Air rifle shot shatters cat’s leg

02 March 2022 / General, Soft Tissue Surgery

A shocked cat lover has told the shameful story of how her precious pet was seriously wounded after being shot by an air rifle.

The one-year-old cat, called Obi, suffered a shattered leg in the shooting and needed a two-hour operation to remove the pellet and repair the widespread damage.

Obi’s owner Hayley Williams, from Rhos-on-Sea, North Wales, says she’s appalled that anyone could act so cruelly towards an innocent animal.

Scans showing the damage to Obi the cat’s leg after he was shot with an air rifle.

She said: “I was getting ready to take my daughter Penelope to school in the morning when I heard screaming and crying.

“Moments later Obi had made his way up the stairs and I noticed his leg straight away, it just looked like it was hanging off.

“He was in so much pain, really crying, screaming and once he got to me, he collapsed to the floor, like he’d tried his hardest to make it home to me, where he felt safe and knew I’d help him.

“The vet said Obi’s leg was broken, the pellet was still inside and that he’d need surgery. As you can imagine we were heartbroken! How could anyone do that to an innocent cat?”

“I thought he’d been run over or maybe caught himself on the fence in our garden but after a few hours the vet called me to tell us that it looked like it was an air rifle pellet that had caused all the damage.

Obi’s local vets promptly arranged for him to be referred to Northwest Veterinary Specialists in Runcorn, for expert care and repair.

Northwest’s orthopaedic specialist Nick Macdonald took charge of the challenging case.

He said: “Obi had been shot with an air rifle, breaking his left femur, with X-rays showing the fracture of the femur and the airgun pellet which remained lodged in the muscles of the thigh.

“This was an immediate concern as whenever a pellet or bullet goes into the body it takes a lot of hair and skin with it, which increases the risk of infection.

“It also causes the bone to splinter into lots of small pieces which can’t be pieced back together.

Scans showing the external skeletal fixator and bone pin put in place after Obi’s operation to aid his recovery.

“In these circumstances a fixation of the fracture is required, which allows the bone to heal by formation of a callus which then remodels over time into the original shape of the bone.

“Obi went to surgery and we removed as much hair and debris as possible along with the air rifle pellet to try and minimise infection.

“An external skeletal fixator and bone pin was then used to hold the bone in the correct length and alignment while the callus formed to repair the fracture.

“Intraoperative X-rays were used to help guide the pin placement, minimising the disruption to the blood supply of the callus to hopefully encourage faster bone healing.

“The fracture took 13 weeks to fully heal at which point the external skeletal fixator and bone pin were removed, completely, which again minimises the risk of persistent infection.”

Obi at home

The operation was a total success and Obi has now made a full recovery, with a delighted Hayley full of praise for the Northwest Veterinary Specialists team.

She added: “I can’t thank everyone at Northwest Veterinary Specialists enough for how amazing they were. I honestly, have never experienced such amazing staff.

“I was a complete heartbroken mess. I have never had to leave Obi anywhere and I was so worried he’d think we’d abandoned him, but wow, every single member of staff we spoke to were so kind.

“Nick, the specialist who dealt with Obi, explained everything thoroughly and made sure we understood and was happy to answer all of our questions. I am so grateful Obi got the care and treatment he needed.”

Obi - Air rifle story