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Braveheart Award


We have reinstated our Braveheart Awards for patients who have been seriously ill, needed ongoing treatments or have just been a pleasure to treat. We start this off with Smudge.

Smudge presented to the surgery as an emergency call out of hours as she had suddenly developed rapid breathing and was refusing her evening meal. On admission Smudge was given oxygen and an intravenous cannula was placed, an x-ray of her chest was taken, and this revealed that she had fluid in her chest cavity. Smudge was stabilised for the night and maintained on oxygen, whilst being giving some diuretics (water meds) intravenously to try to remove some of the fluid in her chest. The following morning Smudge was more settled, but her respiratory rate was still increased, we needed to find the cause of the fluid in her chest – it could have been an infection, a tumour or due to heart issues. Smudge was given a small amount of sedation and we then took a small sample of fluid from her chest; we also scanned her chest and heart at the same time. The fluid was clear in nature which was more suggestive of a heart complication, and the ultrasound scan of her heart revealed her heart was enlarged. These elements put together suggested heart failure – an unfortunately common cause in older cats.

Smudge was started on medications to help her heart and she continued to receive diuretics to reduce the fluid build-up. Unfortunately, later that day Smudge appeared to have a neurological episode which resulted in her demonstrating total blindness – the cause of the episode was suspected to be due to a blood clot becoming dislodged and travelling around her body before lodging in the brain – again an unfortunately common side effect of heart failure in cats. This was a serious situation for Smudge and the odds really were not in her favour. However, despite all these issues and complications, Smudge was always such a happy girl, purring and wanting a fuss and her owners were determined to continue the fight, so she was also started on medications to help dissolve/prevent further clots.

Smudge remained in the hospital for a week receiving multiple medications each day, her breathing settled down and she appeared to be regaining some vision, but now Smudges next fight was her refusal to eat – she had not eaten any food for nearly 5 days despite us trying various different food, treats etc and her owners visiting daily to try to encourage her to eat, although the medical side of her condition was improving physically she could not come off her intravenous fluids and go home until she was eating, because her electrolytes would become unbalanced and she may become dehydrated. With perseverance, appetite stimulants and good old patience Smudge finally began to pick at food and after a week in hospital Smudge was finally able to go home! She would be on medications for life and, although we believed she had a small amount of vision back, we were not sure how much vision she would fully regain.

It is now a few weeks since Smudge went home and she is doing amazingly; she is settled, has good vision and is eating and taking her medications well. Smudge really is a fighter and although she would have had every right to be miserable and angry being in the hospital, feeling awful and not being able to see, she was a lovely girl, always purring, doing paddy paws with her feet, and wanting a fuss and attention. Smudge is a well deserving recipient of a Braveheart Award.