Cat swallowed long ribbon - need advice

jet jaguar

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A few hours ago I walked up to my cat vomiting a piece of ribbon. He managed to get a large piece up but not out. I immediately took him to the emergency vet with the string still hanging out of his mouth. The vet cut a large piece off but told us the rest was deep in his intestines. He gave us the option of surgery ($1900) or told us we could see if he passes it. We don't just have the money laying around for this, it would take all of our savings and we would probably have to borrow from family members but we would probably be able to pull it off if we had to although it would be a significant financial burden on us. We just got back home with him and are still trying to decide what to do. Our best estimation is that he ate the ribbon about 3 days ago. There is probably about 2-3 feet of ribbon still in his intestines. So my questions are How likely is it that he will pass the ribbon with a bowel movement at this point? 10% chance? 5% chance? Is it even possible to measure the chance? How long should we would before we decide whether or not to put him in to surgery? The vet told us to not give him a laxative on the chance that it could cause him to strain on something could get stuck. Is there anything else I could give him to try to get it out? Also, the vet gave us more string than what was initially hanging out of his mouth. This caused me to worry that they pulled more string out through his mouth and the rest on the inside got tighter. I'm worried about this because since he got home he's been hiding and acting lethargic. I'm sure the fact that he swallowed a long ribbon has a lot to do with this but he wasn't acting nearly this bad before we took him in to the vet. Is trying to pull the string out something they would do or could it just be the medicine they gave him that's causing his increased lethargy? Any responses and/or opinions would be greatly appreciated.
 

ankitty

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I'm so sorry that you're going through this. I don't have the same experience, but I'd ask the vet if I could give him Laxatone or something to lubricate his intestine. I'd wait for a day for him to pass it, and if he doesn't I'd talk to the vet again about the surgery in details. If you have a credit card you can charge it and later get another card with introductory 0% interest rate and transfer the balance to the card. 
 
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jet jaguar

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The vet told us not to use laxatone :( not sure why, something about the straining could cause it to get worse.
 

catsknowme

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  I am so sorry that you are going through this! You could also ask the vet about feeding your cat some Vaseline. Your cat could also be a general reaction handling by the vet.  If only cats would not eat string & tinsel, etc !!! :(    

Meanwhile, I am sending prayers and vibes that the remainder passes quickly!
 

ankitty

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The vet told us not to use laxatone
not sure why, something about the straining could cause it to get worse.
Interesting... I thought Laxatone wasn't a laxative, but basically Vaselline. 
 

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Yes, laxatone can sometimes cause GI upset. If the ribbon is indeed causing an obstruction, the GI upset could make things worse.

What type of ribbon was ingested? How thick?

I do have experience with 18 inches of curling ribbon being passed without too much incident. However, my hopes are low with him being able to full pass 3 feet without problem. I just think there's too many twists and turns in the intestines, though I certainly can't say for sure.

I'm sure the vet gave you things to monitor for:
Lethargy
Vomiting
Diarrhea
Loss of appetite

Have you checked into Care Credit? It is a line of credit that can be used in these types of situations. If you qualify, you have 6 months to pay off the balance. So long as you pay the balance off during the 6 mo, there is no interest acquired.

It's a tough situation to be in. And I am sending lots of good vibes your way!
 
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jet jaguar

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Everyone we know has told us to use it but the vet and the vet tech said not to. I kind of want to but I'm afraid it'll make things worse like they were saying.
 

ankitty

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Everyone we know has told us to use it but the vet and the vet tech said not to. I kind of want to but I'm afraid it'll make things worse like they were saying.
I see. They should know what they are doing. No Laxatone, then. 
 
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jet jaguar

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I'd say the thickness is about as thick as curling ribbon but it doesn't curl. It was straight. He's laying next to me right now and he's really cranky and won't eat any soft food. He wasn't like this before he went to the vet. He had a slight loss of appetite and grumpiness but nothing like this. Do you guys think his condition could have worsened this quickly within a couple of hours? I'm hoping it's just all the drugs they gave him.
 

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I'm sorry you are going through this. I went through it last year. Mosi ate a HEADband. It got stuck in the valve between stomach and intestine.

The odds favor surgery with trying to pass that length of ribbon. Prepare yourself.
 

catpack

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Yes, it is possible for his condition to deteriorate quickly. Especially is blood flow is blocked, the intestines begin to die.

There is always the possibility that he is stressed from the vet visit; but, this is one of those times where you don't want to be wrong.
 

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Care Credit has a 12 month payment plan too, just depends on which ones your vet uses.

It has saved the life of 3 of our cats, well worth it.

As to the ribbon, my cat Pyrhana chewed on the threads of one of those cotton throws with fringe. Only her string was coming out the other end. She had an x ray and they decided on surgery, better to do surgery on a healthy cat. Not one who is debilitated from vomiting, not eating etc.

Just my honest opinion, based on my cat's experience. I also packed up anything with fringe that she could get to...

Good luck with your kitty, hope that everything turns out ok for her. No matter which way you go...

Lisa
 

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So sorry you're in this position. I agree with everyone else - surgery really is your best option. I hate to say it, but without intervention your boy will get worse. He's highly unlikely to be able to pass a ribbon that long naturally. :hugs: It's an awful situation to be on, but as Docs Mom Docs Mom says, the healthier the cat is going into surgery, the better the chances of a good outcome. Wait too long and he may not recover.
 
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mservant

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How are things today @Jet Jaguar?  


Mouse managed to steal and eat a long stretch of ribbon a couple of years ago but I was very lucky he chewed in and it was in short pieces -  he managed to sick up some and passed the rest through - no doubt he had a very sore belly throughout though.  Major vibes your cat is doing OK.
 
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jet jaguar

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Thanks for your advice everyone. We went ahead and got the surgery but the doctor was unable to find any more ribbon in his intestines. I estimated he had another 3 feet in him based off of another ribbon of the exact same kind we found. I compared it to the amount the vet originally cut out of him at the ER visit and figured he had another 3 feet in him based on the difference. They said it could be in his colon or maybe he chewed it in two some how and lost the other piece. Not sure. They say he's not out of the woods yet, he has a chance of the incision in his intestines coming open and getting infected but if he makes it 5 days they say the worst is over. He seems to be doing ok so far. He has an appetite and hasn't thrown up or anything like that. If anyone has experience with this surgery suggestions on how to care for him would be appreciated. Once again, thanks for your advice everyone.
 

ar1951

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your cat has been through a terrible experience; why did not the Vet take an Xray to see if there was any more ribbon first:  Your Cat needs a lot of love; hugs to him + kisses! : )

Make sure the Cat gets some good food; the intestines will be inflamed; maybe some Natural Cat Pellets which have Probiotics and fiber for healthy digestion might help; thankyou!

I add water; chicken broth or beef broth to any Natural dry pellets for better "digestion; this goes for all Cat Pellets>
 
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catpack

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Happy to hear no ribbon was found. Hopefully if it is in his colon, he will pass it without incident. So sorry you and he are going through this!

My only thoughts would be to keep him quiet while his incisions are healing. No running/jumping. This will greatly reduce his risk of tearing the internal sutures.

I would also think feeding him an easily digestible canned food would be ideal since his bowels will be irritated. I'd also make it real soupy if he will tolerate it.

Did the vet give you any special instructions?
 

goholistic

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If anyone has experience with this surgery suggestions on how to care for him would be appreciated.
We went through something similar with our family cat Jerry when I was younger. He was "bad" and got into everything. We lived in a Victorian home with old antique furniture. There was this one winged back chair that had this stringy fibrous material hanging from the lining underneath. Jerry used to get under there and literally eat it. We caught him a few times and tried to teach him not to go under there, but otherwise we didn't think much of it.

Well, he became very sick and ate enough of this stringy material that it ended up all wrapped up in his intestines, and he had to have surgery. It was so bad that they couldn't remove the material and instead removed 6 inches of his intestines and resectioned it. Poor guy. After surgery, he had to be confined. We had him in a large cage with all his things to make him comfortable. I want to say that he was in there for a month, but he did okay. Also, we were ordered to absolutely feed ONLY wet, paté-style food. Nothing hard (no kibble or treats). Nothing with chunks (no shredded or cubed wet food). This was to avoid perforating his vulnerable intestines and opening his incisions. I don't have the specifics of any medications he was on, but I do remember my mom having to pill him, so he may have been on antibiotics as a precautionary measure and/or pain medication. He recovered successfully and was back to his old self.

Jerry recovered so well that he, unfortunately, went back to his old bad habits pretty quickly. My parents fixed the lining underneath the chair, but he somehow managed to get at it again when the house was empty (both parents worked, kids were all in school). He got sick again and this time there was nothing we could do. The vet said they couldn't remove any more of his intestines. We had to say goodbye. He was only 3 years old.

So in my experience, yes, they can recover from this type of surgery (but, of course, Jerry was a strong, resilient young lad). This experience also changed my whole family and how we cat-proof our own homes now. We do not want to put any pet through something like this again.

Sending lots of vibes that your kitty gets through this okay. 
 

ar1951

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Anyone know how to stop a Cat from getting into this type of stuff ? thanks for the story helps others ps I agree with the Pate style food until Cat is recovered; 

my final comment is: the reason I mentioned Kibbles is because some Kibbles have Probiotics;; I would not give dry kibbles though; I was thinking of another Cat; sorry!
 
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