A cat who suffered a shattered leg after being shot with an air rifle needed a two-hour operation at a Cheshire vets to remove the pellet and repair the widespread damage.
The one-year-old cat, called Obi, was referred to Northwest Veterinary Specialists, in Runcorn, where orthopaedic specialist Nick Macdonald took charge of the challenging case.
The shot had broken his left femur, with X-rays showing the fracture of the femur and the airgun pellet which remained lodged in the muscles of the thigh.
Following the operation, an external skeletal fixator and bone pin were used to hold the bone in the correct place and help it heal.
Nick said: “Whenever a pellet or bullet goes into the body it takes a lot of hair and skin with it, which increases the risk of infection.
“It also causes the bone to splinter into lots of small pieces which can’t be pieced back together.
“In these circumstances a fixation of the fracture is required, which allows the bone to heal by formation of a callus which then remodels over time into the original shape of the bone.
“Obi went to surgery and we removed as much hair and debris as possible along with the air rifle pellet to try and minimise infection.
“An external skeletal fixator and bone pin was then used to hold the bone in the correct length and alignment while the callus formed to repair the fracture.
“Intraoperative X-rays were used to help guide the pin placement, minimising the disruption to the blood supply of the callus to hopefully encourage faster bone healing.
“The fracture took 13 weeks to fully heal at which point the external skeletal fixator and bone pin were removed, completely, which again minimises the risk of persistent infection.”
Obi’s owner Hayley Williams, from Rhos-on-Sea, North Wales, said: “I was getting ready to take my daughter to school in the morning when I heard screaming and crying.
“Moments later Obi had made his way up the stairs and I noticed his leg straight away, it just looked like it was hanging off.
“He was in so much pain, really crying, screaming and once he got to me, he collapsed to the floor, like he’d tried his hardest to make it home to me, where he felt safe and knew I’d help him.
“I have never had to leave Obi anywhere and I was so worried he’d think we’d abandoned him, but every single member of staff we spoke to were so kind.
“I am so grateful Obi got the care and treatment he needed. I can’t thank everyone at Northwest Veterinary Specialists enough for how amazing they were.”
Northwest Veterinary Specialists (NWVS) is one of the UK’s leading specialist-led animal hospitals. It offers care in anaesthesia and analgesia, diagnostic imaging, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, orthopaedics and soft tissue surgery.
For more information visit www.nwspecialists.com or search for Northwest Veterinary Specialists on social media.