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Bella relaxes at home with her front legs crossed, wrapped in a fluffy blanket
01 June 2021
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Case Study

Sticky Situation for Beautiful Bella Stick-Injury Case Study


Bella, a four-year-old Domestic Shorthair cat, was referred to Langford Vets on a Friday night after falling from a first-floor windowsill. She might have landed on all four feet, but unfortunately landed on a large sturdy plant. Her owners had quite a fright when she was found with a large piece of stick penetrating from her chest. Bella was promptly referred from her normal vets to the Langford Vets Small Animal Hospital.

Bella was surprisingly bright and alert while a 10 cm piece of wood was visible sticking out of her chest and a second penetrating injury was found to her abdomen. Bella had a CT-scan to assess the severity of the injury. Mariette and Alex from the Surgery Team worked on Bella while Martina from Anaesthesia made sure Bella remained stable during the procedure. Dawn from the Imaging Team was astonished to see that the scan showed a 10 cm large piece of stick passing through the left side of Bella’s chest, narrowly missing her heart, passing through a part of her lung and into the surrounding chest muscles. Luckily, the abdominal wound did not penetrate the abdominal cavity.


Bella was taken to theatre where a sternotomy (incision into the chest cavity through the breast plate) and intercostal thoracotomy (incision through the ribs) were performed. The stick was removed, and a partial left-sided lung lobectomy (removing part of a lung lobe) was performed. The chest cavity was thoroughly flushed to remove any remaining debris prior to closure. The abdominal wound was also thoroughly flushed and closed.

Bella recovered well from her procedure and was discharged the following Tuesday. Although she underwent major surgery, she was already back to her normal self just a few days later. She rested home for four weeks while her wounds healed (staying away from windowsills). Bella has recovered well and is back enjoying the outside world.

Bella benefitted from the combined expertise of our Soft Tissue Surgery, Diagnostic Imaging and Anaesthesia Teams as well as amazing nursing care in each of these areas.

Bella was also featured in the Vet Times.

A series of images which show Bella in the scanner with the stick protruding from her chest through to Bella relaxing at home after her surgery, wrapped in a comfy blanket being stroked by her owner
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