This is Bella. She was brought to the ER about 1 week before I saw her. She had not been eating for about 1 week and had been vomiting. They found a string stuck under her tongue. The biggest fear we have with cats and linear foreign bodies (like string or ribbon) is that the start playing with it and the little barbs on their tongues that allow them to be such successful groomers, and they start swallowing the string. It is not uncommon for it to get stuck under their tongue and the esophagus keeps trying to swallow. The pet parents could not afford the emergency exploratory surgery that was recommended. Most ER’s will give an estimate of $1500- to $4000 plus.
The hope was that if they cut it out from under the tongue she would pass the rest of the string through her gi tract and relieve the pain and discomfort it was causing.
A week after this ER visit she came to see me.
She was laying on her side, very reluctant to move, and very painful. I took an x-ray and saw the classic “string of pearls” intestinal plication pattern. Plication is the gathering of the intestines when something inside of it is pulling it together.
When I met Bella and heard her moms story I was compelled to help them both. I knew that if I didn’t help Bella she would die. I wasn’t even sure that I wasn’t too late. Bella just needed me, and she was so sweet. I can’t explain it to those who don’t understand. I have almost given up trying. I could help and I wanted to help.
I told Bella’s mom that I would keep her in the clinic overnight to do surgery the next day. She needed fluids, antibiotics and pain medication immediately.
Here is the cost breakdown of Bellas procedure;
walk in non-client Sunday exam $75
NSAID for pain $18
day of surgery;
propoflo induction $60
exploratory surgery $350
surgical package (i.v. catheter, i.v. fluids, i.v. fluid pump, instrument pack) $250
additional suture packs $30
overnight boarding 2 nights $40
total for procedure; $950
For video clips and the full write up on Bellas case please see my blog KMDVM.blogspot.com