, the bacteria present were not resistant to treatment. The wound was not getting better with bandaging any more, so Sarah decided to leave the wound undressed, with Bailey hospitalised so that we could keep his buster collar on and give him a daily antibiotic injection. Bailey was absolutely furious with this arrangement, but after three days, the wound had healed so well that he was sent home with just a buster collar!

Finally, after another 2 weeks, Bailey’s wound was completely healed. Funnily enough, Bailey was a very much different character when brought in for his final recheck, all cuddly and smoochy. His owners understandably found the healing process challenging and frustrating at times, but they were so happy with the end result.

Ally added “Bailey is a very chatty, affectionate character who has become even more loving since his nasty injury. I am so pleased that after the four months of cage rest he couldn’t wait to resume his favourite sleeping position which is curled up on my head with his chin firmly resting my forehead at night. During his treatment we had both missed this.  

He’s a gregarious, friendly little soul and spends most days while we are at work, with our two neighbours either side – sleeping in their cast iron bath or on their bed and generally having cat chats with them. Our Boy does not like being ignored. They all said they really missed not seeing him about , and thought something awful had happened to him . We are pleased to say that he has quite happily returned to his old routines . We, Baileys Humans really cannot thank you enough for everything you did for him during his treatment and keeping him the very handsome, four legged feline that he is.”

All in all, Bailey was in treatment for 4 months with this wound, every 2 to 3 days! What amazing commitment from his owners.  Congratulations to you all for Bailey being voted Pet of the Month!