May Pet of the Month – Balthazar
Our pet of the month this month is the lovely Balthazar. Balthazar was hit by a car outside his home on the 2nd of May, and a good Samaritan saw him and picked him up, going door to door in the area until he found his owners. He was brought in to us out of hours, with his face and eyes rapidly swelling with fluid from the impact, which we believe was focused primarily on his front end. Scott administered some emergency treatment to reduce the swelling around his brain and stabilise him, and he was monitored closely in the hospital for the first 24 hours. His owners were told that his prognosis was very guarded given the pressure in his skull and fluid build up.
The following day Balthazar was stable, but still had significant swelling in his face and eyes, and with all the blood and discharge coming from his nose had to open mouth breathe (not normal for a cat). After much discussion with his owners, Jodie decided to give him an anaesthetic to check for any serious injuries such as a ruptured diaphragm, pelvic fractures, or skull fractures. Remarkably, Balthazar seemed to have escaped the accident with just a fracture to his upper jaw! Given the jaw fracture and the fact that Balthazar was open mouth breathing because of his injuries, Jodie decided it was best to place a feeding tube. This was placed in the side of his neck, running directly into his oesophagus and ending just before his stomach.
With his feeding tube in place Balthazar was able to go home to be fed a liquid diet through the tube. We were already considering Balthazar to be a bit of a miracle cat to have so few significant injuries! Cat’s with feeding tubes in place do remarkably well. The key is to keep the feeding tube in place whilst still offering the cat all his normal food, so as to encourage them to eat. Once they are eating normally the feeding tube will be pulled out. It may seem surprising that they manage to eat despite having a tube down their throat, but they always manage it! Balthazar went home, but unfortunately his recovery was slightly pushed back when Jodie saw him a few days later for a post op check. He had an infection in his mouth where his fracture was, and the skin inside his mouth was starting to rot and smell quite horrible! He was placed on some liquid antibiotics, which were able to be given through his feeding tube and this infection quickly cleared up. Unfortunately this wasn’t the final hurdle in Balthazar’s recovery, and he shortly after started to
develop an abscess in the left hand side of his cheek where all the fluid and blood after his accident had been building up! Luckily this drained off nicely, and was left open and cleaned daily.
Two weeks after having his feeding tube placed, Balthazar was starting to show an interest in food again, having been slightly hindered by his lack of smell initially. He was brought back in by his owners to see Jodie, as when they had fed him through the tube that morning it seemed to be coming out of the bandage around his neck. Jodie removed his dressing and saw that Balthazar had clearly decided enough was enough and pulled out his feeding tube for himself! He was given the weekend to show that he could eat properly again, and the threat of having the feeding tube replaced if he didn’t eat was clearly enough to do the trick, as he went from strength to strength!
Just less than a month after the accident, Balthazar has been given the all clear by Jodie. He is doing incredibly well, better than ever could have been imagined during his initial assessment. He is so very lucky that a kind stranger stopped and picked him up from the middle of the road and didn’t give up until he found his owners. He is equally incredibly fortunate that his owners were so willing to put in the time, commitment, hard work and the cost to see his treatment through and get him back to full fitness. We are all so thrilled that such a lovely chap is looking so good again!