THE CASE OF THE MISSING SEWING NEEDLE

Lilly is a 7 year old, female spayed domestic long hair cat that was presented to Hinsdale Animal Hospital after an acute history of possibly ingesting a sewing needle. According to her owners, Lilly does have a tendency to get into things that she isn't supposed to. The owner was concerned that Lilly had eaten the needle as she had the object next to a particular part of her sewing machine, she saw Lilly next to the machine - and then the needle mysteriously went missing.

On physical exam, Lilly was bright, alert and responsive. She was a very friendly patient and was very tolerable with gentle manipulation of her abdomen. The owner decided to collect X-rays of her abdomen. Her vital signs including her temperatures, pulse rate and respiration rate were all within normal limits.

Her X-rays undoubtedly proved that Lilly had indeed ingested what appeared to be a sewing needle. The needle shows up as a metal opacity (very white in color) and appears to be in her stomach. The owner elected to take Lilly to surgery to remove the needle.

The surgery performed on Lilly is called an exploratory laparotomy (abdominal exploratory surgery). Pre-surgical blood work was collected on Lilly as an IV catheter was placed. Lilly was aseptically prepped for surgery and given pre-operative pain medications and antibiotics. A long incision was made from her xyphoid to her pubis to fully explore and visualize her abdominal contents. Her entire abdomen was explored and the needle was indeed in her stomach. A small incision was made into her stomach (gastrotomy) and the needle was removed. Her stomach was closed in two layers of sutures, her abdomen was flushed with sterile saline and her body wall, subcutaneous tissue and skin were sutured closed. Lilly was given post-operative pain medications and antibiotics. Lilly was also sent home with an E-collar (cone of shame).

Currently, Lilly is doing great. Her owner is now doing her best to keep Lilly out of the arts and crafts room!