Ark Veterinary Centre

Decades of trusted care

Telephone: 01206 572410

14 Church Lane, Lexden,
Colchester, Essex. CO3 4AF

Topical tails


Pet of the year- Bravos! 

Let us introduce you 'Bravos' and tell you about the adventure he has been on this year. Bravos is a 10 year old, domestic short hair cat and his story starts on one Friday morning back in June. While he was out for his morning wander Bravos was very sadly hit by a car. He made it home and his very worried owners brought him straight to us. On examination it was obvious that he sustained a nasty head injury, his right eye had been severely damaged, his jaw was broken and nose was bleeding. He was admitted to hospital and treatment was started. He was given a general anaesthetic to examine his face fully. Sadly his eye was too damaged to save so it was removed and his broken lower jaw was repaired with wire. 

He recovered well from his surgery and stayed in hospital over the weekend. Cats with broken jaws usually manage to lap sloppy food from the bowl once the break is repaired but Bravos hadn't read the book so continued to refuse food even with plenty of pain relief and encouragement. Even syringe feeding proved difficult for him. 

On Monday it was decided that he was going to need a feeding tube to get nutrition and medication in Bravos and an oesophageal feeding tube was placed under general anaesthetic. His throat and tongue were found to be very swollen due to bruising from the initial injury. The feeding tube enters at the side of the neck and goes down the oesophagus stopping just before the opening to the stomach. 

Again Bravos recovered well from the anaesthetic and tube feeding was started while we waited for hos tongue and throat swelling to go down. He stayed in hospital for the rest of the week and continued to get stronger and even put on a little weight. 

His amazingly dedicated owners came in and we taught them how to feed and medicate him and he went home after a week in hospital for continued care. For the next 2 weeks Bravos came back every 2 days for us to check the tube was working and to monitor his weight. His nose was blocked from blood clots so his sense of smell was very limited and still wasn't interested in eating any food.

The oesophagostomy tube is only designed to be used for 3 weeks and as Bravos was still showing no signs of eating it was decided to remove this tube and place another type of feeding tube which would be in for longer. 

The next feeding tube we used is called a gastrotomy tube. This tube is placed under GA straight into the stomach and out through the side of the body. 

This is a very tricky procedure so we asked Andria Cauvin for her help. Bravos was due for a check up the day before the new tube was placed but he had broken out of the cat flap at home and did a runner for 24 hours! Naughty Bravos!! 

The stomach tube was placed successfully and after recovering from the GA was again sent home to continue feeding by the tube. During this time he had to wear a very attractive cat jacket to protect the tube site, I don't think he liked the leopard one that much :-) 

He continued having weekly visits to clean the tube site and monitor his weight. During the time his owners continued to encourage his eating by offering him plenty of smelly, yummy food. After 3 weeks he finally started to lap some cream and yoghurt at home- woohoo! 

His nose was now clear so he could smell things again. 

Over the next 2 weeks Bravos continued to eat more and we advised his owners to start reducing his tube feeds. 

8 weeks after the accident we removed the wire from his jaw as it has healed nicely. His eating improved dramatically after the wire had been removed. Bravos had one more week at home eating well with the tube in then we booked him in to have it removed. The tube was removed under sedation and we all thought that was finally the end of the saga for Bravos. 

Bravos had other ideas and a short time after the tube was removed, Bravos went out one morning and didn't return home :-( 

His devastaed owners came in to tell us he had been missing for one week. We were all so upset to hear this and tried to reassure his owners that he would be back soon. Posters and Facebook appeals were done but Bravos was still nowhere to be seen. 

Roughly 6 weeks since he went missing his owners had a call one Sunday morning from the sixth form college to say they think they had seen Bravos. His owners went straight there and it was him!  Bravos had been found :-) 

When his owner phoned on the Monday to say he was back we were all over the moon. He came in for a check over that morning. He had lost half his body weight, going from 4kg to 2kg! But seemed bright, had started to eat at home and hadn't sustained anymore injuries. 

We gave him intravenous fluids as he was dehydrated and very slowly introduced food which he ate well. The funny thing was this was the first time the nurses had seen him eat from a bowl :-) 

We kept him in for 2 days then sent him home, strictly on house arrest. 

He came back the following week for a weight check and had put on an impressive 400 grams! Another check a week later he had gained 900 grams in 3 weeks and now weighed 2.9kg! Final check up today for his booster and his early Chrsitmas present stocking. Keep out of trouble in 2018 Bravos!! 

Opening hours

Monday to Friday: 8am to 6.30pm

Saturdays: 8.30am to 12 noon