Foxtail dangers: “Had I not noticed he was having issues he wouldn’t have made it out alive”

A Reader’s Forum story by Mo Betta published August 17, 2019

I’m gonna start off by saying I am a caregiver and have a controlled colony of kitties. I also don’t stop at just TNR, I also provide medical attention to my kitties but I also want to raise awareness for the unforeseen issues I have encountered this past week.

feral can emergency
Shadow had a foxtail stuck in his urinary tract
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My kitty Shadow started having some issues. I noticed he was having a hard time being able to urinate. It took me three days to get him enclosed. Upon getting him enclosed I noticed he had a fever and blood was coming from his manhood area.

I got him into the vet on Monday with the help of some amazing people. They were able to place a catheter inside him and empty his bladder. They did x-rays, which nothing showed but he was blocked which is why he was unable to urinate.

Shadow at the vet
Shadow had to have emergency surgery

Tuesday they called me and told me he was doing good had a slight elevated temp and they were gonna keep the catheter in and pull it Wednesday to see if he was able to go by himself. Tuesday night after they left he chewed out the catheter so Wednesday morning the vet called me and informed me of what happened as well as some necrosis to the tip of his manhood and that he was blocked again

We okay’d the vet to do life saving emergency surgery and I got a phone call around 2:30 pm letting me know that they had found a foxtail in his urethra. The x-rays never showed that was causing the issues but because there was necrosis done and a bladder stone was found I still opted to perform the surgery and convert him into female parts.

foxtail (Whole Dog Journal)

Shadow is very lucky to be alive. Never would I have thought that a foxtail as big as it was could travel up into his urethra but some how it did. The vet told me there was only one other case he dealt with besides shadow. He is still hospitalized due to him having fevers and not eating well and hopefully will come home Monday.

If you have these weeds in your area I implore you to be observant. Had I not noticed he was having issues he wouldn’t have made it out alive. At this point he will not be returned into the colony but I wanted to let others know the absolute horrendous experience that Shadow had to deal with and maybe by sharing his story it will help others to keep a watchful eye on their colonies.

foxtail removed from Shadow

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Above is a picture of what they found as well as him today when I went to go see him.

Mo Betta

Note from Elisa: When I found the post written by Mo about her cat Shadow, I knew I had to spread the word. You just never know what a cat will get into that can prove dangerous or deadly. Shadow didn’t swallow the foxtail. No one knows how it got in his urinary tract.

Thank you for making us all aware of this danger. Photos of Shadow courtesy of Mo.


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