Robbie, a 12 year old siamese cat, is Skylands’ August Pet of the Month, and what a month this pet went through.
Robbie came to us because he had problems, well, um, pooping. Robbie wasn’t just constipated, he was obstipated – a severe case of constipation.
The first day Robbie came in was a whirlwind at Skylands. It was the first day in the 7 months we’d been open that Dana called out sick. And, as it goes it the veterinary field, we got slammed. My dad and I came in thinking Robbie would be the only case to deal with, but phone call after phone call gifted us with a busy day.
First thing was first with Robbie: we gave him an enema. So, I held Robbie as my dad administered, and I ran with him to the cage, hoping with my entire being that he wouldn’t explode all over me. My fear wasn’t unwarranted – it’s happened to me in the past. Luckily for me, it didn’t happen this time. Unluckily for Robbie, it didn’t happen at all.
Thirty minutes passed and my dad called me to bring him back to the treatment table. Maybe a second enema would do the trick. Again, no luck. The next time Robbie sat on the treatment table, he was under sedation and we were manually trying to get the stool out of his intestines.
The procedure – deobstipation – worked, but just barely. His stool was very hard, and the procedure took a very long time. I can’t imagine the soreness he must have felt that day. Sure, he felt the relief of not having rocks of stool in his intestines, but the poking and scraping it took to get them out must have traded one pain for another.
Despite the pain he was feeling, Robbie woke up from the anesthesia making happy paws and head butting us for affection. My dad and I were shocked. We couldn’t believe the kindness this animal was showing us after what he had just been through. We sent Robbie home that day knowing we had just helped a special animal.
Despite our help, and Robbie’s kind disposition, he was back at Skylands a month later in the same exact position. Upon leaving the hospital that day, my dad had a long conversation with his family about his concern for Robbie’s condition. His recommendation: surgery. Part of Robbie’s intestines were lacking the motility needed to move stool. Without the surgery, Robbie was just going to be back here again and again for deobstipation. Less than a week later, Robbie’s family dropped him off for a Subtotal Colectomy with our board certified surgeon, Dr. Dillon.
Robbie spent the night with us that day and the next day we watched him make a full recovery. As the day progressed, and we took him off of his morphine drip, Robbie began to wake up. His happy paws were back. It took everything I had to let that cat get the rest he needed. Every time I went in, the top of his head was immediately flat against my face, rubbing and purring. And, really. Who can walk away from that?