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It was lucky 13 for Topsy who underwent an emergency lifesaving surgery at Wear Referrals, in Bradbury, County Durham.

It was lucky 13 for Topsy who underwent an emergency lifesaving surgery at Wear Referrals, in Bradbury, County Durham.

Lucky 13 For Cat Who Cheated Death Thanks To Emergency Op

6 months ago

20th November, 2023 08h09

Linnaeus Group

A 13-year-old cat with a life-threatening bacterial infection is back to her ‘sassy self’ thanks to the rapid response of a County Durham animal hospital. 

Topsy was rushed to Linnaeus-owned Wear Referrals in Bradbury where an expert multidisciplinary team including surgery, intensive care and nursing staff, sprang into action to save her life.

The much-loved cat, whose owner is herself a vet, was diagnosed by Anna Cronin, an ECVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery at Wear, with septic peritonitis, a very serious infection inside the abdomen which has a high mortality rate. 

Following her diagnosis, Laura Homer ECVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery and Emily Frapwell EVCS Resident in Small Animal Surgery at Wear, performed a lifesaving out-of-hours operation on Topsy. 

Emily said: “Topsy arrived at Wear very unwell. Our intensive care unit team stabilised her before she underwent emergency surgery.

“The cause of the infection was a leakage from the gastrointestinal tract and the operation was made even more challenging due to the location of the ulcerated tissue. 

“Commonly, we would prefer to remove a damaged section of the intestine entirely but this was not possible in Topsy’s case due to the anatomical location. 

“Instead, the ulcer was debrided and closed transversely, to reduce the risk of the intestinal tract  narrowing in this place. 

“A closed-suction drain was placed to remove fluid that can build up in the abdomen following surgery due to the severe inflammation that has developed in the tissues as a consequence of the infection. A feeding tube was placed to allow Topsy to receive nutrition until she felt well enough to eat by herself. 

“It’s great to know she’s now back to her lively self and I’m sure her owner, who is a vet, will be keeping a very close eye on her.”

Topsy’s owner Emma Reilly, who lives in Middlesbrough, said: “I was shocked to receive Topsy’s diagnosis because I am a vet myself and know gastric ulcers in cats are very rare – I had never seen a case of one until it happened to my own cat. 

“Of course, I was terrified I would lose Topsy as I understood the risks involved with a septic abdomen and major surgery. It was not just surgery itself but the risky recovery period that was a huge worry for me. 

“The vets at Wear Referrals were amazing at keeping me updated on Topsy’s condition. I had complete faith the team would do their best for her and she was in very capable hands. 

“Topsy has recovered really well and is back to her usual mischief. It is like it never happened.” 

Wear Referrals specialises in providing expert multidisciplinary care, including anaesthesia, cardiology, diagnostic imaging, intensive care, internal medicine, neurology, out-of-hours emergency and critical care, oncology, orthopaedics and soft tissue surgery. 

For more information on Wear Referrals, visit or search for them on social media. 

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