A CAT owner has urged fellow feline lovers to be aware of where they leave items lying around after his precious pet needed an emergency operation after swallowing almost 50 hairbands.
Paul Spraggett, from Stratford, was stunned when vets at Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service in Solihull told him the cause of two-year-old Berry’s vomiting and retching was down to her habit of snaffling the elasticated accessories.
After leaving the beloved family pet to undergo an emergency operation at Willows, Paul said he immediately went home to warn his wife and two daughters about the dangers of leaving hairbands lying around – a message he’s now keen to share with all cat lovers.
He said: “None of us had ever thought about the risks that hairbands and similar everyday objects could pose for our four cats.
“We were really shocked to find out that was why Berry had been so sick and that’s why hairbands are now banned from anywhere the cats might go in the house.
“Willows told us they’d had other similar cases in the past, although not involving anything like the amount that Berry had swallowed, which is why we want to highlight this case to try to prevent it happening again.”
Graphic x-rays taken by the expert team at Linnaeus-owned Willows reinforce Paul’s message and show a tangled mass of the bands in Berry’s belly.
Not surprisingly, the poorly pet was desperately trying to vomit them up but, unfortunately for Berry, they were lodged fast between her oesophagus and stomach, so surgery was the only option.
Willows rotating intern Jo McKendry explained: “Berry arrived having suffered acute vomiting the night before and she now wasn’t eating or drinking.
“She behaved like she was trying to vomit up a fur ball but was struggling to bring it up.
“She was clearly dehydrated and when I examined her, I felt a large sausage style structure in her cranial abdomen which was confirmed by x-rays.
“The images showed a foreign body extending from Berry’s stomach into her distal oesophagus – and it appeared to be a mass of hairbands.
“I performed a gastrotomy (surgical incision into the stomach) to access and remove the bands, and Berry was allowed home the following day.
“She was quickly back to normal, showed a massive increase in appetite and was soon putting on weight.”
The family was glad to welcome Berry back home.
Paul added: “We’re so grateful to have our lovely cat back and she’s certainly loving being back, too. She’s racing around with her brother and has really come on and grown since the operation.
To find out more about Willows’ wide range of specialist services, visit www.willows.uk.net or search for Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service on Facebook.