There’s no question that each rescue has its own personality and funny quirks. They may beg, open doors, play fetch, or they may simply love exploratory surgery… Yes, we saw this one just the other week. Thankfully, “Jaws” had all the right things happen despite choosing the wrong thing to eat.
It started when one of our adopted boys from Triple R vomited. This was highly unusual for him; and his lack of energy was supportive of something being amiss. He was assessed at our clinic and there were no unusual findings. There was no tenderness upon palpitation of his abdomen, he wasn't depressed, he was able to urinate, and he even expressed interest in eating. With Jaws having a history of eating strings and similar foreign objects, the hope was that “it” would pass with his next bowel movement; as he had done in the past. He was given the okay to return home under a watchful eye and to take him to emergency or to call should there be any changes.
Around 4 am the next morning, he was at the emergency veterinary clinic as he was now dragging his feet when he walked and his muscles twitching involuntarily. Preliminary x-rays did reveal what looked to be a foreign body in his stomach; which subsequently resulted in a quote of over $2000 for exploratory surgery. Sadly, these funds weren't available to his adoptive parents on such short notice due to having quite limited incomes.
So they came out to our vet clinic at 7:30 am and tearfully waited for our vet tech all while trying to reach me in the hopes I could offer some kind of help or support; even if it was simply some encouraging words. We messaged back and forth and Jaws was left in the care of our vet care team. I came in to lend a hand with reception should surgery be necessary.
It wasn’t long before the severity of Jaws’ condition was revealed. The simple procedure of prepping Jaws to obtain a blood sample resulted in seizure-like spasms that caused him to turn into his left side and cry out in pain. Normally a very kind, happy, and loving pet; Jaws displayed his discomfort by snapping at our vet tech. Thankfully his lack of coordination made his attempt at biting unsuccessful. Despite the majority of his “episode” seemingly over, his eyes continued to twitch and his legs a steady tremor. These symptoms are not common with having a foreign object ingested… the new concern was not what he ingested; but whether or not he would survive exploratory surgery.
His blood work came back relatively normal, comparable to dehydration which wasn’t surprising considering he hadn’t eaten in 24 hours now. Additional X-rays revealed no further changes. By sheer “coincidence” (some may say; others Divine intervention), our radiologist was on his way in. Notably one of the top rated Radiologists out of Guelph. The client who had booked the ultrasound for whom he was coming had to reschedule as a result of a sudden, time-sensitive conflict. Jaws was now the fortunate kitty getting a much needed ultrasound to help locate any and all obstructions.
We all watched as our radiologist did his exam and made his recommendations. The next series of steps happened so quickly and efficiently that it was nothing short of miraculous. Donned in full sterile gear, our veterinarian successfully extracted the foreign object which was jammed into Jaws’ small intestine. It was a ribbon that was tied in a knot; part of a cat toy that has since been thrown away along with many others. Apparently this knot had made its way through ¾ of his intestine and subsequently turned which resulted in it getting wedged enough to cause a blockage. This resulted in a back flow of urine and the inability to pass stool.
With the knotted ribbon now removed, our vet carefully inspected the remainder of his internal organs to ensure there were no more objects that would further impede Jaws’ recovery.
Waking up was just another hurdle; the next 24-48 hours were critical which required very close observation from our vet care team. Thankfully Jaws pulled through, to look at him today; you would never know the ordeal he had been through. Our beautiful boy from Triple R is a lucky one. There are so many pets out there that aren’t so lucky. It’s safe to say Jaws used up one of his lives that day. It’s certainly something I will never forget and have learned from it.
We all know cats love playing with and chewing on ribbons, string, elastics, tinsel, and other wonderful items… what we often don’t expect is for that one item to become lethal. Please inspect your pet’s toys on a regular basis; their lives could very well depend on it.
A mom of 3 that loves Jesus Christ, my children, cats, and of course, all that God created. Thank you for checking us out here at ELM!