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Close Call for Max!

11 September 2016

This story features a dramatic end to what seemed like an innocent cat bite injury for Max. Max came home from his adventures outside one day with a limp and some swelling of one of his front legs. He was taken to his usual vets and after a thorough check over, was treated with antibiotics and pain relief for what was assumed to be a normal cat bite injury. After initially improving, Max then developed a cough and wheezing followed shortly afterwards by the onset of severe respiratory distress. Radiographs were taken of Max’s chest at his vets and they revealed a dramatic finding! His trachea (windpipe) had an area of extreme restriction, which was causing Max’s severe breathing problems. Due to the severity and complex nature of this injury Max was referred to Willows to see the soft tissue specialist team.


Close Call for Max

Radiograph printed with permission from Holmer Veterinary Surgery, Hereford. The arrows show the restricted area of the wind pipe.

Max was examined by soft tissue Specialist, Chris Shales, who suspected a complete tear of the trachea had occurred and admitted him to the hospital for further investigations. However, tracheal rupture injuries are usually only found following severe blunt trauma (e.g. a fall from a tree or car accident) and so there was some concern Max’s problem might have a different cause. The Specialist imaging team here at Willows performed the CT scan which revealed a fracture of the scapula (shoulder blade) as well as the tracheal injury. The nature of the shoulder blade injury confirmed Max had indeed been subjected to blunt trauma and confirmed the initial diagnosis of his tracheal injury.


Close Call for Max

CT scan of Max with the arrow showing the stricture of the windpipe.

This type of injury to the windpipe is life-threatening and so emergency surgery was required. Max was carefully assessed by our Specialist anaesthesia team who vigilantly monitored Max throughout his procedure. Chris performed the delicate surgery which involved entering into the chest cavity and surgically removing the damaged area of windpipe and very carefully and accurately re-joining the two healthy ends of the windpipe back together! After the surgery Max spent a short time in our intensive care unit being cared for by our dedicated intensive care team.

We are so pleased to say that Max had an excellent recovery from surgery and after spending a little time in the hospital he was reunited with his adoring owners!


Close Call for Max

Max relaxing during his stay at Willows.