Ruptured Diaphragm in a Young Cat
Toby is normally a young active cat who enjoys the outdoor lifestyle as much as his home comforts. He was brought to Braid Veterinary Hospital on a Friday morning, after his worried owner noticed he was subdued, off his food and appeared painful over his abdomen. On examination by vet Peter Sharp it was also noted that his breathing was laboured and his claws were shredded, the latter being a typical sign of trauma, especially road traffic accidents.
Toby was admitted as an emergency for intravenous fluids, pain relief, blood tests and x-rays. The x-rays showed no evidence of serious internal damage to Toby’s organs, though there was some mild anaemia and liver damage on the lab test. Toby responded well to treatment and appeared to make a full recovery with follow up blood tests all within normal limits.
Toby had an uneventful further 2 months until he was seen on a Sunday evening by e-vets emergency clinic, based at Braid Vets Hospital. Again he was subdued and had laboured breathing. Further investigation involved repeat x-rays, which showed a soft tissue mass within the chest cavity, between the lungs and chest wall. An ultrasound exam confirmed this to be Toby’s spleen, which had passed through a tear in the diaphragm (the sheet of muscle separating the abdominal organs from the chest) and was compressing the lungs making it difficult for him to breath.
Toby was rushed to the operating theatre, where surgeon Scott Dickson performed an hour long operation to remove the spleen from Toby’s chest cavity and replace it in the abdomen. The cause of the problem was a tear in the diaphragm .This injury had occurred at the original accident and his spleen had ‘popped ‘through the tear at a later date. It is not unusual for consequences of ruptured diaphragms to be noted several months or even years after the initial trauma.
Toby went on to make a full recovery from the surgery and is back to his normal feisty self, though hopefully being more careful near busy roads!