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VSS the heroes after string drama left pet’s life hanging by a thread

January 11, 2022

Eleven-year-old cat, Lily, was a whisker away from a serious perforation of the intestines after swallowing an elasticated piece of string, which then became lodged dangerously in her stomach.

Lucky Lily is feeling fine now, though, after receiving expert care Veterinary Specialists Scotland.

Fiona Whitworth, Clinical Fellow in internal medicine, took charge of the case and said: “Lily’s owner had seen something string-like hanging from her mouth earlier in the day but had been unable to get hold of it before she swallowed it. 

“Lily was taken to her local vets who immediately recognised the risks associated with eating string, especially the potential to cause a serious obstruction, and referred her to us at VSS.

“A linear foreign body such as this can be very serious, as the intestines can become bunched up around the material, which can repeatedly rub against the tissues of the guts, acting almost like a saw, and this can lead to perforation.  

“Imaging was performed, including a conscious x-ray and ultrasound scan, but were inconclusive, so it remained uncertain whether the string still remained in Lily’s stomach. 

“Lily was anaesthetised to allow an endoscopy to be carried out. The endoscope is guided down the throat into the stomach and allows us to see inside the internal organs without having to do invasive surgery.  This minimally invasive technique means shorter anaesthetic times and quicker recovery periods.  

“Due to this, I was able to examine the upper intestinal tract, looking at the oesophagus and stomach, and was able to locate and remove a piece of elasticated string from the stomach. 

“Lily recovered well and was sent home the same day, and we are pleased to hear that she has been doing well at home!”

Her relieved owner Isla Finlayson, from Edinburgh, was full of praise for Fiona and the VSS team who helped treat little Lily.

She said: “I first realised there was a problem when I saw Lily with string hanging out of her mouth but it was only when I took her to the vets that I found out how serious the consequences might be.

“I was highly concerned but Fiona and the VSS team communicated very clearly every step of the way, so we knew as much as possible, especially when we were deciding about whether to go forward with the procedure.  “I would certainly recommend VSS to other pet owners, as Lily is already back to normal and very happy.”