Garfield makes full recovery after months of treatment at Alnorthumbria Vets

An X-ray shows the break.An X-ray shows the break.
An X-ray shows the break.
Garfield, a nine-year-old domestic short haired cat was originally seen at our Alnwick branch in the middle of June.

He had been missing for a week and turned up with significant trauma to both his front legs. His owners brought him straight down to the practice where he was triaged and admitted for treatment.

Initial investigation included blood work and imaging to assess the damage to his legs and also to ensure his major body systems remained unharmed from starvation and dehydration. Thankfully Garfield’s bloodwork showed no permanent organ damage.

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His x-rays showed massive soft tissue loss on both legs and a fracture of the Ulna on the right leg. As you can imagine a week old wound in the summer heat was showing signs of significant infection.

The wounds were swabbed and sent to the laboratory to identify the bacteria and the best antibiotics to use. To encourage tissue regrowth in the wounds Garfield had daily dressing changes with nurse Kim and was given antibiotics to combat the infection.

After six weeks the infection was under control, his left leg had filled in well but the fracture in the right leg was preventing tissue growth.

Orthopaedic vet Richard placed an external fixation device to stabilise the fracture while healing of both tissue and bone continued. As the soft tissue had regrown in the left leg Richard also closed that wound with sutures.

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For the next six weeks Garfield was seen regularly by both Kim and Richard for dressing changes, progress x-rays and general wellness checks. He took all of this in his stride and tolerated every intervention as long as treats were provided!

It became apparent one of the pins in Garfield’s external fixation device was the site of a bacterial infection and had become loose. The decision was made to remove the external fixator and continue with dressings. The pins were sent to the laboratory for another culture to identify which bacteria were in the leg at this point. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly different bacteria had taken hold so a change of antibiotics was needed.

The good news is that after nearly three months of treatment both of Garfield’s legs have made a full recovery and he is back to full health.

We would like to thank Garfield’s owners for their time and dedication through what was a lengthy recovery fraught with complications.

Kim Fairbairn RVN.

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