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Duman's Story - A Soft Palate Injury And Surgical Treatment

Duman, meaning flame, was rescued along with two other kittens and brought home from Turkey. Her owner has kindly given us permission to share her story of an unexpected injury and why it is so important to seek swift veterinary attention when concerned about your own cat.

Duman’s owner noticed blood spots on her bedding and following an episode of sneezing, blood splatter. On closer inspection, they spotted what seemed to be a cut in the roof of Duman’s mouth. Although Duman was still eating, they had noticed a reduction in the quantity of food taken and she also appeared to suffer episodes of gagging.

Duman’s owner was understandably concerned and contacted the clinic to arrange an appointment straight away. During her examination, we could see signs of trauma to her soft palate, the fleshy tissue at the back of the throat which separates the oral and nasal cavities. We also noted she had a raised temperature, and halitosis which could be a sign the wound had already become infected.

It was agreed we would need to admit Duman for an anaesthetic and closer look. We were concerned the laceration extended through the full thickness of this delicate area of tissue and our vet Sarah needed a closer look without causing distress or further pain to poor Duman. Our nursing team prepared Duman for her procedure, keeping her as relaxed and comfortable as possible while her pre-medication took effect. Once under anaesthesia they continued to monitor her closely. As you can see she was intubated to maintain a safe airway and allow us to provide gaseous anaesthesia. You may be able to spot the clear tube passing down the back of her throat, just below the cotton bud.

Our concerns were justified - the 3 cm laceration extended through all layers of soft tissue and into her nasopharynx, the image below (published on veteran key) shows simplified anatomy of this area.

We flushed fluid through each of her nostrils to check for any foreign material, and to clean out any blood or mucous which may have lodged there. We also checked her oesophagus (the tube connecting her mouth to her stomach) and took radiographs of the area, including her stomach to rule out any ingested foreign body which may have caused the injury. Nothing abnormal was detected.

In conclusion, we believed the injury to be caused by some form of trauma, possibly from a stick. As an energetic feline, an accidental injury during play seemed the likely cause. Sarah used two layers of disposable sutures to repair the wound, and Duman was then monitored by our team as she recovered from her anaesthetic.

When happy, Duman was discharged into the care of her caring owner. We advised a soft diet and prescribed pain relief and antibiotics with the expectation Duman would be feeling sore and sorry for herself for the next few days. There is also a concern the sutures may break down and this type of wound could have delayed healing. We knew her owner would be straight back in touch if there were any concerns earlier, but all being well we would see her for a post-operative check.

Imagine our delight when we received an update from her owner the following day. Duman was demanding food and eating well, grooming herself…….. and her brothers too! It was great to hear Duman had been running around and back to her mischievous self. There had been no further gagging or discharge and she was taking her medication like the purrfect patient! A week later we saw Duman again, she was continuing to eat well and had even put on a little weight. Her wound was healing fantastically well and we were happy to sign her off, much to the relief of her family.

Once again many thanks to Duman’s family, and remember do not hesitate to contact the clinic if you are ever concerned about your cat.


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