Milo is a four year old cat who was in a road traffic accident in September. He sustained what we call a ‘tail pull injury’. This means that the car ran over his tail and pulled it so hard that the nerves that supplying his tail, colon and bladder were damaged leaving him incontinent and with no feeling in his tail.
In addition to this Milo was anaemic and refusing to eat. The prognosis in such a case is very guarded and we discussed putting him to sleep but his owner was determined to give him every chance.
Six days after the accident and with no progress we decided to anaesthetise Milo to place a feeding tube into his oesophagus. This would mean he could receive nutrition and medication down the tube with minimal stress. His owner learnt how to use the tube and after just 24hrs Milo turned a corner and started to eat on his own. The other positive news was that the anaemia seemed to be resolving and this meant he had more energy.
Milo was making good progress but remained unable to control when he passed urine and faeces. Most of the veterinary literature states that if a cat doesn’t regain continence within 30 days of the accident then they are unlikely to recover. But his owner was not willing to give up hope yet. We opted to place an indwelling urinary catheter and amputate his il. When the tail has lost function it can actually be a source of continuing discomfort to the cat and pull on the damaged nerves. We were also able to remove the feeding tube.
Milo came through his second anaesthetic well and his owner started to drain urine directly from the bladder at home. Unfortunately he then developed an infection in the bladder, which is not uncommon when there is a foreign body inside an organ (in this case the catheter). We were able to control the infection with antibiotics, but after 4 weeks the catheter became dislodged and had to be removed.
Milo was still unable to control when he passed faeces but his owners don’t mind the occasional accident. The only way to control the passage of urine was for his owner to learn to express his bladder twice a day. This is technically quite challenging but Carol was able to learn how to do it and Milo doesn’t seem to mind.
Since the urinary catheter has been removed Milo has been able to start going outside again and we think he has started to urinate on his own. It has now been 8 weeks since his accident and although he may never be 100% continent as long as he is not in pain and enjoying his life we will persevere. His owner Carol, has been determined to give him the best shot at life that she can, she has learnt to use the feeding tube, to drain the urinary catheter, and finally to express his bladder. If it had not been for her love, tenacity and belief in giving him a chance, Milo would probably have been put to sleep weeks ago. He is a very lucky cat.