Penelope’s Pit-stop

We are pleased to introduce our case of the month slot to share with you some of the amazing pets’ stories that make our job so interesting and rewarding.  This month we’ve had a lot of competition.  You might have seen Shadow the cat who swallowed a 20p on our Facebook page.  Thankfully he passed it in the end and feels a lot better.  We loved the jokes about him bringing a deposit for his account 🙂

Penelope the two year old Ragdoll cat was very poorly when she came to see us.  She was losing weight and had no appetite.  She was very dehydrated and had barely been to the toilet.  Apparently she was normally quite a feisty wee girl but when she came in she was very depressed and took no notice of her examination.

Initially the urgent thing we had to address was her dehydration so we started Penelope on fluid therapy which meant putting her on a drip.  She did brighten up a bit but not enough to go home so once it was safe to do so we sedated her for X-rays of her tummy.  With her sedated we could feel a lump in her tummy but it didn’t particularly show up on the X-ray so it wasn’t something hard like a stone (or a penny).  At this stage we were really worried she might have bowel cancer which can affect young cats, there was only one way to find out and that was to do an operation to open her tummy and have a look at the lump.

To our surprise and delight the lump wasn’t cancer but something called an intussusception.  (int-tus-sus-scept-tion).  In 17 years of being a vet this was the first one I have seen so they are not all that common.  What happens is that a bit of the intestine tube folds in on itself.  It might happen after a spell of diarrhoea or after an infection of worms.  The fold partially obstructs the passage of food so you still get some poo passing through but not much and I would imagine it is incredibly sore.

The section of intestine that was affected was badly damaged so we had to remove 10cm of Penelope’s small intestine.  We stitched the two ends together and kept our fingers crossed for a week that they healed without complications.  Penelope felt better immediately.  She was ravenous!  We built her up on high calorie food and she was able to go home three days after her operation.  Far from returning to feisty, Penelope was incredibly affectionate with us so it is possible that her condition had been brewing for a while and had made her feel down in the dumps.  Here she is enjoying a tummy tickle back home.