Two weeks ago a cat was brought in to us by a kind member of the public who had found him on the roadside, he wasn’t wearing a collar and he did not have an identichip implanted so unfortunately the chances of finding his owner were very slim unless someone came forward. On further examination we discovered that the cat was underweight weighing just 2kg, had diarrhoea and was of a very poor general condition. In addition to this we also discovered that he had a fractured right femur (right thigh bone) which we later confirmed by taking xrays of his leg. The Veterinary Surgeon in charge, Pam Sibley, spoke to the member of public who brought the cat in and was met with some good news; they would be more than happy to re-home the stray cat if an owner did not come forward and if we could fix him!
We started by stabilizing Stan (as he is now called) by giving him fluid therapy via a drip, treating him against fleas and worms, providing him with regular pain relief and antibiotics and also Canikur to help settle his diarrhoea.
To have the best chance of recovering from a general anaesthetic and major surgery Stan needed to be in a better condition than he was, so once Stan had been eating well for a few days and his medication and fluid therapy had begun to help with his general condition we set about planning his fracture repair.
Veterinary Nurse, Steff Davis, has a passion for orthopaedic surgery and so was in charge of ordering and preparing the correct equipment and materials needed to perform an external-fixation on Stan. This would require taking several measurements to ensure the correct lengths and diameter of intramedullary pins and external fixators were ordered and sterilized ready for the procedure.
On the day of surgery Stan was pre-medicated twenty minutes prior to his surgery, this ensured that he was calm and relaxed before he was taken into our preparation room and induced under anaesthetic with an intravenous agent called Propofol. As with humans, we place an endotracheal tube down the trachea and attach an anaesthetic circuit to it which allows the veterinary nurse in charge of the anaesthetic, in this case Kelly Jones, to maintain the correct levels of anaesthesia throughout the procedure by providing oxygen and a gaseous agent called Isoflo. Once Stan was comfortable under the anaesthetic the fur around his operation site was clipped off and the skin scrubbed with a surgical scrub called Hibiscrub. Clipping a large area of fur ensures that no stray hairs will work their way into the operation site during surgery as they will carry bacteria that are picked up from day to day activities by our pets and may result in introducing infection into the wound.
Once Stan had been fully prepared he was taken through to our operating theatre where there are minimal surfaces to prevent dust collecting and is damp dusted every evening and the doors closed at all times to prevent dust and fur contaminating it.
Throughout Stan’s anaesthesia he was connected to monitoring equipment which register his heart rate, respiration rate, and oxygen saturation levels. Kelly also monitored his heart and respiration rates at all times, checked the colour of his mucous membranes (gums), his depth of anaesthesia and temperature throughout. During any anaesthetic patients’ temperatures will drop due to it causing a drop in blood pressure. We have to counteract this by monitoring the temperature throughout and keeping it within the normal range. We do this in a variety of ways; a heat pad placed on the operating table and covered with a vetbed for the patient to lay on, wheat heat pads that can be placed at various parts of the patients’ body, an infusion fluid heater which is attached to the drip line and warms the fluids as they pass through to the patient and we also wrap their feet in bubble wrap to help maintain their own body heat!
Together Veterinary Surgeons Pam Sibley and Terry Girling performed the external fixation and after an hour-long surgery a post-operative xray was taken of his leg to ensure that the pins had been placed in the correct position. Once the vets were happy with the outcome of the surgery Stan was brought round from his anaesthetic, his endotracheal tube removed and taken through to the cattery to recover in a heated kennel.
Stan stayed with us for a short time after his surgery whilst we continued to provide him with pain relief and antibiotics and was very comfortable with his new leg! As no owner came forward to claim him Stan was re-homed to the people who found him. He is currently resting and recovering well in his new home where he is receiving lots of love and attention and we look forward to seeing him in the coming weeks for his routine checks ups.