20 June 2023

A pet cat who was left for dead after being shot has been given a new lease of life after months of expert multidisciplinary care here at Willows in the West Midlands.

The one-year-old Russian Blue needed emergency surgery followed by an intensive programme of Physiotherapy from our team.

Simone Anesi, a European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery at Willows, admitted he was shocked by the case.

He said: “Stanley had been shot with a pellet gun and this had caused a comminuted fracture of his left scapula (shoulder blade).

“He had surgery to reconstruct his fractured scapula, which was challenging. Although many of the pellet fragments were removed there were many which had to be left behind.

“An ongoing concern was that Stanley could still not use his left foreleg four weeks after surgery.

“The Willows’ Neurology team assessed Stanley to see if his poor progress was a consequence of severe neurological deficits but these were determined to be mild.

“We concluded his poor function was most likely due to severe fibrosis around the scapula as a result of the original gunshot trauma.

“Stanley was swiftly referred to Veterinary Physiotherapist Holly Finelli and began a prolonged period of intensive rehabilitation.”

Holly explained: “Stanley was readmitted to Willows as an inpatient for a full week purely to receive intensive Physiotherapy in order to try to avoid further surgery.

“He went through a series of Physiotherapy and laser treatments which worked really well and he made good progress.

“He is now consistently using the leg well and is back to his usual self at home but with a slight limp, as his operated leg is now slightly shorter than the other due to his injury.

“A mild lameness might persist but he’s recovered well and his owners, and everyone here at Willows, are very pleased with the positive outcome.”

Specialist Simone championed Stanley’s case as a classic example of how the multidisciplinary skills of our team often combine to ensure the best outcomes.

He added: “What is interesting about Stanley is that he was not recovering as expected until intense physio was started which highlights the need for multidisciplinary care for trauma patients.”

Stanley’s owners, Zoe and Matt Breakwell, from Bishops Itchington, Warwickshire are certainly full of gratitude for the great teamwork.

Matt said: “Willows were incredible and we would absolutely recommend them – and already have!

“Simone successfully operated as soon as he was able and Holly has been outstanding. 

“It’s obvious how passionate she is about the rehabilitation of animals and how much she genuinely cares about outcomes.

“We spent months fearful Stanley might have to have his leg amputated but, thanks to Holly, that potential outcome has been averted.

“We took him back to Willows on a weekly basis for check-ups and to receive further advice and learn more exercises we could do at home to aid his recovery.

“We know Stanley will always have a limp but he’s regaining strength daily in his injured leg and his confidence has returned so the family is delighted.”