Alfie is a 3 year old cat who was attacked by two dogs in November. As terrifying as the attack was to see, fortunately his owner was nearby and was able to take him immediately to our emergency service in Woodstock. On arrival there he was in a critical condition, with multiple wounds, breathing difficulties, neurological abnormalities and severe shock. He was hospitalised for intravenous fluids, pain relief and oxygen therapy. His owner was warned that his prognosis was guarded due to the severity of his injuries.
After 24 hours of intensive care he had improved but was still unstable; his breathing deteriorated every time he was moved. Both pupils were dilated and unresponsive to light. He was unable to eat as he had a lot of swelling around his neck, and although he was able to move around he was dragging his back legs. Alfie had puncture wounds on his flanks and in his groin which were initially thought to be superficial.
Over the next few days, with continued pain relief, antibiotic therapy, fluids and intensive nursing care, Alfie made some improvement and seemed more comfortable. However, he was still not eating and or using his right hind leg, and he still had neurological deficits on the left side of his face. As a result of these ongoing problems he was transferred to Willows Referral Service in Solihull for further investigation and treatment.
Alfie was anaesthetised for a CT scan of his neck, chest and abdomen. This showed several abnormalities – there was air under the skin of the neck and chest, and in the space between the lungs, which was likely caused by the injury to his neck. There was also air present between the abdominal organs, caused by the wounds on his abdomen. Alfie also had multiple fractures of the transverse processes of the lumbar spine, and a minimally displaced pelvic fracture.
No surgical treatment was needed for these injuries, just time, rest and supportive care, so Alfie was given further antibiotics and pain relief. While he was under anaesthetic, a feeding tube was placed into his oesophagus to allow his nutritional needs to be met while he was recovering.
Ten days after being attacked, Alfie returned home to his owner and vet Julie here at Cogges took over his care.
Over the next few weeks Julie saw Alfie frequently to monitor his recovery. Alfie’s owner did an incredible job of nursing him during this time. She fed him through the tube, administered his medication and changed the dressing around the tube. This meant that Alfie could recover at home in his own environment, instead of staying at Cogges Vets.
Unfortunately his recovery was further complicated when he developed large, painful abscesses on his flank and in his groin which required flushing and further antibiotic treatment following culture and sensitivity of swabs. Once the bruising and abscesses had resolved, he was feeling much better and started eating again so his feeding tube could be removed.
Six weeks after his injuries occurred Alfie was bright and lively but still not able to fully use his right leg properly, so he started physiotherapy.Now, three months on from his attack, he is going out and climbing trees! He still doesn’t have full use of his right hind leg, but it is improving slowly. His owner is very relieved that he has made such a good recovery from all of his injuries.