Thursday, 14 June 2018

Pet of the month - Hall of Fame, Clovie (March 2018)

Clovie was brought in by his owners after they spotted that he’d been sick and had brought up a small piece of plastic and a small amount of thread. Vet Karolina examined Clovie and found his vital signs to be normal. He was a little quiet but bright, so initially Karolina gave him some medication to settle his stomach and allowed him to go home so that  Clovie’s owners could watched him closely for any further symptoms. Clovie was sick again so the next step was to admit him to the hospital for further tests.

Karolina placed him onto a drip and took an x-ray of his abdomen. The x-ray did not detect an obvious foreign body, however some foreign bodies are not visible on x-ray and the vet looks for changes in the gas pattern within the digestive tract. Clovie was constipated so Karolina gave him an enema which helped him to pass faeces. To Karolina's surprise, his faeces was a dark blue colour! Clovie's owners thought that the plastic might have been from a pen, and with the evidence of blue faeces, this was credible. Karolina felt his abdomen again and although it was not painful, there was one suspicious area, possibly as a result of swollen intestinal lymph nodes due to inflammation. Although Clovie was bright and he’d not been sick again,Karolina could not rule out the possibility that he’d eaten  something else that he shouldn’t have. Clovie remained in hospital on supportive treatment and the following morning vet Louise continued his care and assessed him.

Despite Clovie remaining bright, Louise was also concerned that his abdomen felt slightly abnormal. There was a risk that Clovie had eaten more thread and after a discussion with Clovie’s owners it was agreed that Clovie should have an operation called an exploratory laparotomy to allow Louise to look for a foreign body. Clovie was placed under a general anaesthetic and the nurses prepared him for theatre. Once in theatre Louise could feel something in Clovie’s stomach and she could also see that part of his small intestine was bunched up. This is a sign consistent with a linear foreign body. This term describes long, thin objects such as string, wool, thread and tinsel.

Firstly Louise carried out a procedure called a gastrotomy which involved making an incision into Clovie’s stomach. This revealed a wad of plastic and some thread. Louise removed the plastic and then assessed the thread, she could see that the thread was extending out of the stomach and into the small intestine. One end of a linear foreign body will tend to lodge itself somewhere in the gastro - intestinal tract, commonly around the base of the tongue or in the bottom of the stomach as in Clovie’s case. Even though part of the thread was stuck in his stomach, the normal movement of the small intestine had continued to move the rest of the thread onwards through them. The trouble here is, the intestines keep moving but the thread does not. This causes the intestine to plicate or ‘bunch up’ on itself. This is a particularly dangerous situation as the blood supply to the area can deteriorate causing the tissue to die. In some cases the linear foreign body can tear through the tissue of the intestine, leaking its contents into the abdominal cavity, resulting in a severe infection called peritonitis.

Fortunately for Clovie it had not reached this stage and although his small intestine was inflamed, it looked healthy. The next stage of the operation was for Louise to remove the thread. In order to safely do this, Louise needed to make three separate incisions along the small intestine (enterotomies). She then carefully followed the thread along, cutting it before gently removing it through each incision. Upon completion of the operation Clovie recovered well from the anaesthetic and the next day was feeling much better. He was asking for cuddles, of course we happily obliged! To encourage him to eat, the nurses’ hand fed him and he was soon tucking into the food by himself. Clovie has recovered very well and we are so pleased to see him back home and of course, the centre of attention.

The plastic and thread that Clovie had eaten!

Clovie the day after his life saving operation.

Clovie's owners discovered that the thread had come from his favourite thing to play with, a cat Santa hat. Part of the thread had become exposed and unfortunately unravelled.  Cats don’t often intentionally mean to swallow thread, it gets caught on the rough barbs called papillae on their tongue and they can’t spit it out. They may try to use a paw to get it out but if this isn’t successful they end up swallowing it.

The plastic was identified as the inner coating of a felt tip pen!

Thank you to Clovie's owners for allowing us to share his story. They sent us in these super photos with this lovely message;

'Thank you for picking our Clovie to be Pet of the month. As you know he was a poor little boy but thanks to all of you we have got our baby back to his lively happy self, and we are so very grateful. '

 Many thanks,

Elena and Glyn.



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