Rufus is a very special cat with very special owners and we are delighted to make her our pet of the month.
Rufus’ story begins on the 1st of January 2013 when she was rushed to our hospital at 9am having been involved in a serious road traffic accident. She was presented to our vet in distress and with no movement or feeling in either of her hind limbs or her tail. She was immediately given pain relief and rushed through to x-ray.
The x-rays showed that Rufus had a badly damaged pelvis which had fractures in several different places. There are many important nerves and blood vessels running through the pelvic area and they can become crushed or damaged if the pelvis is fractured. We were worried that the main nerves to Rufus back legs had been damaged which would explain why she had no feeling in them. We were also concerned that the nerves to her bladder and rectum may have been damaged which is also a common complication of a fractured pelvis.
We were all extremely concerned about Rufus and she was monitored under intensive care by our vets and nurses throughout the day. By 1pm that afternoon we had to make a decision on whether to proceed with Rufus’ treatment and whether she had any hope gaining movement in her hind legs. It was at this point she managed to make a very small movement with one of her back legs. This gave us hope that Rufus could be treated, so her intensive pain relief and intravenous fluids were continued over night. She also had a urinary catheter placed as she was still unable to pass any urine.
Rufus required major surgery to repair her pelvis but we could not proceed with this until we knew how much movement she would regain in her hind legs and if she could control her own bladder. She was still very weak and required continuous intensive nursing. When we are nursing a very poorly animal we become very attached to them, so all of our staff were willing Rufus to get better. Her dedicated owners visited her daily and because of their total commitment to her recovery she gradually started to show small signs of improvement.
Fourteen days after her accident Rufus had shown enough improvement to go ahead with the first part of the surgery required to repair her pelvis. Our visiting European Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon Jean-Benoit LeFebvre placed a screw and nine metal pins into her pelvis. These pins were then joined together outside of Rufus’ body which formed a ‘frame’ that held her pelvis back in place.
Rufus was finally allowed home after spending 21 days in our hospital. Our Head of Surgical Nursing, Tracey Holden devised a physiotherapy program for Rufus’ owners to perform at home and Rufus visited Tracey each week to monitor her progress. At this point we still did not know how Rufus would progress and if she would regain full movement in her hind limbs.
Rufus’ owners meticulously cared for her at home, keeping her rested in her cage, performing the physiotherapy and making sure her pins were kept clean and free from infection. To our absolute delight Rufus began to improve and gradually started to take a few steps when she was allowed out of her cage.
Rufus’ pelvis gradually began repairing but because of the damage she sustained it was a long recovery process The severity of Rufus’ injuries to her pelvis required the metal frame holding it together to be left in place for many months. We did not want to remove it until we were certain the bones had completely repaired and there was no danger of a relapse in her condition. We finally removed the external frame holding her together in the first week of September and to our absolute joy she was walking around that afternoon.
If it was not for the care and dedication of her owners Rufus would not have made the wonderful progress that she has and it has been a privilege to work closely with them during Rufus’ rehabilitation. She is an absolute joy to look after when she visits Spring Lodge and even after everything she has been through she is still so calm during her physiotherapy sessions with Tracey.