A cat has returned home and is back up to “mischief” after its life was saved by North East vets following treatment for a bacterial infection.

Thirteen-year-old Topsy was rushed to Wear Referrals in Bradbury, near Sedgefield, County Durham, where expert surgeons, vets, and nursing staff worked to save her life.

The moggy, whose owner is 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.

A lifesaving out-of-hours operation was performed by Laura Homer ECVS specialist in small animal surgery and Emily Frapwell EVCS resident in small animal surgery at Wear to save their life.

The Northern Echo:

Ms Frapwell 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.”

Owner Emma Reilly, who lives in Middlesbrough, said she was shocked to receive the rare diagnosis and had been left worried for her pet's condition.

She 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.

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“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.”