Breed: DLH (Domestic Long Hair)
Sex: Desexed Male
Age: 12 years
Weight: 8.1 kg ( Big!)
History: Sherman’s owner found him one morning with a sore front leg and not his normal happy self.
Dr Brothers examined Sherman and found him to have a very sore and swollen front left leg. There was also pus coming from the leg. It was suspected Sherman had been in a cat fight and the abscess was a result of puncture wounds. An abscess is a pocket of pus and damaged tissue under the skin. The pain Sherman was feeling was quite severe and the extent of the injury could not be determined whilst he was awake.
Examination: Temperature: 40.2C this is very high for a cat. The fever was due to his body trying to fight the infection he had in his leg. (normal cat temperature is between 37.7C– 39.1C).
Heart Rate: 160 beats per minute – this increase is due to factors such as stress, pain and anxious emotional state. (normal heart rate for a cat is between 110-140 beats per minute)
Plan: Due to the leg being extremely painful the plan was to give Sherman a general anaesthetic and for Dr Brothers to flush and clean the wound. Consent was given by Sherman’s owner to commence the procedure.
Treatment: Prior to the procedure commencing, Nurse Amanda gave Sherman his premedication. This consisted of a tranquilizer to help decrease any stress Sherman may have been experiencing and an analgesic which helped to provide pain relief pre-operatively. This also helped to ensure a smoother induction of the anaesthesia and decrease the amount of anaesthetic agent needed.
After 20 minutes, Sherman was nice and relaxed and ready to go into surgery. An intravenous catheter was placed into his right leg and Dr Brothers gave him the anaesethetic agent to make Sherman go to sleep. Sherman was then placed on the anaesthetic machine where he was to be maintained on the anaesthetic gas isoflurane and oxygen which he would breathe through an endotracheal tube. Sherman was placed Sherman on Saline Drip to help maintain proper fluid balance and blood pressure.
The leg was shaved to reveal the extent of his injury and to rid the surgical site of any unnecessary hair. Dr Brothers found a large hole and an area of dead skin over his inner left forearm.
The area was then flushed with saline to bring the pus and dead tissue to the surface. This was repeated several times until the solution was clear and then the dead skin was cut away.
A Penrose drain was inserted into Sherman’s leg. A Penrose drain is made of latex and the purpose of it is to allow the accumulation of pus and other debris to flow to the exterior from pockets under the skin and thus allow healing. Without good drainage, infections tend to fester and recur.
The wound was then sutured together.
An Elizabethan collar was placed on Sherman to prevent him from tearing the Penrose drain or sutures out. He would still be able to eat and drink with the collar on (though I am sure he wasn’t impressed by having to wear it!)
On recovery, Sherman was given an antibiotic injection to fight the infection and a non-steroid anti-inflammatory injection to help alleviate the pain.
Sherman recovered well from surgery and was placed on a heated bed to avoid hypothermia (small patients tend to lose body temperature from general anaesthesia).
Sherman went home that afternoon and was to be given antibiotics every day for 10 days and had to have his wound bathed daily with dilute iodine to remove any pus or debris draining from the wound. Sherman was not a fan of the medication but otherwise recovered well. Four days later he had an appointment to have his drain removed. Dr Brothers was happy with how the area was healing.
The sutures were removed at 10 days post surgery. The area had healed beautifully and Sherman was a much happier cat!