A cat has an air rifle pellet permanently embedded in its skull after it was deliberately shot in the nasal cavity at close range.
An x-ray revealed long-haired tabby Max, from Blackridge in West Lothian, had a pellet deeply lodged between his eye socket and optic nerve.
The pellet will now remain in place, however, as a vet would need to remove his eye to extract it.
Owner Andrew Murchinson said his pet made it home before losing control of his back legs.
Unable to see any external damage, they assumed he was having a seizure and rushed him to a vet, where scans and blood tests were carried out.
However, when he returned home, blood started pouring from his nose and he was taken to the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, where an x-ray revealed the pellet.
The two-year-old cat is on an intensive course of antibiotics to fight off any infections that may occur as a result of the injury.
Staff operated on him for over three hours and were able to remove most of the shrapnel.
Mr Murchinson said: “Max is not out of the woods yet and has a lot of recovering to do, but we are hopeful he’s going to be okay. It has been a horrific experience for our family and we are keeping everything crossed.”
An SSPCA inspector said: “It is appalling animals such as Max are being targeted and caused such pain and suffering.
“Because the air rifle had been shot up Max’s nose at close range there was no entry wound. This was a horrific crime and Max is very fortunate to still be alive.
“Disturbingly, some people seem to think it is fun to maim and kill defenceless animals with air weapons and this is completely unacceptable in a modern, civilised society.”
People who own or use an air weapon will need to have a licence when rules tightening access, introduced in the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015, come in to effect from 31 December.
- Anyone with information is asked to telephone the SSPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.