Cats have been keeping us busy at the hospital

Cats have inbuilt mechanism to save their nine lives.

Cats have inbuilt mechanism to save their nine lives.

PAWS AND CLAWS: At this time of year, a little bit of sunshine is so awesome and makes everyone feel happier.

Our furry friends are much the same, but the warm asphalt is not the safest place to relax and kick back for the afternoon.

Last Saturday was a very busy day for me with one car accident after another arriving at the hospital. All the nurses were at work and were kept busy attending to all the patients.

Miley was rushed in that day by an understandably distressed mum. Miley is a 7-month-old black female kitten that is always teasing her house mate Sam, the ever tolerant labrador.

But this day she had decided to visit another feline playmate over the road. As per every car accident patient, we treat the immediate life-threatening injuries first, which include internal injuries, shock and head trauma. Once stabilised, we can approach any other injuries, such as cuts and broken bones.

Miley was immediately given pain relief, admitted to the hospital, placed on a drip and given intravenous medication. From there on, the nurses monitored her constantly for any deterioration.

Unfortunately, she had received a nasty blow to her face, but luckily she responded well and after several hours was back in a stable condition with no other injuries.

A common injury in these cases is a little safety device that cats and dogs have. Instead of their jaw breaking in several places, the point of the lower jaw, the chin, separates and relieves the pressure. The two lower jaw bones meet in the middle at the front and in young animals this is a soft-cartilage join that easily separates.

The next day, Miley was safely anaesthetised and we placed a stainless steel surgical wire around the jaw fracture to hold it in place for four weeks

Within a day, Miley was playing with her toys in her recovery enclosure and wanting to go home. One side of her face was still a little swollen, but after a week we were able to send Miley back home eating soft food and confined to the house. That's one life used up.

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Another very helpful inbuilt safety device in cats, apart from their ability to outrun a dog – usually – is their enhanced ability to clot their blood, more so than dogs.

So, we very rarely have to give cats fresh blood transfusions, unlike dogs, which we keep fresh blood on hand for at all times. Cunning little creatures. Along with their righting reflex, they are real little survivors.

Cats are also like helicopters. Well, so one of my nurses says, and she is actually quite right. You see, helicopters evidently can safely auto rotate – like a sycamore seed – to the ground if they are above a certain height, but below that they tend to fall a bit harder. Cats similarly survive a fall from a height above six storeys much better than below that level.

It is called "high-rise syndrome". I actually had two cats do exactly that in England, and one is very memorable and still makes me smile.

This little cat walked out of a 7th floor louvre-sized window while investigating a fly. He was only 4-months-old at the time and lived to tell all his friends.

He came in to the clinic with just two broken front legs and a grazed chin. We splinted his legs and after six weeks of strict confinement, we were able to remove the splints and return him home to his elderly owner. The joy on that lady's face when I arrived at her door with a cardboard box containing her companion was just awesome.

So, like Humpty Dumpty, we can usually put them back together again. If the unthinkable does happen, call 357 9993. We are here seven days and are open until 7pm during weeknights. Have a great week and laugh every day.

 - Stuff


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