Daisy is a 2 year old cat that was adopted from the local humane society about a month prior to her veterinary visit. While at the shelter, she was vomiting a few times a week, but everything checked out on her exam. After she and her sister were adopted, their new owners changed the diet and the vomiting decreased. But one day she started vomiting frequently–multiple times in one day. Since the owner hadn’t brought them to a veterinarian yet, he thought this would be a good time to have them checked out.
Daisy and her sister, Precious, are beautiful muted tortoiseshell cats. Daisy has the most unique whiskers–they have a grey speckled pattern to them, which matches the grey speckled patch on her tail. But while Precious was exploring the exam room, Daisy sat on the bench and didn’t really want to move around.
During her physical exam, I palpated her stomach and intestines to feel for any pain or lumps. Her intestines felt normal and she wasn’t showing any signs of pain. Her stomach, however, felt lumpy and irregular-shaped. We took a couple x-rays and it appeared there was something in her stomach that didn’t look like food. Her owner mentioned that Precious had found a hair scrunchy and put it in their food bowl, so I wondered what other things Daisy might have found around the house. Since the object appeared to just be in her stomach, we did discuss sending her to the veterinary specialty hospital for endoscopy. But if the object has moved out of the stomach or isn’t easily “grabbable,” then surgery would be needed anyway.
So Daisy stayed overnight and received IV fluids to keep her well-hydrated, since she wasn’t eating. The next morning we found she vomited once over night and was just cuddled up in the back of the cage. I palpated her abdomen again and she was definitely more uncomfortable. I couldn’t feel her stomach well and wanted to see if the foreign object had moved into her intestines. An x-ray showed that nothing had moved, which was good. It is easier to open up just one area, rather than having to make incisions into several areas of the intestines.
After prepping her skin and placing a sterile surgical drape over her abdomen, a fairly long incision was made to allow her stomach to be manipulated. An incision was made into her stomach and I reached in with hemostats and started pulling out the foreign object.
After removing all of that, I sutured the stomach closed, then checked all of her intestines to make sure nothing had moved past the stomach. Linear foreign objects like rubber bands, yarn, thread, and necklace cord can cause severe problems in the intestines and I didn’t want to miss anything. But everything was confined to the stomach. The total surgery time (from making the incision to suturing the skin) was 25 minutes.
Daisy recovered very smoothly and by later in the afternoon she seemed so much happier than that morning! She liked having her cheeks scratched and seemed hungry. She went home the same day and she and her sister shared a dinner of canned food. She has not vomited at all since being home! Now the hard part–keeping rubber bands and hair products away from her!