That’s not normal…

 

On the 1st October 2007 Gr Ch. Abyrose Bluejay my Blue Aby had her 1st litter of 4 kittens J  All went well and she settled into motherhood with the babies making good gains each day.  Photo below of the new kittens

On the Monday morning the 8th October I went in to feed her breakfast and found her sitting away from the kittens in front of the litter tray.  She was reluctant to move and when she did she wobbled so I immediately phoned the vet and said I was on my way.  We arrived and the locum vet at my normal clinic saw us straight away.  She took her temperature and it was high as expected. She gave her clavulox injection & metacam to take down her temp and 120ml of Subcutaneous Fluid.  She thought it may be Mastitis as she had one gland that felt a bit lumpy.                     The vet said take her home and hopefully she’d start to improve in a few hours, so off we went.

She’d told me that I’d need to start bottle feeding the kittens.  Bluejay’s best friend & room mate Blue Belle had 4 kittens that were 5 days older.  Blue Belle took on looking after 8 kittens and I fed them with a bottle every 3 hours also. 

By 1pm that day there was no improvement and one nipple was blocked and purple & the gland was big and tight.  It was then obvious that she did have Mastitis.  By 2pm she couldn’t walk at all and was crying in pain when anything touched her sore gland.  She wanted nothing to do with the kittens.  I phoned the vet and asked her to come round with some different pain med, she bought a Temgesic injection and Baytril (antibiotic) injection.  Bluejay was a very sick girl and had us really worried, it was very touch and go.  But we’d done all we could at that point.  

At 9pm Bluejay stood up, purred and took 3 steps :-)  I never thought I'd be so happy about such a tiny improvement!  By 11pm she’d had a few licks of Hills a/d.  I was up every 3 hours checking Bluejay and offering her food and feeding the kittens.  She managed to eat ¼ tin of a/d over night which wasn’t much but it was something.  I phoned the vet with a report and took her temp.  It had reduced a degree but was still up.           I thought we were on the road to recovery.  But she stopped showing any interest in food and didn’t want to move again.  On close inspection that afternoon her boob had gone GREEN!   I finally got hold of the vet and organized to take her in.  The vet said “That’s not normal… but we need to wait and see what happens”.  The vet said to keep up the Baytril and Clavulox tablets and give one drop of metacam.  It was a matter of getting on top of the infection.  She had more Subcutaneous Fluid & the vet shaved the patch.  It was starting to ooze.  The good news was it didn’t hurt anymore.

Below (left) is a photo taken at 5pm & on the right, one taken at 8pm on the 9th of October of Bluejay’s green gland.  Black spots were starting to form in the 1st photo and in the 2nd photo the edges were starting to die.  The whole area is dying tissue due to lack of blood supply to the skin because of the infection.  It smelled like kerosene.

 

Bluejay wanted to lay in with Blue Belle and the kittens & was happiest there.  We covered her wound for the night to keep the kittens away from it.  She ate a little again at night.

Below is a photo of the 2 girls, you can see Bluejay’s bandage cover.  Blue Belle washed and cleaned her friend as she was too sick to do it herself.

I got up to feed the kittens and check Bluejay 3 hourly again, this became my routine.  The kittens were coping really well and Blue Belle was amazing.

The next morning on the 10th Oct Bluejay went back for a check and more SubQ fluids.  She was brighter in herself though still just laying with her friend.  One kitten sucked on her good back titty and she got a little milk back in 2 glands.  Getting her to eat anything was a mission.

Below is a photo of the progression of her wound taken at 8pm on the 10th.  The edges were starting to break away.

On the 11th she was walking around and feeling much brighter, her temp was normal without metacam J 

Photo below taken at 9am on the 11th as you can see the patch was coming away round the edges by itself.

On the 12th pain in that mammary gland was an issue again so during our morning vet visit she was given a metacam injection as well as her fluids.

Photo below taken at 2pm on the 12th, you can see a big difference.  There is healing tissue around one edge, the patch is drying out and there is quite a hole. 

All this time we were keeping it covered with sterile patches as often as we could, this was no easy task!  But she was a very tolerant patient. Despite the pain she was eating little and often and making improvements in herself J.  One kitten continued to drink from her sometimes.

At this point my breeder friends were thinking the vet should be stitching the wound once the dead part came off fully & said there was no way it could heal itself.  I was starting to wonder how it would & it was all quite distressing.  I had to listen to the vet who said there was no way she could cope with an anaesthetic and preferred to wait and see anyway.  My normal vet on maternity leave had emailed and said she’d had this happen to a Persian a couple of years before and it healed with time.

Photo below on left shows the wound on the 14th and the one on the right was taken on Monday 15th after the vet helped take off the last of the dead tissue which was hanging by a thread at that point.  Bluejay was very brave and just had a metacam injection.  She was to continue on with Baytril and Clav each day.  The yellow icky part in the middle of the wound was infected mammary tissue.  It looked and smelt horrible.

 

The nipple had been saved by Bluejay’s own body and was on its own little island as you can see above. 

My vet looked at it that week when visiting with her new baby.  She said ‘don't panic yes these wounds look really horrible but they do heal.  They can seem to take a long time but try not to worry, suturing these is near impossible and a waste of time as there is too much tissue loss, it would look good for a very short time then all break down as you can't put any tension on the surrounding skin to close the wounds as it is already compromised so sit tight, keep flushing, and as long as she is well you just have to give it time’.                                                                                                                                                                    These words of wisdom were of great comfort and over the next few days we saw the body continuing to heal itself.

Photo below taken on the 18th, we had stopped covering it as her skin was getting sore. 

On the 27th Oct after Bluejay and Blue Belle removed another scab it looked fantastic and was hard to believe it was the same wound!

I was still feeding 8 kittens 3 hourly during the day and once during the night.  While Blue Belle did most of the work they took turns at cleaning the kittens. 

Photo taken below on the 10th November showing just how truly amazing the body is at healing itself!  Bluejay was getting a natural tummy tuck as the skin pulled tight & closed the wound in.

When the kittens were 8 weeks old the girls were weaned from the kittens.  They had done really well.  The last photo below was taken last night on Monday 31st December 12 weeks since Bluejay first got sick.

It seems hard to believe now!!  Even the fur is well on the way to growing back normal.  She just has a small scar horizontally below the nipple.

While we don’t expect that gland to ever work again my vets say there is no reason why she can’t have babies again.  I didn’t keep one of her kittens but decided to wait for next time, mid 2008 all going well.

I hope by writing about this experience it might help others in the future if they have something *rare* like this happen to them!  If nothing else it is a reminder of how amazing the body is!!!!!

Jody Robinson-Wildey