Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Broken bones and bald bellies: fixing the cats most in need


Animal Supervisor Deborah Beats takes us behind the scenes at the branch!


Deborah & Jacky
Keen followers of our work may be forgiven in thinking that we’ve had a quiet start to 2017. The website has been a little barren at times, appearing like there have been few animals in our care, but behind the scenes it’s fair to say we’ve been close to melt down on more occasions than we care to count. So if we were caring for so many animals at our branch why doesn’t our website reflect this I hear you ask? Well as Winter time sees a drop in kittens and pregnant queens we have the time and resources to focus on those animals that need extra TLC and veterinary intervention. 


The RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital (run by the National RSPCA) has been undertaking some amazing rehabilitation work with animals rescued by National RSPCA inspectors of late (the ones you see on TV!). Once healthy enough to be discharged we’ve been offering our care skills to take in animals that are still a fair way off being ready for adoption. These animals need regular medication, frequent vet trips and of course carry extra costs with their rehabilitation too. In our last blog we introduced you to our special little Sausage. After 5 weeks she is now fully recovered from her infection and tail amputation and is finally listed on our ‘cats for adoption’ page. Sausage is a typical example of the kind of animals we are aiming to help before the kitten season renders most animal charities (avoidably) hand-tied for months on end.


In this blog I’d like to introduce you to a few of our current residents who are going nowhere fast but are receiving 5 star treatment behind the scenes thanks to our magnificent volunteer foster carers and veterinary care. 


Kip's nasty paw injury on arrival
Kip's paw looking so much better!
Kip has had a relatively quick turnaround compared to some of our other cases with his rehabilitation lasting just 3 weeks. However, 5 vet trips in that short space of time he’s certainly been making use of our staff! Kip was rescued by the National RSPCA after being found straying with an injury on his front left paw. Basically he had two nasty puncture wounds on his pad and one toe had been completely degloved. His paw looked like it had been through a meat mangler, as you can see from the picture! 



Kip arrived at the RSPCA animal hospital on the 26th January and after receiving treatment he was transferred to our branch on the 2nd February. Kip was discharged with a nice green bandage going all the way up his leg and a care plan in place for him which involved antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and Manuka honey for the wound. What complicated matters slightly was his determination to get the bandage off, which soon resulted in him wearing the cone of shame and an extra vet trip. Three weeks on and you’d barely notice that Kip’s paw had anything wrong with it. Thanks to his diligent foster mum and a fantastic group of veterinary staff he now just has a hard little lump at the end of his toe which will probably always remain there: certainly a far cry from his bloody paw, which could have resulted in a whole leg amputation if left untreated had infection set in. Not surprisingly, after spending so much time nursing him back to health, his foster mum has decided to keep him, lucky boy!


Xray showing Mossy's terrible leg break!
Mossy on cage rest
Next up we have Mossy, a 3 year old cat who was collected by an inspector at the end of January having been found straying with a broken front leg.  His fracture was so bad that again amputation was considered but the vets believed it was worth trying to save his leg first, which meant fitting a metal support on the outside of his leg to help the broken bones fuse back together. We knew that Mossy would be with us a good few months and would need a long list of medication including frequent paw massages to stop it swelling up. Three weeks into his rehabilitation and he’s making good progress, he’s on cage rest to stop him trying to walk around but his foster mum reports that his metal support doesn’t stop him trying. He’s also wearing a cone to prevent him licking the wound; the poor lad must be quite uncomfortable with all the extra gear he’s got on at the moment. But a recent vet check shows he’s heading in the right direction, at least another 6 weeks of cage rest is needed before a second x-ray is taken and his metal support is removed. So watch this space for updates!


Eunice in a terrible state on arrival
You might have seen in our previous blogs and newsletters cases of cats with allergies who take a while to ‘get right’. These poor things normally come into our care bald or scabby or with upset stomachs and 9 times out of 10 it’s a food or flea allergy which has done the damage. We currently have two such residents; Eunice, a 5 year old tortie who only has half her body covered in hair. She’s over groomed so much that the rest of her is bald. And Chess, a chunky fella who has a persistent scabby area on his neck which he can’t stop scratching at. 

Eunice feeling better in her foster home


In both cases the cause is unknown but steroids are helping to make them more comfortable whilst we figure it out. We are hopeful that Chess will hopefully be ready for adoption in about a month. He’s currently wearing a cone to prevent him scratching and once the area is healed the vets are confident he can come off the steroids and lead a normal life. Eunice and her bald belly and back on the other hand may take longer to cure, a food allergy is a possible cause but it may also be stress. Currently she’s being spoilt in a foster home and until her fur has fully grown back she will need to continue the medication. Then the plan is to wean her off the steroids and see if she starts to over groom again. If she does then she may need a specialist diet or to go back on a low maintenance dose of steroids but I’m sure we’ll find a solution in the end. 


Scabby Chess!
We’ve seen an increase in cases like Chess and Eunice in recent years but at least it means we are getting really good at treating them! Our star of 2016, Camille, found her forever home in January and she was bald and in a very bad way when she arrived back in July, we found that a grain-free diet and a monthly prescription flea treatment kept her in good health but her journey with us lasted 6 months. Fingers crossed Eunice doesn’t try and out do her, hey!


Dreamboat Franklin!
Last but by no means least is Franklin, a 5 year old tabby boy who is just the most loving lad you could ever wish to meet. He is my foster cat so I may be a little biased but he really is great. Sadly he’s spending more time at the vets than he is in my house at the moment. I don’t want to say too much about my boy because I’m planning on making him the star of my next blog post but in brief he came into our care at the end of January after being found stray with a nasty collar wound injury. Collar wound injuries are my absolute bug bare and so unnecessary. They are always caused by elasticated cat collars and typically the cat gets their leg stuck through having tried to free themselves from being caught on a bush or fence. They reach their arm through their collar to try and get free and end up cutting the skin under the armpit. Left undiscovered the collar digs in day after day and causes the most merciless of injuries. 


This type of injury takes months and months to heal and often has an unhappy ending because the skin is so delicate in that area. So far Franklin is on his third operation to fix the wound, he has to be kept on cage rest to stop him moving around, he has to wear a collar to stop him licking the area and he needs to be bathed 5 to 6 times a day to keep the wound dry. Phew. We have everything crossed for Franklin, things are looking positive at the moment but it’s so easy for the wound to break down that things can quickly change. Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog for more about our Franklin and in the meantime make sure if your cat does wear a collar that it's a 'snap release' design and of course that they are microchipped too!


So now you know a little about what has been going on behind the scenes at the RSPCA Manchester & Salford Branch! We feel it’s a privilege to be able to help these special case animals and in an ideal world we’d never have to turn away an animal just because their recovery time was predicted to last many weeks or months. But sadly, in Summer, we get overwhelmed by a completely preventable and unnecessary occurrence; huge numbers of unwanted pregnant cats and kittens coming into our care because so many people don’t have their animals neutered. Female cats can become pregnant at 4 months of age! As soon as Spring arrives we know we’ll be drowning in adorable kittens once again.


Therefore, we are trying our best to prepare for kitten season in advance this year by  offering cat neutering vouchers to people on low incomes (please call 0161 882 0680 option 4 or email rspcamcr_salford@btconnect.com if you live in our area and need help neutering your cat). Maybe encourage that friend you have to hurry up and get their cat neutered too!

You can help us even further by becoming a cat foster carer! Check out our video below for more information and contact us with any queries via the contact details above. We need your support more than ever.

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