Braveheart “Ted” Sinfield

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At the beginning of June last year, an eight-year-old black male cat named Ted was brought in with severe facial injuries. After a thorough, but very gentle, examination, our vet Laura suspected that he had been involved in a road traffic accident (RTA) after going missing overnight. Often the most serious damage following an RTA is internal, although the most reliable external sign is scuffed claws - poor Ted's claws were very badly damaged.

Ted was immediately admitted, with strong pain relief to make him feel more comfortable. The next step was to assess the extent of any internal injuries with chest and abdominal x-rays. The vets were praying not to see evidence of a diaphragmatic hernia, a life-threatening condition where a tear in the muscular partition between the abdomen and chest allows organs such as the stomach, liver and intestines into the chest cavity. Fortunately for Ted, his diaphragm was intact and all his internal organs looked fine.

Once it was clear that Ted didn’t require emergency surgery, nurse Charlotte prepared a cosy kennel and Ted was placed on a drip, to be given continuous pain relief. We kept a very close eye on Ted for the next 24 hours, offering him all sorts of tasty foods and treats, but as you can imagine he wasn’t in the mood for eating.

Now that Ted was stable, Laura was happy that it was safe to put him under a general anaesthetic. Radiographs of his skull were taken, revealing fractures to his upper and lower jaw. Cat asleep  An examination of Ted’s mouth found severe bruising, two broken upper canine teeth and a large laceration to his tongue. Laura was able to wire Ted's bottom jaw, remove the shattered teeth and stitch up Ted's tongue, but it was clear that a 3-D CT (computed tomography) scan of Ted's skull would be required in order to identify any further injuries or fractures.

As Ted could not eat, Laura fitted an oesophageal feeding tube and Charlotte worked out a feeding regime high in protein and nutrients to aid rapid repair of tissues and get Ted back on his feet as quickly as possible. Ted stayed with us for a further five days, quickly becoming a firm favourite of the nursing team who monitored his progress closely and regularly administered pain relief and medication for his damaged eye (along with as much attention as he could bear!)

When he was well enough to go home, Ted's owner did a fantastic job for the next two weeks, feeding Ted via the feeding tube. Unfortunately the CT scan then undertaken at Fitzpatrick Referrals revealed two further fractures to his zygomatic arches (similar to cheek bones) and an external fixator was attached to hold the bones together.

Ted's long road to recovery continued once more, with strict rest and plenty of TLC at home, supplemented with a weekly visit to Sandhole for the external brace to be checked, followed by a gentle face wash! After six weeks Ted began eating of his own accord and so we were able to remove the feeding tube and jaw brace - things were finally starting to look up. Unfortunately a few weeks later it became clear that the damaged left eye was causing Ted a lot of discomfort and so after careful consideration and discussion with Ted's owner, we undertook one last surgical procedure (enucleation) to remove the eye.

We are all so pleased to report that Ted has since made a full recovery and is back to his bright, happy loving self. After everything he went through, Ted thoroughly deserves this Braveheart award - he was so good-natured throughout and will always have a special place in the hearts of everyone at Sandhole who cared for him.

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