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Monday, February 25, 2008

Skipper's Stitches

Cats like to play with danglie things. Everyone knows this. Dangle something in front of a cat and it gets attacked.

This is Skipper in a cat carrier thing. Now why would Skipper need to be in a cat carrier? Well you can click on the image and see the full size version. The full size version is 2 or 3 megs, so it may take some time to download - but it is big. Or you can just look at the second photo.

What you see here is a 6/0 fish hook, lodged in Skipper's mouth. It seems that the rig was hanging somewhere, and Skipper found it. Now attached to the hook was some heavy monofilament line, which got stuck on things when Skipper freaked out and ran around knocking stuff over.

The pressure on the line set the hook. The barb was buried in the corner of Skipper's jaw. In the soft tissue. I was not going to be able to get it out. Well I could have. But it was going to hurt.

See the standard procedure for getting a hook out is to push it through then cut off the barb. This hurts like hell. But it is the only way. If you pull out the barb then you do more damage. I have had to do this to myself on more than one occasion. It hurts like hell, but when at sea you do what you have to do to get the fish hook out of your finger.

Rum helps.

This gives you an idea as to the situation. The above photo was taken while waiting in the lobby of the 24 hour emergency vet, because of course this had to happen on Sunday at around 7 PM. By the time this photo was taken Skipper was fairly calm. I do not think he was in that much pain anymore. The first photo was taken at home right before I loaded him into the vehicle to go to the vet. The second photo was taken right after I had cut the line tied to the hook, and he was a little more freaked out. The line was heavy so I had to put some pressure on the line to cut it. That could not have felt good. But once the line was cut, the hook was not as painful. I figured that Skipper was not in too much pain because he was not in his carrier, and he was not making noise or trying to bite the crap out of me. He was behaving very well in the waiting room, gaining much sympathy from the chicks working there and causing them to give me the "you suck at cat ownership" look.

Like I wanted the cat to attack my fishing rigs. I thought I had all those things put away.

This is Skipper on the vet examination table, waiting for the staff to bring him some sleepy kitty liquid. As you can see, he is calm. Nobody is holding him here. He was just hanging out, looking a little spooked but remaining calm. The vet had already taken a look at him and asked why the hell I have "shark hooks". Dude - those are not shark hooks. Shark hooks are much larger. What we have here is a fairly standard hook for deep water fish such as dolphin, tuna, mackerel, and so on. I pointed out that it is actually a good thing that the hook was that size, as I do have much smaller hooks for catching bait. Had Skipper got into one of my sabiki rigs there would be 6 or 8 small hooks on one line. That could have been ugly. Or he could have swallowed one and got "gut hooked" which would have been REALLY nasty.

This is Skipper right after getting the sleepy cat shot. The sedation consent forms are in the background. While I was signing them Skipper jumped up on my shoulder. He likes to do that. Shortly after this picture was taken, Skipper was zonked out.

But there is a happy ending to all this!

This is the last photo in the series. Notice the lack of any fish hook. It is gone. That spot is where the stitches are. Skipper got three stitches out of the deal. He was still groggy when this one was taken. I was waiting for his OK to be discharged. The vet had to take him into the surgery room and push the hook through Skipper's mouth so that the barb was exposed. Then you cut the barb. At that point you can just pull the rest of the hook out as it is just smooth metal.

Exactly the same thing you do to yourself if you get stuck by a hook. Only when you do it to yourself on a boat, you do not get any drugs. And if you need stitches too bad. Either grab a sewing needle and some fishing line or just bleed till you stop bleeding - or apply first aid methods to stop the blood flow.

And if you do this on my boat I will ask you to kindly bleed over the side of the boat. I do not want that mess on my deck, or leaking into the bilge. Plus your blood may attract more fish! So yea, bleed over the side - or do not bleed at all.

But Skipper got excellent medical care. Which was good. I can explain to a person (or myself) that "this is going to hurt, but it is the only way to get this thing out". Can't do that to a cat. Skipper may have freaked out and bit the crap out of me, or squirmed and caused unnecessary tissue damage.

So how big was the hook exactly? This big.

This is the actual hook. For some reason the vet gave it back to me. That thing next to it is a quarter, so you can get an idea of the scale. I still have the hook.

Skipper is feeling a lot better now. I bought him some canned food because I expect his mouth to be a little sore for a few days. He may have trouble crunching up the dry food.

The whole incident only cost $185. Most of this was for the emergency visit. The emergency visit / exam was $105. The "exam" only took 30 seconds because it was CLEAR what was wrong - there was a large fish hook in the cat's mouth. No tests were needed, no x-rays had to be taken. In the history of the universe, that was the quickest $105 ever made by anyone. The rest was for the sedation medicine, the hook removal fee (was this coded in the computer???? How often does this happen???) and the antibiotic pills.

I expected it to be more. But what can one do? The hook had to come out. The vet could do it with a lot less stress to Skipper than I could. And even if I had done it myself there is still the issue of infection and the need for antibiotics.

Skipper feels a lot better. He is over here now, informing me that he wants more of that canned food. He seems to like that horrible smelling stuff.



Anonymous Lilacspecs said...

Poor poor kitty!!! Augh, that had to suck so bad for both of you. My cat is still living in the US with my parents so I don't worry too much but our house here is half demolished. I'll be sequestering my Rex to the finished floor once he's with us in Belgium.

And glad Skipper is okay.

Blogger Daisy said...

Poor Skipper! You were a very, very brave cat. I am glad you are getting lots of Stinky Goodness to eat now. That makes it almost worthwhile!

Blogger Emma Sometimes said...

I'm glad he is on the mend. I wondered how they would do that. That was a huge ordeal, but gut hooked? I can only image that would be awful.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Lilac - It did suck for both of us. Skipper got a fish hook stuck in his mouth, and I can not seem to find $185 of my favorite dollars anymore. It was a little stressful when he was running around the house, getting the line hung up on things and causing objects to fall over.

Daisy - amazingly enough his mouth does not seem to be sore. Skipper has been munching on dry food all day. He is acting like his usual self as if nothing ever happened.

Emma - it was actually not that bad. On a scale of 1 - 10 on things that cause you to take an animal to the emergency vet, this incident was a 2. Other animals there were much worse off. "Gut Hooked" is when a fish swallows a hook and it gets stuck somewhere in the innards. Hook extraction is often very hard, so if it happens and I do not plan to keep the fish I just cut the line and toss it back. If Skipper got gut hooked then the surgery would have been a lot more intensive and the bill a lot higher.

Blogger Scarlet W. Blue said...

Poor Skipper! I don't think $185 is so bad, and you couldn't have done it yourself.

Blogger M@ said...

I hope skipper got a little something for the pain!

Anonymous krok87 said...

The Lazy,

You have a lot of pussy at your house. Glad the kitty is OK.

Blogger Fuzz said...

Bummer. When I want to catch one of our cats, I just grab the tail. I've never tried a fish line. Too bad about your fish hook. Maybe you can get it welded.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Scarlet - I could have. But it would have been a lot more stressful on the cat.

M@ - Skipper did not seem to be in too much pain after the line was cut. The vet zonked him out on the good stuff. He is having no problems eating the dry food so I guess his mouth is not sore.

Krok - I guess you could put it that way.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Fuzz - I call the tail the "cat handle". The cat handle works well if you need to grab something running past you. I never thought about getting the hook welded. I may try that.

Blogger Dusty said...

Sweet Jaysus Lazy!!!!

Next time you have to give a feline antibiotics..choose the pink then just put it in some people tuna and they gobble it right up.

The visit wasn't all that expensive..I just racked up a normal visit for 141 bucks. Bobby Bad Ass has some kind of ear infection and it was the med's that cost the most.

Poor little guy..and btw..your hook pic isn't there anymore.

Christ, did you panic? You seem so calm in the post..were you losing it?

I would of been. But then..your used to hooks, I am not.

Blogger Dusty said...

Oops nevermind..the hook pic is must not of been fully loaded. Christ almighty that was a big hook. Thank Buddha it didn't get into his gut. The price would of been out of this world for the bill.

You have but a taste of what I deal with every month. Some cat or dog is sick or hurt monthly..thank Buddha our vet, of 30 years, is a great guy that lets us pay on time. He knows we rescue cats and dogs. Once he even neutered one of the males for free while he had him under for something else. I love my vet.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Dusty - all the pics are hosted on my domain, so they should all load. The visit was not that expensive, I was expecting in excess of $200. I did not panic, mainly because I could see the hook and where it was stuck. Skipper did not seem to be in too much pain. The problem with putting the drugs in food is Cleo. Cleo is like a rabid wild animal when it comes to human food. She grabs and growls. Nobody can get near her after that.

Blogger Dusty said...

I know what you mean about trying to keep the others away Lazy..just take Skipper in the bathroom and feed him there..thats what we do ;)

It HAS to be easier than giving him a least it is to us that do it daily for a few of our felines that will get the meds for the rest of their lives..sigh.


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