Ziggy, the cat’s story shows how experienced vet care is essential after an accident.
It all started one evening, when Ziggy returned to his home unable to put weight on one of his hind legs. He was also visibly breathing very rapidly and his owners knew something had happened to him while he had been out.
They phoned our emergency line where our on call vet, Gerald Stam advised Ziggy should be seen immediately.
Gerald met Ziggy’s owners at the practice where he conducted an examination to try to figure out what had happened to Ziggy. As well as the injury to his leg, he had some additional graze wounds and Gerald also noted that his nails were scuffed; an obvious sign of a road traffic accident.
It appeared that Ziggy had been struck by a car and had bravely managed to find his way home, despite his injuries.
Gerald decided to monitor Ziggy closely overnight, giving pain relief to make him more comfortable. Once he had had time to stabilise overnight, he needed x-rays to determine exactly where the damage was, and what could be done to fix it.
The next morning, Ziggy was stable enough to be anaesthetised for the x-rays. An anaesthetic is required for most animal x-rays so that the pet will stay still enough to get an accurate image. In Ziggy’s case, he especially needed to be under general anaesthetic to get a clear view of the area, due to the pain from his injuries.
The x-rays showed that Ziggy’s right hip was dislocated, but luckily there appeared to be no other major damage.
The minor superficial wounds were cleaned up and attended to and experienced surgeon, Philip Snyman, then tried to manually manipulate the hip back into its socket.
Unfortunately, every time he succeeded in placing the hip, it would dislocate again shortly after. After several attempts, they decided that it would be best to end the procedure and devise a new treatment plan.
The recovery nurses looked after Ziggy while he was waking up, as Philip studied the x-rays further to find a way to repair the hip. If they were unable to find a way to stop Ziggy’s hip from dislocating, the last resort would be to remove the ball of the hip, which they wanted to avoid as much as possible.
Philip concluded that the best chance to save Ziggy’s leg would be to conduct another procedure where the hip would be placed back into the socket and a pin inserted to fasten it into place. The pin would stay in place for 2-3 weeks, giving the muscles and ligaments around the joint time to strengthen and hopefully hold it together once the pin was removed.
Since Ziggy had already been through a lengthy procedure that day, it was decided to leave him another day, as the stress of putting his already injured body through another anaesthetic could do more harm than good. So he stayed in our hospital for another night, with our nurses taking care of him and making him comfortable.
The next day, Ziggy was doing well and making himself at home, so the procedure went ahead as scheduled. The surgery lasted for 90 minutes and everything went according to plan.
Philip was cautiously optimistic, but only time would tell. For now though, the vet’s work was done so Ziggy was allowed to go home later that day on strict cage rest to make sure his leg was given the best chance to heal.
After three weeks and a few home visits to check Ziggy’s progress, the moment of truth came. Ziggy came back in for his procedure to remove the pin in his hip. The crate rest had obviously paid off as the pin was removed with no complications and the hip stayed in place – a very pleasing outcome for Philip and the team.
Ziggy went home that same day, now with a little more freedom to come out of his crate and walk around the house with close supervision to ensure he didn’t attempt any crazy stunts which could injure the leg again.
Finally, nearly a month after the initial incident, Philip conducted his final check up. He was delighted at how well Ziggy had healed. The staples around the incision were able to be removed, the wound itself looked good and Ziggy was able to put weight on the leg again and was surprisingly mobile!
He still has a little way to go before the leg is back to normal again, but he is now allowed full access to the house and his owners couldn’t be more pleased to have him back again – a very brave boy, the whole way through!
To learn more about anything detailed in this article, give us a call on 01435 864422 and our team can discuss this in further detail.