Tigger our latest Pet of the Month makes it home despite awful injuries
Six year old much loved cat Tigger presented to us after being missing for two days. Tigger’s owner explained “I was so worried about him as he hadn’t come home for a couple of days which was most unlike him. I was out in the garden and saw what I thought was an old bit of black plastic under a shrub, I went to pick it up and was horrified to realise it was poor Tigger. I touched him and he managed to move his head and look up at me, he was in a terrible state.”
We suspect from his injuries that Tigger had been in a road traffic accident that had caused severe trauma to the head but he’d managed to bravely crawl back to his home. Amongst his injuries explained Louise, our vet involved in his case explained “Tigger had a fractured jaw, what we call a degloving injury of the skin and gums (where the skin detaches from the underlying bone) and severe infection of the tissue.The first step of helping Tigger involved emergency stabilisation – this included rehydration with fluids, strong pain relief and antibiotics. Once stable we were able to x-ray him to check for any other injuries to the chest or abdomen and assess the fracture of the jaw. Luckily it was just the facial trauma and no other more serious injuries that Tigger had sustained.
We started to reconstruct Tigger’s face by first wiring the jaw together to stabilise the fracture. We also re-attached the skin and gums to the jaw bone and placed a drain to allow the infection to be removed over the next few days. Due to so much trauma on the jaw there was no way we could expect Tigger to eat on his own at this point so a feeding tube was placed in his neck going into the oesophagus so that vital nutrients and medication could be given stress and pain free.
This was only the start of a long rehabilitation for Tigger. As structures in his face became less swollen and bits of bone died off he had to have revised surgery to remove the dead bone and tighten the wire in the jaw. The drain was removed once the infection was under control. Tigger went from strength to strength after this and once he was eating on his own his feeding tube was removed and he was able to return home. Tigger was such a good boy taking his medication in his favourite ‘licky licks’ treats.
Tigger will have the wire removed from his jaw 6 weeks after surgery at the end of February and hopefully by that time will be absolutely 100% recovered. He has certainly proved that cats do have 9 lives although we think he may have used a couple on this one!