Thursday, July 28, 2005

Chicken Little

On Tuesday a client brought in a stray cat with an injured back leg. She'd been gimping around for a week but they couldn't catch her until that day. She was too wild to look at without anesthesia, so we dumped her from her carrier into the "tank" - a modified glass aquarium that we run gas into until the subject passes out.

This little 5 pound cat had severely injured her left hind leg. No broken bones, but all the skin had been long ago stripped off her entire ankle. All the bones of her tarsus (ankle) were exposed, surrounded by a few stringy tendons. Her foot was a contracted, shriveled, dead monkey paw. Like Tales from the Crypt. Like a chicken wing in the fryer too long. Leave that chicken wing on the bottom of your garbage can for about 5 days, and that's what it smelled like, too.

I told the new "owners" she needed an amputation, and discussed our concerns about her quality of life as a 3-legged stray cat. But, they were willing to keep her and pay for the procedure, so I gave her an antibiotic shot, and we cleaned up the leg as much as possible.

Today I spayed her first, and it was obvious she'd already had at least one set of kittens this year. Then I removed her leg, disarticulating it at the hip joint. Although it was only infected below the knee, there really is no point in sparing part of the limb, since she won't be walking on a prosthesis, and a "peg leg" is more prone to injury and self trauma. The surgery went well, even though it was a bit gristly. I gave her a local nerve block, an NSAID, and morphine to try to dull the pain.

After she recovered, she ate well, and even let my nurse pet her. There's hope for her yet. Her owners picked her up, pleased. My nurse nicknamed her "Chicken Little", for her scaredy-cat attitude and her gross, exposed, shriveled leg (now mercifully gone).

9 comments:

Jess said...

Aww, Dr. Jennifer always saving the day! That poor little cat. Thank goodness it had such a good doctor to take care of it.

EdamameMommy said...

Did you save it for a key chain?

(ewh, I'm laughing and disgusted by myself at the same time. hee hee hee.)

Was there lots of cautery? I bet there was.
Speaking of things that gross me out...
My friend's poople is licking and scooting it's butt. Does that mean it needs it's glands expressed?

Emily said...

ha ha...was Steph drinking wine? "My friend's poople" I'm assuming it's a poodle unless there's some new breed?
Nice to hear that your clients were willing to take responsibility for this stray.

EdamameMommy said...

STONE COLD SOBER and this chick still can't spell. Sheesh. Got another silent, teary eyed giggle from all that though, so it's worth being a pea-brain, I guess!

dakotablueeyes said...

Hi, I have a question for you. Doesn't pertain to your post but I wanted to know if tumors were hereditary? My brother's wolfdog was found to have one and they don't yet know if its hereditary but he would like to breed him but not if tumors are hereditary. Thanks for any info!!

Jennifer said...

Blue Eyes, some tumors do have a hereditary tendency, but not all. It depends on the type of tumor. Best to check with the vet who diagnosed the tumor: ask what type, how aggressive it is, how malignant (ie likely to spread), and if it is hereditary.

Thanks for reading.

dakotablueeyes said...

Thanks I appreciate it and I will let my brother know.

EdamameMommy said...

So unless I am a stranger I don't warrant a response to my poople question??!?!!? man, and I thought sisterhood meant something.

Jennifer said...

Hey, Steph, sorry about that! I intended to send you a personal email regarding your poople query, but ya know how that goes...

I think you are on track about the anal glands needing to be expressed. Most people think when dogs scoot, its due to worms, but 99% of the time its full anal glands.

And, actually there was no cautery on the kitty leg. There were only 2 large vessels I had to tie off. Since the leg was necrotic it wasn't very vascular - not like a super inflammed infected scrotum!