Bob's stressful situation
Bob is a lovely 7 year old male desexed cat. Last month his owner found him in a bad way, bleeding and suspected that he had been hit by a car, and quickly rushed him to the clinic for emergency care.
Bob was seen straight away. However, due to his high levels of stress and pain, our vet was unable to handle him right away. Bob had even bitten his owner when he had picked him up! Bob was placed in an oxygen chamber and allowed to settle in a quiet, darkened room under the watchful eyes of the nurses. Oxygen is very important for cats in emergency situations as stress and panic can cause difficulty in breathing.
Once Bob had calmed down and his breathing had stabilised, he was given a general anaesthetic. Dr Tanya examined Bob and discovered that his lower jaw was fractured but luckily he appeared to have no other major injuries. Dr Raj then performed a surgical procedure to wire Bob's jaw back in place. Bob was given pain relieving medications and recovered in our hospital.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of his injury, Bob would not eat any of his food, despite the best efforts of our nursing team. We began to syringe feed Bob a food called A/D which can be made into a paste and fed to patients through a syringe directly into the mouth. Bob was finding this method of feeding very stressful and the nurses found it difficult to feed him the amount of food he needed each day without causing him distress.
Dr Raj decided to send Bob home to see if being in a familiar environment would allow him to relax and begin eating on his own.
Bob's owner did his best to encourage him to eat at home and tried to syringe feed him too. However, Bob was not interested in eating and was distressed when being syringe fed. We advised Bob's owner to bring him back to the clinic so an oesophageal feeding tube could be placed in him. This tube enters the oesophagus from the side of the patient's neck to allow food to fed directly into the oesophagus bypassing the mouth. This means that feeding is a lot less stressful for the patient as they do not need to be restrained during feeding.
Dr Raj placed the feeding tube with Bob under anaesthetic. He also re-examined his jaw and realised that the wire he had placed had actually snapped! He re-wired the jaw as the wire is needed to hold the bone in place while healing. With his new wire and feeding tube, Bob started to do much better. The nursing team were able to feed him in a much more convenient and less stressful way. Over the next few days Bob came in for regular checks and his owner had good success feeding him at home. After a little over a week with the feeding tube Bob decided he had had enough. He began to eat small meals on his own and the feeding tube was removed. He continued to eat well at home and is making a good recovery. In another week or two, we will be able to remove the wire in Bob's jaw and hope that his life will now return to normal.