Warning: Gross pictures below
You may have seen Dizzy's picture with a face full of acupuncture needles. That's pretty much an "after" picture. We are definitely getting a happy ending. This is about the "before", when a good outcome didn't look too certain.
One of our great clients moved into a new (for her) house that came with some outside cats as a bonus feature. Some were more friendly than others, but she took them all on as family, more or less. Around January 23, she could tell something was wrong with Dizzy, but she couldn't catch him.
By January 26, he wasn't moving around much, and he was perched in a tree, huddled up. You could tell that there was something wrong with his face. Our client is not much for climbing trees. Fortunately, he wasn't up very high, as my helper, Shannon, isn't all that enthusiastic about climbing trees, even to rescue a cat for a friend.
You've heard it said that cats have nine lives. This stems from the fact that they have incredible healing powers. They recover from some injuries that just look devastating. I don't believe that Dizzy could have recovered from this one without some help, though. In fact, it's taken weeks even with all the help we could give him.
We sedated him for a good look, but it surely didn't look good. Here you can see that his lower lip and skin under the jaw are avulsed – torn loose and hanging down like an apron. What's not so noticeable in this picture is that the flesh is stripped from the sides of his jawbones (mandibles). Naked bone showing on the outside of both jaws. Also, the mandibular symphisis (where the two halves of the jaw join in front) is not joined very well any more. Also, it was crammed full of dirt, actual sand.
In this picture, you can see that his tongue is cut more than halfway in two, more like 3/4. What you can't really see is that his left upper jaw is split from front to back, and the split is full of sand and pus. It took over an hour to gently clean as much dirt and debris as possible from the wounds. When I gently flushed the upper jaw split with saline, it made his eye bulge, and fluid came out his nose. I took out a couple of teeth, too.
I spent over an hour suturing the tongue, wiring the lower jaw, and reattaching the lower lip. Then we put in an esophagostomy tube to feed him (the feeding tube is implanted through a hole in his neck) , because he sure as heck couldn't do anything with his mouth… except hurt.
I left the upper jaw alone for the moment, mostly because I really didn't know what to do with it. He'd been out for two hours, and it was 8:00 at night, so tough to get hold of a specialist.
We filled him full of antibiotics and pain medicine and waited to see how he responded.
To be continued…