Age: 6 months old
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Sex: Male, desexed
History: Bakan, a super cute rescue kitten from Pets Without Partners, was living a fabulous life with his mum and dad in their unit. One night, Bakan’s owners realised that they hadn’t seen Bakan for half an hour or so. They then shortly afterwards received a call from PetER at Stafford Heights. A good Samaritan had found Bakan lying in their driveway and had kindly rushed him straight to the nearest emergency centre. It appeared that Bakan, being such an inquisitive and adventurous kitten, had taken a plunge from their 9th story unit!
PetER gave Bakan a thorough checking over. He was obviously painful and a bit weak in his hind legs. An X-Ray of his legs revealed no fractures but the vet was astonished to see a strange looking object in his stomach! The object looked a bit like wire. Could it be possible that Bakan also had a foreign body (an object that is not meant to be in there) in his tummy? Bakan was hospitalised overnight and closely monitored. The following day Bakan was transferred to Wilston Vet as he was stable enough to travel. Further investigations into why he could not walk and what the funny wire-like thing in his tummy were required
Examination: Dr Nichola examined Bakan with his dad as soon as he arrived as Wilston Vet. Bakan was able to rise and walk slowly and gingerly across the room. He appeared to be quite painful in his back legs but otherwise stable. Dr Nichola recommended repeating the X-Rays to double check the legs and spine for any damage and also to take a closer look at the foreign body that the emergency vet had seen.
Dr Nichola performed the X-Rays and found nothing apparently wrong with his hind legs or back. However she could clearly see the coiled object in his tummy – it did look like a piece of wire! Also noted on the X-Ray was possible lung contusions (bruises) and Nichola was also concerned that there wasn’t a clear line of the diaphragm (the muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity) which could indicate a hole in Bakan’s diaphragm (diaphragmatic hernia). Lung contusions and diaphragmatic hernias commonly occur when cats fall from such a height.
Dr Nichola discussed the findings with Bakan’s mum and dad and it was decided that as he was stable it would be risky to ignore the foreign body in his stomach and he should go to surgery that afternoon.
Treatment: Bakan was anaesthetised and taken to surgery. Nichola could easily feel the foreign body within the stomach. Nichola opened up Bakan’s stomach and the foreign body was found to be a broken hair tie!
The entire gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines) were thoroughly checked and no other foreign bodies could be felt. During the examination of Bakan’s abdomen, a diaphragmatic hernia was noticed! Bakan’s anaesthetic had ben very stable but he was now in some serious trouble. A diaphragmatic hernia is a tear in the muscle wall separating the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity. A hole in the diaphragm means that intestines and fat can move into the chest cavity. This can place a lot of pressure on the lungs and can prevent them from filling with air properly. As you can imagine this is very very serious and is considered an emergency. Dr Nichola immediately began to close the hole as quickly as she could. Once the hole was closed she checked very carefully for any other holes or injuries before suturing Bakan’s belly closed. A repeat X-Ray was taken of his chest and abdomen. Bakan’s chest looked great – the hole in the diaphragm was closed but frustratingly there was still a piece of hair tie in his abdomen! Bakan recovered from his surgery and anaesthetic very well.
Dr Nichola called Bakan’s mum and dad and they confirmed that Bakan was seen playing with a hair tie 2 days previously and that 2 hair ties were missing.
The remaining hair tie was discussed and it was decided that the hair tie should move through his gastrointestinal tract over the coming days but repeat X-Rays would help to ensure it was moving through safely. Bakan’s recovery from the diaphragmatic hernia surgery was considered to be much more serious than a bit of hair tie.
Bakan continued to be monitored in hospital for a few more days before being allowed to go home during the night when his parents were home. We are pleased to report that Bakan has made a great recovery. He is still a little ginger on his hind legs but this is improving daily and is understandable after falling 9 stories! We have been watching the last piece of hair tie in his tummy closely via repeat abdominal X-Rays and it has now disappeared without causing any issues. Bakan’s diaphragm has healed nicely too!
No doubt Bakan will not be allowed to play on the balcony again after this experience. He is one very lucky kitty to have managed to land on his feet after a 9 story fall (and to have found such dedicated parents who love him dearly!).
Bakan with Dr Nichola on his last day in hospital before going home