This is Perry, a stray who was rushed to The Mayhew Animal Home with a horrific injury under his front leg. He was wearing a collar with a stretch rubber band and he’d managed to squeeze his left front leg through it but then couldn’t get it back out – he was stuck. Every time he took a step the rubber band, which was now stuck around his neck and behind one leg, rubbed against the skin under his leg, eventually wearing the skin away and digging down into the flesh. The collar became deeply embedded into his muscles under his shoulder blade, so much so that part of the collar grew into his body and was no longer visible.
When Paul, our Animal Welfare Officer, first saw Perry he knew immediately he had a very nasty injury due to the smell of the infected wound. Luckily the incident occurred during colder months – if Perry had sustained the injury in summer the wound would most likely have become infested with maggots, which would have burrowed and eaten into his flesh. Paul carefully collected Perry and whisked him straight to The Mayhew for emergency treatment.
On examination the Vet team discovered the wound to be extensive; the pain he was suffering must have been unbearable and it was uncertain at first if his leg could be saved. He underwent immediate surgery to remove the collar, clean the wound and assess nerve damage. Luckily the nerves were not damaged and the vet team were determined to save his leg. They performed three complex surgeries, the last of which was successful and involved a highly advanced technique known as omentalisation in which tissue from inside Perry’s abdomen was used to heal the wound under his arm – similar to an internal tissue graft.
Four months on and it’s been a long healing process for brave Perry, but he is now on the road to recovery with all four limbs firmly attached. Thanks to the hard work and determination of The Mayhew team, Perry is almost back to full strength, his confidence is growing and he is waiting to go to his new home.
Mayhew Chief Vet Ursula Goetz, who saved Perry’s life, said: “Many people don’t realise that with an ordinary collar a cat can amputate its own leg and end up with hideous injuries – which they can die from if not treated. I see many cases like this where animals lose their limbs unnecessarily.”
Perry’s injury and terrible ordeal could have easily been prevented if he had been wearing a quick-release safety collar, rather than a rigid collar with a buckle and stretchy rubber band. A safety collar has a plastic ‘snap’ buckle that will automatically snap open should sufficient pressure be applied, for example if the cat gets caught in something or traps their leg in it. Once the buckle snaps, it will release the collar and the cat, keeping your pet safe.
Paul Grimes, Animal Welfare Officer
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