Engaged couple Micha and Crispin put their lives and finances on hold when their beloved Bengal cat, Loki, is hit by a car. Loki’s pelvis is badly crushed and the resulting nerve-damage means he may never walk again.
Loki was brought to Fitzpatrick Referrals as an emergency by Micha, following a nasty traffic accident. When Noel met this beautiful Bengal cat, it was clear that poor Loki had suffered extensive damage.
Loki could not stand up, and upon close examination Noel concluded that Loki could not feel his left leg at all. This suggested to the team that there was substantial neurological damage to this limb. In addition to this issue, Loki had fractured his right leg.
He was taken to x-ray so Noel and the team could get a clearer picture of the situation. X-ray pictures revealed the true extent of Loki’s injuries, which were as predicted, severe. On top of this, Loki also had a seriously fractured pelvis and hip joint.
Numerous questions arose, could these simultaneous injuries be repaired? Would the neurological function of the left hind leg ever recover? Would amputation be inevitable?
Noel had a long discussion with Loki’s family and after going through the risks and likelihood of recovery, and the very real chance Loki could lose a leg, together they made the decision to proceed with surgery and try their very best to help Loki.
The operating theatre was arranged and Loki was prepared for surgery. Noel explored Loki’s pelvic fracture and found that his sciatic nerve was trapped and very badly crushed within the fracture fragments – this was the root cause of the lack of feeling in his left leg. Noel felt it was unlikely that the sciatic nerve would ever recover from this type of injury and halted the surgery in order to talk with Loki’s family about his findings.
Loki’s family wanted to give their very much loved family member every chance and asked Noel to continue with the surgery. Noel went on to repair Loki’s injuries using an external skeletal fixator on the pelvic fractures and using plates and screws on his limb fracture.
Within a day of surgery, and with the assistance of a lot of pain relief, Loki was able to put weight on his right hind leg. However, the left hind leg remained without nerve function and there were serious doubts as to whether this leg would ever recover.
Progress was steady but excruciatingly slow. Every day Loki got a tiny bit stronger. The physiotherapy team worked tirelessly to help little Loki regain strength and stamina in his injured limbs. Loki also ventured into the hydrotherapy pool for aquatic therapy to further encourage him to use his injured back legs.
After four weeks Loki was strong enough to go home. He was walking well on his right hind leg but the neurological function of the left was still very poor. Micha and Crispin were given a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for them to carry on with Loki at home, to try and help him steadily regain the ability to walk on his damaged leg without dragging it. Both Micha and Crispin were excellent and dedicated carers and gave their all to help Loki on the road to recovery.
Four weeks later, Loki returned for a recheck examination with Noel. He was over the moon to see Loki beginning to show early signs of function in his left hind leg which was a startlingly positive result and a clear reflection on Micha and Crispin’s hard work.
Micha and Crispin’s investment was integral to this improvement as they were carrying out physiotherapy on Loki up to four times a day. The recheck radiographs revealed that Loki’s fractures had healed well and finally his external fixator was removed. Over the following weeks, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy really paid dividends for Loki and the neurological function of his leg got better and better!
By 12 weeks after his accident Loki was using his leg normally and amputation was avoided, much to the relief of Micha, Crispin and Noel.
The whole team at Fitzpatrick Referrals were delighted to see Loki good as new. From auxiliaries, to nurses, physiotherapists, hydrotherapists, duty vets, receptionists, imagers, the finance team, the surgeons and the family themselves – every single person had an important role in getting Loki back on his feet.
Without everyone working as a team, a positive outcome might not have happened. The Fitzpatrick Referrals practice values sum this up simply in – ‘we work best when we work as a team’.
In Noel’s words
Loki is a truly beautiful cat and I was really afraid that he would lose one of his hind legs because of really bad crushing of the main nerve (sciatic). However, amputation wasn’t advisable straight away because his other hind leg was also damaged. As a surgeon all you can do is put the pieces back together and hope that biology smiles on your patient and healing occurs; I seriously doubted that this would ever happen for Loki’s paralysed leg. His recovery is a remarkable testament to the hard work of our rehabilitation team and to the tenacity and dedication of his family who love him so very much. Without this commitment, all the surgery in the world wouldn’t help.
So the moral of the story is that dedicated fervent rehabilitation and a little bit of biological luck is often as important as all of the most advanced surgery in the world. Thank you to all of our nurses, our ward assistants and our wonderful rehabilitation team of physiotherapists and hydrotherapists. You allow me to succeed against the odds, and without you, none of this would be possible. I am deeply grateful. Thanks also to Micha and Crispin for being the best most dedicated family and for creating an environment for Loki’s recovery which allowed him to once again run around on all four legs.
A magnificent team effort – that’s what love and a bit of hard work really can achieve – and that really does change the world one cat at a time!