Bugsy: A Trauma Case

When Bugsy came to Berkshire Veterinary Hospital on October 21,1997 we did not know who he was. Members of the Pittsfield Water Department, who had found him on the side of the road, brought him in. He was considered a stray cat. On presentation he had several serious injuries and was in shock. Immediate care was instituted to treat his shock condition and then his injuries were assessed. The most dramatic injury was the displacement of his right eye (a proptosed globe). He also had several fractures of both his upper and lower jaw bones and a completely dislocated (luxated) left ankle (hock). He also had several minor cuts and abrasions.

Dr. Makuc and Bugsy in radiology

After his condition stabilized the decision was made to perform emergency surgery to remove the unsalvageable eye, wire the lower jaw together, and splint the luxated hock in hopes that his owner would be located.

Fortunately the very next day a man called, and then stopped in to identify Bugsy as his cat. Bugsy was very important to him and he wanted us to do all we could to help him. By October 24th, 3 days after the accident, Bugsy’s condition had improved enough that he underwent a second anesthetic procedure to repair the injured ankle. The joint had been traumatized so much that the joint capsule and all the ligaments spanning the joint were destroyed. Because Bugsy’s injury involved an open and contaminated wound, it would be very prone to infection. The removal of all contaminated tissue was an important part of the surgical procedure. Then sutures were utilized to bring torn ligaments back together and to stabilize the joint. The whole leg was then placed in a well-padded splint. At this point Bugsy had a good prognosis for recovery from his injuries however there was a guarded prognosis on how well he would be able to use his injured leg.

Dr. Makuc reviews Bugsy’s x-ray

Bugsy was discharged from the hospital on the 25th. He did very well at home, soon he was eating and even ambulating well, sometimes jumping on tables and such. Bugsy adjusted well to the loss of his eye and seemed quite comfortable. He returned to the hospital periodically for splint changes to monitor the progress of the joint repair. Fortunately no infection developed in the joint. Bugsy had to undergo one final anesthesia for removal of the wire, which had been used to fix his jaw fracture, and for the removal of some teeth which had become mal-aligned due to the upper jaw fracture. By Christmas time Bugsy was doing great and his owner reported that he was more and more his usual self. In early January the hock joint was deemed stable enough for all supportive bandages to be removed. Now we had to just wait and see how well the joint would function. At first we expected it to be stiff and weak but gradual exercise loosened and strengthened it to the point where he can now use the leg quite effectively for walking and jumping. He walks with only the slightest limp. His owner reports that he is playful and in good spirits. He has adjusted well to his new lifestyle of indoor only living.

Bugsy was very happy to be home for Christmas