A cat who was thought to have deadly nasal tumor has made a full recovery after vets discovered a simple problem caused by a blade of grass that had gone up her nose.
Staff at Wood Green, the animals’ charity at Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire, UK feared Pixie had used up all her nine lives when a persistent sneeze turned into a bloody discharge.
Six-year-old British Blue cat Pixie came to Wood Green at the start of October 2014, when she soon stole the hearts of the cat section staff.
She had come in to the animal care and adoption centre with a history of sneezing though, and in the days and weeks that followed the charity became more and more concerned about the cat’s health.
Pixie was suffering intermittent bloody nasal discharge and was originally treated for cat flu. However, when her symptoms continued, Wood Green vets investigated further, discovering a nasal lump, which staff feared was a sign of cancer.
Exploratory surgery proved inconclusive, so the her caregivers made the decision to send Pixie to leading experts at the Animal Health Trust in Suffolk.
On December 30 she underwent a CT scan, which revealed the lump in her nose was actually tissue growing over an ingested blade of grass, and on New Year’s Eve Pixie had the offending flora removed.
A fully fit Pixie is now looking forward to a much brighter new year and has now been rehomed.
Wood Green cites Pixie’s case as a prime example highlighting their recommendation that petparents get their pets insured, with her medical costs having totaled nearly £2,000.
Jane Harrup, deputy manager of cat welfare at Wood Green, said: “It seems like such a simple problem – a cat eating a blade of grass – but when it was undiagnosed it turned into something much more extensive and frightening.
“Pixie’s story has been a real eye-opener for us, we were so upset because it really looked like a tumor – thank goodness for CT scans!”
She added: “Her story is such a pertinent reminder of why we need to make sure pets are insured.
“Luckily, Wood Green was able to cover her expensive hi-tech scans and her operation, for something that thankfully ended up being less malignant than we feared – but the condition was still painful and unpleasant for Pixie.
“We are absolutely thrilled she has been patched up and has finally been able to go home with her adoring new owners – and, like all Wood Green animals, she has left us with some insurance cover.”
Harrup said it’s not unusual for cats to get bits of grass stuck in their noses but she has never heard of anything this extreme.
She said: “When she first came in we noticed she had a nasal discharge so we put her into our isolation unit and treated her for flu.
“Then because it wasn’t clearing up we thought there must be something else going wrong but she wasn’t presenting with any other symptoms.
“We sent her for a rhinoscopy where they put a camera up her nose, but because of her breed and size of her nostrils it came back inconclusive.
“We decided to go for a CT scan because we really did feel at that point it was something more sinister than just flu.
“When they told us what it was, we were amazed. It must have been there for some time for the tissue to grow over it.
“We were delighted that it was something as simple as a blade of grass.
‘It’s not a common thing but it’s not unheard of. I had an experience with my cat, sneezing on and off for a couple of days.
“I noticed a tiny bit of green poking out of his nose, grabbed it between my nails and pulled it out and it was a piece of grass.
“I’ve heard it from other people too but never to this extent.
“It seems like such a simple problem but when it was undiagnosed it turned into something much more extensive and frightening.
“Pixie’s story has been a real eye-opener for us. Luckily, Wood Green was able to cover her expensive hi-tech scans and her operation.
“We are absolutely thrilled she has been patched up and has finally been able to go home with her adoring new owners.’