Rose Stem Removed from Cat’s Windpipe

Poppy, a 1-year-old female cat, was admitted to Lime Trees Vets Referrals due to difficulty breathing and an expected upper respiratory tract obstruction.

Poppy came back home to her owner coughing, two weeks prior to referral. She was well in herself and treatment was given for hair balls. Poppy was then seen by her own vet who found she had a mild temperature and gave antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Poppy sadly became worse and started to have episodes of difficulty breathing. She was seen by Vets Now overnight, who suspected an upper respiratory tract obstruction. Poppy was then referred to Lime Trees for further investigations and treatment with RCVS Advanced Practitioner and Referral Medic, Hywel Parry.

Poppy was breathing normally at rest but on attempting examination she extended her neck, started to cough and became dyspnoeic. Therefore, clinical examination was very limited until she was sedated, then anaesthetised. The team prepared to perform a tracheostomy but examination of the larynx and pharynx was completely unremarkable as were the thoracic x-rays.

Endoscopy, however, revealed a swelling of the tracheal wall and suspected foreign object at the base of the trachea where it bifurcated (divides) into the main stem bronchi. The tip of the object was able to be visualised and it appeared to be stuck fast and attempts were made to remove it with grasping forceps.

CT was unfortunately not an option to obtain more detailed information on the extent of the foreign body due to cost constraints. Therefore, following suction and gentle flushing to lubricate, the object was able to be dislodged and was able to be extricated by traction up the trachea and out through the larynx and mouth with use of the endoscope. The trachea was visualised after removal and no additional damage had been caused. The foreign body was identified as a 12mm rose stem, complete with two very sharp spines. It was quite a challenge to remove and required a lot of (gentle) pulling!  

Samples confirmed inflammation and infection that would be expected to resolve after the foreign body was removed. Poppy was hospitalised overnight where she had a smooth recovery being discharged the following day. She ate and drank as soon as she woke and behaved normally, requesting cuddles.

Our referral medic and advanced practitioner in small animal medicine, Hywel Parry, said ‘’ Cats are amazing, How they manage to cope so well with such severe airway problems never ceases to surprise me.”

Lime Trees Vets Referrals can accept cases in dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, orthopaedics and soft tissue surgery.

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