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Home > Case Studies > Hazel

Dealing with a Neck Wound

Patient Name: Hazel

Patient Problem: Neck Wound

Hazel, a young and exceptionally friendly female stray cat, was brought into our care after she wandered into a garden. She came to us with a concerning issue: a nasty, infected wound located on her neck. Presumed to be an infected scratch wound, she was started on antibiotics and Dr Saskia took her home to foster her until a new home could be found. But after two weeks, there was little improvement.


We sedated Hazel, and upon closer inspection, found that she actually had a sewing needle sticking out of the wound, and it needed to be surgically removed.


The surgery was a complete success, Hazel made a full recovery, and has now been adopted by our very own Dr. Saskia!

What We Did...

After two weeks of antibiotic treatment with little improvement, it was clear that a different approach was needed to treat Hazel’s neck wound. Hazel was brought back to the clinic, where we anaesthetised her and planned to stitch up the wound. 


When preparing the area for surgery, Dr Saskia thought she saw a piece of hair sticking out of the wound. After tugging on it we quickly realised it was the eye of a sewing needle with thread still attached, poking out of the wound. X-rays revealed the extent of it, and the team concluded that Hazel must have swallowed it while she was a stray. The large open wound on her neck was from when poor Hazel was scratching and clawing at herself, trying to get the needle out.


We surgically removed the sewing needle and stitched the wound up, to allow it to finally heal.

What We Did...

Hazel woke up smoothly from her surgery and came home with Dr Saskia, with a short course of antibiotics and pain relief. She was very woozy on the day of the surgery, but the following day she sprang into life, purring very loudly and becoming very playful. It was clear that the needle had been bothering her for at least a couple of weeks, and she must have felt such immense relief after it was finally gone.


Hazel has stolen the hearts of everyone in the clinic, and Dr Saskia decided to adopt her permanently from the very moment we found the sewing needle.


The stitches were removed 10 days after surgery. Hazel has now made a full recovery, and has since been vaccinated, microchipped and spayed - ready for a happy and healthy life, and she is being kept well away from sewing kits!

Hazel recovery.jpg

What the Nurse Said

Hazel is a constant reminder of the resilience of animals. I can only imagine how she must have felt, being unable to tell anyone what had really happened - and yet, she was still so friendly and sweet towards everyone she met. If I had a sewing needle stuck in my throat I would certainly not have been as friendly as her! Her personality has shone through more and more since adopting her permanently.


Clinically, Hazel’s sewing needle encounter has been a reminder of how good animals are at hiding signs of discomfort, and sometimes we need to sedate pets in order to get a really good look and understand what is going on. When I see patients with any throat or neck issue I have started to ask more questions about possible foreign bodies, such as asking about any sewing materials in the house.


Finally, looking after Hazel has been a reminder of how rewarding it is to work as a vet - animals cannot talk and so sometimes we need to look closely to understand what is going on with them. Sometimes, things can appear simple - such as a scratch wound that needs antibiotics and perhaps a stitch-up - and then it becomes something completely unexpected, like a sewing needle. I feel so lucky to be able to help animals and learn something new every day.

We're Hiring for a Veterinary Nurse to Join Our Team!

We're on the look out for two veterinary nurses to join our practice and continue to make a difference to the lives of pets just like Hazel. If you're interested, or know anyone that would be, read more about the role or our values today!

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