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Saturday, 10 June 2017

Curiosity Didn’t Kill The Cat...But It Did Fracture Her Pelvis

I was just about to write a kitten update on here to discuss the things we’ve learnt about looking after kittens etc, but then three weeks ago Blossom decided to seriously test us! I’ll take you back to Tuesday 16th May! Grab a snack...it's a lengthy story! 

The Jump!

We live in a three storey house, and our bathroom/bedroom is on the top floor. We have skylight/Velux style windows on the garden side of the house, and at about 8:45pm after I got out of the bath I opened it to let some cool air in. Bramble was laying on the bathroom floor keeping me company, as he always does when I have a bath (little perv), but I hadn’t seen Blossom upstairs. I got out of the bath and walked into my bedroom to sit on my laptop/check my phone, and I was probably sat there for about 2 or 3 minutes. I then heard a crash, like a shampoo bottle had been knocked into the bath, and Bramble came running out of the bathroom. I walked in saying “what have you knocked over…” to him, but there was nothing out of place. Then I looked up at the open skylight. I shouted to David downstairs, hoping Blossom was with him…she wasn’t. I made a mad dash down the 2 flights of stairs and then I saw her…standing at the patio door…on the outside! She had jumped up onto the window ledge and had fallen/slipped off the roof. I have no idea if she hit the fence, washing line, table or straight onto the patio/grass. I opened the door to let her in, and she just dragged her back leg through and hid under the table. I didn’t panic, I knew the number to call for our out of hours vets and they told us to bring her in. So at 8:50pm we put her in her carrier and drove to Northampton.

We parked up and took her into the waiting room, and then I looked in to see if she was doing ok (she’d obviously cried the whole 20 min drive). There was blood all in her carrier, her cushion was soaked. I told the receptionist and we were seen pretty quickly after that! Blossom was given a quick examine for a wound but nothing was found…the vet suspected the blood came with her urine!! This was critical, because there was a possibility that she had ruptured her bladder in the fall and now was bleeding internally. They told us they would keep her over night and give her pain relief. When she was feeling better they would ultrasound her to see what was going on. So we drove home, knowing we could ring whenever we wanted…but to try and get some sleep. I arranged with work to have an emergency day off the next day so that I could pick her up when they needed me to.

I had kept my cool for about 2 hours up until this point, which I was so proud of myself for. I’ve become so good at not being hysterical over dramatic situations in my later 20s, I suppose this is normal for everyone as they mature. But as soon as I left that vets without her…I burst into tears. I had such a bad night’s sleep. I felt so much guilt and just wanted to turn back the clock. How could I have let that happen?! I still blame myself now. David doesn’t blame me at all, and he asked me if I’d blame him if he’d done it…I said I probably would have.  I got up at 5am and rang them to see how she was. They told us she was stable and doing ok, but she had passed more blood in her urine. They were preparing to ultrasound her soon, and they would ring us at about 7am to see how it went. This made me feel a bit more calm, as I hate being out the loop with things like this. At 7am on the dot I got a phone call. She had had her ultrasound, and they were confident that there was no internal damage to her organs. They explained that the blood was probably a trauma bruise from impact and that it would eventually pass, but to keep an eye on it. They said it would be best at this point to transfer her back to my local regular vets for her to have her sedation and x-ray, so I came in at 8am to collect her. She looked much better when I saw her that morning, as she was now on some very strong painkillers! I painstakingly paid the £500 vets bill and drove her back home (I’ll get to all the insurance details later…)



The Diagnosis 

My local vet was expecting us, and greeted us when we arrived. She told me to go home, and she’d ring me later in the day when she'd had the x-ray. That was the longest day of my life!! I tried to distract myself with daytime TV, but I had to ring David in the end to ask if I could watch some Downton Abbey without him (those of you currently watching boxsets with a partner will know the absolute cheek of that question)!! Eventually at 3pm she rang me, Blossom had fractured her pelvis! She said although it was a break, it was very clean..and although she wanted an expert opinion from our nearest pet surgeon, she thought Blossom may heal without an operation. She said a lot of times if you leave a cat in a crate for 6 weeks, a broken pelvis will heal itself! 



She sent the x-ray off anyway, and told me while we await the results we needed to buy a crate that was big enough for a bed, litter tray, food and for her to stand/sit!! So I rushed out to get her new home and other bits, set it up and then collected her. While we were in the vets, she explained to me there might be some nerve damage, which was the hardest thing to hear because I hadn’t considered that. She told me to keep a close eye on her in the evening, to make sure she can consciously get into a litter tray and go (1&2!) She said if she had become incontinent due to the fall, there was nothing we could do and she would have to be put down! If it turned out she did need an op, they wouldn’t go ahead unless they were sure she could hold her bladder. I made a follow up appointment for 6pm the next day, and took her home (after paying another £250!). I was so frightened, and I spent all night watching her. She took to her crate really well, and she didn’t cry too much. We have it in the lounge because that’s where we spend most of our time when we are in the house, and we wanted to sit with her as much as we could. Bramble could smell the vets on her and he wouldn’t go anywhere near the crate. Even when we made him, he hissed and ran away! Eventually at like 10pm she climbed into her litter tray, squatted and did a wee! I was so relieved!

Needing The Operation

When I woke up the next morning to go to work, she did another wee, and I knew I had to ring the vets to tell them the good news! I left her in the crate and went to work, and made the call when the vets opened. They were so pleased on the phone, but said the surgeon still hadn’t replied to his emails yet, so we’d wait and see what he said. I had barely got to tell my dramatic story to everyone, when the vets rang me back! They had spoken to the specialist who was strongly recommending we operate on her. Although the brake was clean, he pointed out that it had narrowed the back of the pelvis (as you can see in the x-ray). He was worried if she was just left in a crate for 6 weeks, as she put pressure on her leg it would fuse that way forever, which would cause her bowel problems in the future. He wanted her in ASAP to pin the pelvis back in place, making it a nice rectangular shape again! Work let me to nip home, grab her (not grab..but you get the idea) and drive her over to Northampton again to the specialist vet. They explained everything to me and told me they would ring me when the op was over. They rang me at about 4pm that day to say the operation was a success and she was all pinned back in place. She was doing great and was being very fussy! They told me they’d keep her in overnight and I could collect her after work on the Friday (which is good because I finish at 3pm on a Friday, so it gave them a good amount of time to keep an eye on her).

The Money Bit 

So I got to the vets at like 3:30pm the next day, and I remember it was absolutely chucking it down! I went to reception and they said “let sort out your insurance before we get Blossom out, get it out the way now”. So like I’ve mentioned, so far Blossoms treatment had come to about £800…and there was the £1675 operation to pay for. Now…I knew we weren’t paying a lot for their insurance, but I soon realised over those 3 days how crap it really was. I knew that we were covered for £4000 a year…and that my excess was £105, but we didn’t quite realise how limited our limitations were. I had read the small print don’t get me wrong, we knew what we were covered for, we just hadn’t anticipated exactly how steep vets bills are. We were only covered up to a certain point with consultations, referral consultations and hospitalisation fees, meaning when we claim, we won’t get it all back! We’ve worked out that we will end up being roughly £500 out of pocket by the time this comes back. Another thing that we didn’t realise is that we would have to foot the bill upfront before claiming back, as vets will only directly claim through some of the more bigger trusted companies (which ours is not). Luckily we had the savings, but it was all we had! We were also offered help by various family members, but didn’t need to take it in the end. It has taught us a huge lesson, and as soon as our year is up in October (or sooner if we can) we will be changing insurance companies to ‘Pet Plan’ and making sure we have much better cover! There is nothing worse than going through the stress of an injured pet, with the added financial strain hanging over you! I just keep telling myself AT LEAST we had pet insurance. A lot of pet owners don’t. If you don’t, please get it!! So we filled out all the paperwork and then they called me into the consultation room with Blossom.

Recovery 

It was so nice to see her, and she immediately wanted a fuss! I could already tell that she had her mobility back in her leg! She was wearing her cone of shame, to stop her pulling her plaster off and licking the stitches. The vet got her x-ray up and explained everything to me, she showed me where the screw they fitted was. 


She then explained to me the different physiotherapy exercises we needed to do with her 3 times a day for 4 weeks while she was healing. This includes a thorough massage of her muscles to warm her up, especially around her neck and down to her tail due to the pressure she’ll be putting on her front legs. I then have to do rounds of 10 joint flexing at her ankle, knee and hip. We're so lucky that she's pretty docile because she lets us do anything to her! This is then followed by a little bit of walking around. I can’t allow her to jump on or down from anything, climb stairs or get into vigorous play (but I have to admit this is very difficult with a cat that moves at the speed of light…so we have had a few escapes/mishaps!) We then have to put a cold compress around the injured area for 5 mins to cool her down…then it’s back in the crate! I usually feed her at this time, to distract her from the fact that I’m closing the crate door. If we do this and then leave the house or go to bed she doesn’t cry at all. If we put her away and stay in the house she’ll cry for about 10-20 mins until she settles down and sleeps. Its hard limiting this to 3 times a day because I feel guilty for caging her! She is such an adventurous cat (as we all now know), so she must hate being confined all day, but it’s for her own welfare.





Stitches Out To Now

12 days after her op we took her into my local vet to have the stitches removed, which meant she could finally remove her cone of shame which she hated. She even managed to escape from it once or twice but luckily she didn't pull her stitches out. She was such a good girl, and to be honest I think by now she is so used to vets prodding and poking her that she just lets them crack on. I was so glad she was able to be in her crate in the daytime without the cone and do things like eat and drink easier, and clean herself! It was so sad watching her trying and failing to clean herself with the cone on, she could just about get to her tail. Because she's a semi long hair, she likes to groom all day, and I think it was frustrating. So ever since then we have just repeated the same physio routine and we've been counting down the weeks until she can come out and live a normal life again. Her and Bramble are best friends again, and sometimes when she's out he sneaks into her crate for a sit down!! We have just over a week until her follow up x-ray, which will show how well she's been healing. I hope we've done a good job making her rest, because I just want my Floofy back to normal! This has been such a life lesson for the both of us in so many ways, and even though a broken pelvis is terrible, it could have been a lot worse.


If you want to follow her journey, check out their Instagram! I've been doing regular updates. And if you have any questions please comment below!
x

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