Broccoli is a 14 month old cat and loves attention from anyone whose attention he can attract so when his owners booked a family camping holiday in Cornwall, they were keen that Broccoli should stay at home and the help of a “cat sitter” was enlisted.
Broccoli loves to patrol his territory but tends not to go far from home so when he hobbled home on 3 legs, the cat sitter was puzzled.
Broccoli was rushed to our Thongsbridge surgery where he was seen by Helen, one of our Vets. It was very obvious that there was some pretty major bony damage to the right foreleg. He tends not to go far from home so a road traffic accident seemed unlikely but Broccoli definitely needed investigation and treatment, so he was transferred to the Donaldson’s Hospital Practice at Maple Street.
On arrival, I admitted him and took him straight to X-ray. As the digital x-ray picture appeared on screen, I had anticipated seeing the fractured radius and ulna but had not anticipated seeing the airgun pellet that was lodged deep in the leg beside the fragments of bone!
Unfortunately, this kind of injury is all too common and often happens during the school holidays. In Broccoli’s case, the bones in the right foreleg had exploded on impact with lots of tiny fragments. The pellet had carried hair with it which was embedded deep in the leg around the site of the fracture. Our options to repair this fracture were further limited because the broken bones were close to the wrist joint.
Accurate reconstruction of the fracture was impossible because there were so many fragments so an “external skeletal fixator” was applied with a bar down the inside and outside aspect of the leg. The important thing was to rigidly support the leg above and below the fracture and ensure that the leg was the correct length.
I am glad to say that Broccoli is back home and doing well on his leg. Being a young cat, his leg should heal well but a fracture of this severity is likely to lead to some longer term problems.
This was a nasty fracture but the consequences could have been even more serious had the pellet entered the chest or abdomen damaging a major organ. Air guns are not toys and someone irresponsible enough to shoot a cat without considering the consequences could easily shoot a person or another child. In my opinion, people shooting cats are on a slippery slope and should be dealt with very seriously indeed.