Patient of the Month - Dexter


The sewing needle can be seen on Dexter's x-ray

What started off as a lovely Saturday afternoon teaching the kids how to sew turned into an evening of turmoil as the Brice family realised their beloved Burmilla cat, Dexter, had ingested some thread with the sewing needle still attached! They rushed him straight down to our hospital and x-rays confirmed that he had indeed swallowed it! There it was, the 4 cm sewing needle sitting in the centre of the stomach.

Unfortunately, Dexter had eaten recently so we needed to wait a few hours to allow the stomach to empty before going ahead with a general anaesthetic and surgical removal of the needle. This would reduce the risk of any aspiration of stomach contents into his airways during surgery and in the recovery period.

Later that night, the surgery was performed to remove the sewing needle by advancing it through the stomach wall with the string attached. The abdomen was then flushed with saline to reduce any risk of contamination in the abdominal cavity.  Dexter recovered well from his surgery and it wasn’t long before he was back to his usual mischievous and playful self.

From Dexter's family:

Dexter happy at home

Dexter is a very curious, active cat with an almost dog like personality. He is a constant 'shadow' and when he is not riding around on our shoulders, he is jumping up onto surfaces to be at (or above!) our level to investigate what we are doing. Unfortunately these surfaces include the kitchen table, where on Saturday afternoon, the children were having lots of fun sewing - under Dexter's direct supervision of course! Within only a few seconds of leaving the sewing materials unattended, Dexter sprung up onto the table from a nearby scratching pole, grabbed the thread (with attached needle) and pulled it from the fabric. By the time we realised what he had done, all that could be seen was a tiny speck of the silver needle poking out of his mouth. Within a second, it had disappeared. We immediately phoned the Adelaide Animal Hospital and rushed him down to be seen by Dr Piri Cutts. We were very impressed by the professionalism of the veterinary surgeons and nursing staff at the hospital and particularly appreciated the care taken to communicate clearly with us on the recommended treatment options and required post-operative care. During what was a very stressful experience, we felt comfortable, at all times, that Dexter was receiving a high standard of veterinary treatment at the hospital. After a few days of reduced activity level, Dexter is back to his normal curious, energetic self. The next time the kids are sewing, Dexter and his brother Charlie will be entertained out of the area!

Pet type(s): 
Life stage(s): 
patient of the month
cat swallow foreign body
cat swallow sewing needle

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