04 July 2012
This month's star pet may be recognisable from recent local newspaper articles, he is a black and white domestic shorthaired cat named Spike by the RSPCA officer who rescued him - having been caught on the spike of a metal railing.
Spike was brought into the surgery by RSPCA Inspector Burrell for treatment approximately 24 hours after he was found impaled on a railing. He had a very extensive wound to his right thigh which went as far as his stifle (knee); it was approximately 10cm in length and it was obvious the metal railing had penetrated very deeply causing not only damage to skin but also to the muscle behind Spike's thigh. We were concerned the railing may also have caused nerve damage as Spike was having great difficulty walking; it was obvious he was also in a great deal of pain. The wound was infected, Spike had a temperature and it was decided to hospitalise him to control not only the infection with antibiotics but also provide him adequate pain relief prior to considering an operation to explore and repair the wound.
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Spike started to walk more normally and the infected wound responded well to medical treatment. It was noticed Spike's tongue was ulcerated and sore - probably as a result of trying to get free of the railings - this was preventing him for eating properly. He needed nursing care and allowed us to syringe feed him with a recovery diet, which he enjoyed. After a couple of days of treatment and nursing we were satisfied he was improving and it was decided to operate on his wound with a view to sending him to a RSPCA foster home for longer term care.
Once Spike was under a full general anaesthetic, his wound was clipped and cleaned and then the veterinary surgeon explored the area more thoroughly. There was a deeply penetrating wound extending from the top of the outside of his thigh right down to past his stifle (knee) although no exit point on the other side of the leg was evident. The main concern was that he had suffered neurological or vascular damage or there was deeply embedded fur and dirt within the wound acting as a source of infection. An indwelling drain was placed so any inflammatory fluid could drain from the wound once the skin was closed. Despite improvement with nursing care, antibiotics and pain relief there was still a real concern that he may need the leg amputating if he did not recover as planned.
A short while later and Spike was back in his kennel recovering from his operation. He was very uncomfortable post operatively and needed an opiate patch applying to his skin. This is a simple and effective way of providing profound pain relief in cats for up to three days. The patch settled him down well and he was kept in for close observation over that weekend. He had started to eat on his own (provided no one was around!) which was encouraging; his leg was healing well with much more movement which again was good news.
Spike was allowed to go to a RSPCA foster home as planned on the Monday after his operation although he did require a further opiate patch as he was still very sore even three days later. However he was obviously feeling better as medicating him was beginning to prove much more difficult!!
Spike has recently been back to the practice for his stitches to be removed and we are pleased to report he is getting back to normal. A wound appeared by his hock and the veterinary surgeon feels that this is most likely adjacent to the furthest penetration of the point of the spike as it was impacted with fur and had burst through the skin. He remains on continued antibiotic cover and it is hoped that he can have his buster collar removed in the near future - he's not happy with it on and is continuing his objection to his medication!
We hope that once Spike returns to full health, either his owner will come forward or he finds a new loving home. Spike is a character but a patient one and he was a pleasure to treat - despite his discomfort he never offered to bite us!