Cats and dogs are quite the explorer. They usually go through each and every places in and out of the house where they can encounter pieces and bits of things that can harm them without them knowing. Everything outside bring potential danger to our furry friends, some can do affect them mildly and some do affect them quite severely.

One cat was brought to the clinic as an emergency with a protruding piece of wood on its shoulder. In such cases it is important to not try to pull the wood as there is a chance that it might have penetrated the chest and pulling it out will be more hazardous than help. It is also vital to avoid doing anything that will bring panic to the cat and the cat might move in such a way that the wood will embed more.

In this particular case, a plain radiograph was done to assess the extent of the injury and to see the structures where the wood penetrates. The radiograph will also give us an idea if the wood penetrates the chest cavity especially the lungs. Fortunately, the wood did not go inside the chest cavity only pushing through the subcutaneous tissue around half inch through. After assessing the injury, the wood was manually pulled out. The wound that was made by the penetration was fully checked for possible remnants of wood splinters and cleaned afterwards. The cat was put on a course of antibiotic to prevent or treat infection. The owner was advised to observe for any sign of abscess formation which is quite common in such cases and a follow up is scheduled after a week.

Luckily for this cat, the penetrating wood did not pierce the lung lobes as this would lead to a more serious problem called pneumothorax. This condition results in the presence of air between the chest wall and the lungs which can cause the lungs to collapse and warrants a different type of medical treatment.

Dr. Mary