Rosie – Our last 2017 Pet of the Month!

10 Jan 2018 | Pet of the month

Rosie the loving rescue cat has been voted Quantock’s December Pet of the Month!

Rosie was brought in on a Sunday in August. Her owner explained “We’ve had Rosie since we re-homed her from Cats Protection as a young cat seven years ago. She has always had such a lovely personality and been very affectionate. But one evening Rosie turned up in the kitchen with blood on her fur and collapsed in front of us – she must have somehow dragged herself up and over the fence! It was awful. We raced immediately to Quantock Veterinary Hospital to get her seen as soon as possible.”   

Once Rosie arrived, we had some emergency x-rays taken which showed her diaphragm and lungs were fine – a relief to all.  She was stabilised overnight with pain relief and fluids and given a general anaesthetic for x-rays the next day.

This time the more comprehensive X-rays showed that her left hip was fully luxated (dislocated) and that the small intestines had herniated through the left abdominal wall to sit between the muscle wall and the skin. The size of the defect in the body wall was very large which was a huge worry. This probably happened through Rosie’s old spay scar from when she was neutered as a young cat, when the pressure of the internal organs forced the weakened tissue apart. There were two puncture wounds on her belly, suggesting that she had perhaps been bitten by large animal.

Hannah, one of our vets, replaced the hip in the joint after her x-rays, but the muscles and joint capsule supporting the hip joint were too badly damaged to keep the hip in place, so it dislocated again soon after being replaced.   Poor Rosie.

We didn’t know much at this stage about all the other injuries internally which Rosie might have from her accident, injuries such as internal bleeding, or to nerves supplying the bladder and rectum. Sometimes injuries after a traumatic accident don’t become apparent until days after the accident, so the decision was made to support Rosie for the next 48 hours and wait to see if she could eat, drink, and pass urine and faeces OK. Luckily, Rosie was brighter and ate really well on Monday and passed urine, so the decision was made to proceed with surgery to fix the hernia on Tuesday.

At surgery, we could see that the hole was very large and worrying. It extended from near the middle of the belly to the level of her spine, with torn and bruised edges which needed to be cut away. Amy and Hannah (the vets) operated together to put the intestines back inside the abdomen and fix the hole as best they could. The abdominal fat was bruised and necrotic, and the intestines were bruised and swollen from where they were stuck between the muscle wall and the skin.

Everyone was pleased that Rosie recovered well from her hernia repair operation. She was supported with strong pain relief and intravenous fluids for two days however she still didn’t pass any faeces so we were concerned that this function might not return to her.

Next, Hannah and Dominic operated on Rosie on Friday, to remove the head and neck of the femur from the damaged hip joint. Once the skin had been cut to examine the muscles around the hip joint, it became apparent that the muscles were so severely damaged, bruised and torn that they probably wouldn’t be able to heal and support the hip joint after surgery. This was a real blow for Rosie because the alternative was to remove her whole limb. The decision was made to continue with the planned surgery, but with a poor prognosis for keeping the limb.

It turned out that this was a great decision for Rosie because in the 5 days after her operation, she made progress –  albeit slow – every day and began to use her leg more and more. She initially didn’t want to eat, but we made sure she was comfortable and gave her appetite-stimulating drugs. She didn’t pass faeces for an entire 7 days after her accident. This is unfortunately a common side effect of abdominal trauma and opioid pain relief in cats and dogs, and can be managed with laxatives and enemas.

Rosie was discharged on Tuesday, 9 days after she arrived. She was then rested at home in a comfortable cage, and continued to make slow progress every day. One month later, she was moved to house rest and only had a slight limp, with no sign of her abdominal hernia. Two months later, she had a very mild limp and was only mildly resenting manipulation of her hip. Three months later, she was signed off by Dominic and allowed to go outside again!  Rosie had regrown a lot of the muscles around her left hip joint, and was painless on palpation and movement of the joint.

Dominic said “It is amazing to look at Rosie now and see a normal, healthy cat. A cat who was extremely sick in August, and has had extensive abdominal and orthopaedic surgeries!” Rosie’s owner added “I really didn’t think we’d be bringing Rosie home she was so badly injured. The whole team at the hospital was amazing and so kind and loving to her. She has always been so very affectionate, if anything she’s even happier and cuddlier now than before! And she has had a neat little tummy tuck at the same time!”

It just goes to show the amazing healing power which cats have over time. Hopefully Rosie is avoiding whatever it was that damaged her so badly in the first place!  We are delighted to award this gutsy and very affectionate cat our December ‘Pet of the Month’!