Prevention is the best medicine

Once upon a time there lived a treasured and adorable Chocolate Point Siamese called Lord Claude Minkit.

Claude had a great life: his people took him on holiday; he had a big garden full of interesting smells and great sunbathing spots to hang out in with his BFF, HuckFinn The Stray; every day he got a plate of fresh kangaroo mince and just before bed, a bowl of teeth-cleaning pellets.

But Claude had a secret addiction that he hid from everyone, especially his people…

One day Claude went to see Dr Paul for his yearly vaccinations and check up. Dr Paul was pleased to see a happy and bright little fellow on the table. He took Claude’s temperature – normal – examined his teeth – immaculate – and felt his tummy. Hmmm, something was wrong. Dr Paul felt something large and hard that shouldn’t be there.

‘I don’t want to alarm you,’ Dr Paul told Claude’s mum, ‘but there’s a mass here that I need to x-ray.’

Despite being cross when his mum left him behind at the surgery, Claude behaved beautifully and lay quietly while he was x-rayed from different angles.

The films came out clearly, but they flummoxed Dr Paul. He’d never seen anything like the large mass that sat near Claude’s stomach. He took some blood samples and sent these off to be tested. The results came back inconclusive. He sent the x-rays to specialists for examination, but they too couldn’t say what the mass was.

We need to do some surgical exploration, Dr Paul decided.

Dr Diana did the operation. When she opened up Claude’s stomach, she found a long sausage something that appeared stripy.

Has he eaten a snake? she wondered.

When she removed the mass, Claude’s dark secret was revealed: for the seventeen months of his short life, he’d harboured a sneaky addiction to hair elastics and rubber bands. While his mum laughed at the way he danced and played with them, whenever anyone wasn’t looking, he’d eat one. These stayed in his stomach, winding around and around each other, and trapping grass and food so that eventually very little made its way into Claude’s colon.

Had Dr Paul not noticed the mass, Claude would have become a very, very sick cat and have suffered a great deal of pain. He was lucky that he went to the vet who caught it in time.

Like every good story, this one has a moral. The moral is not that everyone should cut their hair short, it is that no pet should ever, ever miss its annual check up.

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