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Cat swallows needle and thread and is miraculously rescued WITHOUT needing stitches

Dec 03, 2023

One-year-old ragdoll cat Lulu narrowly avoided catastrophe when she swallowed a needle and thread left on a windowsill by her owner in Westoning, Bedfordshire

A haphazard cat avoided needed stitches after swallowing a two-inch needle and thread.

Poor ragdoll Lulu gobbled down the sharp piece of metal while owner Jane Brigham-Curtis left it to answer her phone.

But vets managed to seamlessly remove it after Lulu was rushed to an out-of-hours practice – despite searching for it being like for a needle in a haystack.

An x-ray showed the needle lodged in the moggy's gut, with vets astonished it didn't damage her insides.

Jane, from Westoning, Bedfordshire, said she had only put her sewing equipment down for "20 or 30 seconds" before hearing a mysterious scraping sound, turning around to see the needle had vanished.

"I realised straightaway what had happened and could barely believe it," said the cat owner.

"Naturally, I was extremely worried and concerned for Lulu.

Already an experienced vet's practice receptionist, Jane knew exactly how bad Lulu's mistaken snack could be for her - potentially causing serious internal injuries.

I am an experienced vet's receptionist, so my background told me just how serious this could be and I took her straight to the out of hours clinic at the practice - and rushed her to an out-of-hours practice.

"They X-rayed her and confirmed she had a needle in her stomach and needed urgent attention."

Lulu was quickly referred to Davies Veterinary Specialists in nearby Hitchin, Hertfordshire, where specialists Laura Sáez Cutando and Anna Threlfall used endoscopy to locate the needle.

Laura managed to successfully find the needle after spotting the red thread which was still attached.

The internal medicine specialist said: "The challenging part was that Lulu had eaten food so it was like finding a ‘needle in a hay stack’.

"It was actually hidden between dry biscuits and treats, and it was the red cotton we spotted first, then very slowly we followed it to the needle.

"Lulu's breathing made the search a bit more challenging as the food content in her stomach was also moving, so at times we lost track of the red cotton and had to ‘dig’ between pieces of biscuits to find it again.

"Anna was holding the gastric endoscope pointing with the camera to the string and needle and I was trying to retrieve the needle with some very small forceps.

"To get the needle out without damaging the gastric or oesophageal wall, we had placed a long gastric tube through her mouth into her stomach.

"After this, the needle was pulled out successfully. Once I’d grabbed the string, I only had to pull it up.

"The whole procedure lasted about 40 minutes and was very successful, with Lulu discharged only a few hours later, having received omeprazole to reduce the risk of oesophagitis (inflammation of the oesophagus)."

Lucky Lulu was discharged and has since made a full recovery following the freak accident in March.

Jane, 55, added: "Laura was great and looked after Lulu really well.

"She said the procedure was an unusual challenge, although it was good news that the needle and thread had not passed into the intestine.

"It was such a relief. I know there are some things that animals swallow which can pass safely through the system and come out at the other end.

"You can't risk that with a sharp needle, especially with the thread attached, so I’m very grateful to Laura and the team."

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