Rafa is a lovely 11 year old cat who is generally very healthy if slightly accident prone.
In February when he came to Cogges for his annual booster, Vet Karen had a surprise when she found a hard lump in the skin under his jaw, which she felt was likely to be an airgun pellet. It was removed under sedation and Rafa has made a full recovery. Cats are very good at masking their pain, and the pellet would only have made a small wound, so Rafa’s owner’s had not been aware that it was there. Airgun pellets are not a very common cause of injury in animals but we do see them occasionally, either at the time of the injury or as in Rafa’s case, as an incidental finding.
If left untreated the airgun pellet could have been a source of pain and inflammation, or potentially caused lead toxicity, so it’s lucky that Karen found it.
It is obviously illegal to fire an airgun at a cat but unfortunately the offence can be hard to prove.
Annual booster appointments are not just to keep your pet’s immunity against infectious diseases up to date; they give us other valuable information about their health. The vets will take a history to find out if there are any changes in your pet’s behaviour, such as appetite, thirst or activity levels. The vet will then examine your pet including areas that can be tricky or impossible to check at home, such as the teeth, listening to the heart and lungs and palpating the abdomen. The appointments are a valuable opportunity for you to discuss any concerns you may have about your pet’s health and welfare.