Posted By: Ellen - Vet

Finlay the kitten

Getting a new kitten is a time full of excitement and enjoyment. However it can also be a time fraught with worries as we try to make sure we do everything right. Sometimes things happen that are completely out of our control.

One such incidence occurred for the owners of a little kitten called Finlay. He was, very sadly, attacked by a dog; the dog picked him up in its teeth and shook poor Finlay from side to side. This was a traumatic experience for both Finlay and his owners. They called our emergency service and bought him straight down to the surgery. He had a very sore left front leg and the front of his mouth and a tooth had both been damaged. Our first step was to provide Finlay with some good pain relief and make him comfortable. He stayed with us overnight.

The next morning we sedated Finlay and took x-rays of his leg to see whether there were any broken bones. Then we took an x-ray of his chest as, although was managing to breathe ok, he was breathing rather fast. The X-rays showed that there were no fractures in his leg. However he had fractured one of his ribs and air was building up underneath the skin. Air had also built up between his lungs and his chest wall - this is called a pneumothorax. The course of action we take in these circumstances depends on how much air has built up. Fortunately for Finlay, there was only a small amount and he seemed to be breathing quickly but happily. He was also quite bright and was eating well. This meant that we left the air in place; it would be gradually reabsorbed over time. We decided that the fracture of the rib would also heal well without the need for surgery. While he was sedated we were able to examine his mouth more closely. We found that his canine tooth and the gum and part of bone surrounding it had been damaged. The tissues had become loose and although there was a small attachment we needed to stabilise this. As Finlay was still so small we were able to suture this area back to the stable tissues around it. Finlay was sent home later that day with some pain relief, as his leg was still quite sore and swollen even though nothing was broken.

We have had Finlay back a few times in the last weeks to check up on how well he is recovering. He has now resumed his normal life - charging around in true ‘kitten style’ despite his ordeal. His ribs are healing very well and the air in his chest has now been reabsorbed with his breathing is back down to a more normal rate. His leg has healed very well too, all the swelling has resolved and he is using it as normal again.

Finlay has bounced back brilliantly from his ordeal -although we imagine he might be a bit more wary of dogs in the future!


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