Why you should fling your floss far from Fluffy - Albuquerque Journal

Why you should fling your floss far from Fluffy

Fourth in a series.

By Day 2 of Gucci’s recovery, her temperature had risen to a healthy 101.2 degrees. Her grumbling and complaining as we gently syringed warm saline through her abdominal tubes came as no surprise. We’d known this tortoiseshell kitty from her previous bouts of barfing. Feline racism is never tolerated but, well, torties are often cranky.

I didn’t shoulder this task alone. Our veterinary nurse Hazen spoke gently to our patient as he offered a veritable smorgasbord of gastronomic delights, which she delicately sampled one lick at a time. Gucci would never let on that she appreciated his kindness, but she recovered nicely and went home in just a few days.

Multiple intestinal tears in cats most often result from a “linear foreign body.” If a cat is lucky, this stuff bunches up and moves along uneventfully, but, if one end of the string gets caught in a loop of intestine, it doesn’t go anywhere. As the guts’ natural peristaltic movements attempt to push it toward the rear end, the string saws holes in the intestinal walls. Without surgery to repair the damage, leaked bacteria kill.

Gucci’s family was committed to avoiding a repeat, so they engaged their sleuthing skills in hunting down the culprit. No “linear material” was found lying around, but a bathroom waste basket had been tossed just a few days earlier. So I asked, “Jerri, does your family floss regularly?” With her healthy set of choppers, I already knew. With its tiny bits of food, used dental floss was a toy Gucci just couldn’t resist. It almost ended her life.

It was a few months later, with Gucci’s near-death experience well behind us. The year was 1977, an era when many young people wore their hair long, but mine just grew big. When another of our nurses returned from an appointment at Jerri’s hair salon, she recounted how our client had expressed her gratitude for our work, but then went on to ask a rather personal question, “Why does Dr. Nichol wear that silly wig?”

• For help with behavior problems, you can sign up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.


Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in person and in groups via Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week, he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Post pet questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by mail to 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.

 

 

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