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The Last String for Tiddles!
9 April 2017
Tiddles is a lovely young cat who is very curious and loves to play with string. However this recently got her into a spot of bother and Tiddles had to pay a visit to her vet, following 4 days of vomiting and fever, a very painful abdomen and she was refusing to eat.
Tiddles was referred to Willows when her home vets noticed that the radiographs of her abdomen looked abnormal but no obvious foreign body was visible. Tiddles was first examined by one of Willows Internal Medicine Specialists, Isuru Gajanayake. When Isuru examined Tiddles she had a very painful abdomen and he recommended an abdominal ultrasound. The ultrasound showed there was a linear foreign body (linear foreign bodies are caused by material such as string, thread, tinsel or similar materials) which was causing a severe obstruction of the intestines. Tiddles was transferred urgently to Specialist surgeon Vincent Guerin to remove the foreign body from the intestines. Before surgery, Vincent explained to Tiddles’ owners that linear foreign bodies were sometimes very challenging to remove because they were able to cut through the intestines in multiple places and it was not always possible to remove them without irreversible damage of the intestines and this could be life-threatening. Tiddles’ owners were committed and wanted to do everything they could to help their beloved Tiddles.
Once Tiddles was anaesthetised by our Specialist Anaesthesia team, Vincent discovered there was a string attached under Tiddles’ tongue. The string was cut without pulling on it to avoid damaging the intestines where the other end of the string was lodged. The surgery involved opening the abdomen and then thoroughly examining the intestines. The string had unfortunately perforated the intestines in ten places. This was a very challenging surgery, removing all of the damaged parts of the intestines was not an option because the entire length of the small intestines was affected. At this stage, the outcome of the surgery was critical for Tiddles. During the three hours of surgery, Vincent needed to make six surgical incisions in the intestines to carefully remove the entire string and multiple stitches were required to close all the perforations of the intestines. This was a long and complex surgery.
Tiddles string attached under the tongue
Tiddles string perforating the small intestines
Tiddles multiple opening of the intestines to remove the string
To aid the recovery for Tiddles, a feeding tube was placed in the oesophagus because Tiddles had not eaten for a few days and the recovery from this type of complex surgery was expected to be slow. After surgery, Tiddles’ owners were warned that due to the nature of the surgery, the contents of the intestines might leak and cause a severe infection in the abdomen. Vincent explained it was unlikely that Tiddles would survive a second surgery if this happened. After a short period of dedication and care from the team at Willows, Tiddles had a very good recovery and was discharged four days after her major surgery with her feeding tube in place. Tiddles went from strength to strength at home, she was eating normally seven days after surgery and her feeding tube was removed.
Tiddles after surgery with her feeding tube
Two months after surgery, she is now a happy cat but is definitely not allowed to play with strings anymore…