Sometimes, an animal’s best chance at a normal life involves a drastic surgical procedure.
In January 2012, we had the opportunity to improve the lives of two cats with two different issues.
Bethany was rescued by a kind school busdriver that had been watching her walk a young girl to and from the bus stop for weeks. After inquiring around the neighborhood, she learned that the little kitty was being fed but no one was going to step up and claim her as their own. Bethany was injured and to cope, she was walking on her wrist instead of her paw. Her muscles were atrophying and pretty soon the leg would be basically useless.
Amputation of her front right leg was recommended to give Bethany a more comfortable and normal life.
She recovered from surgery in record time and now moves around better than ever! She won the hearts of many and now lives with a wonderful family that just loves her to pieces … just look:
Originally, Spitfire was part of a trap-neuter-return (TNR) project in a nearby county but he was young enough and just friendly enough not to be returned … instead he was socialized and made available for adoption. We transferred him into our program when the shelter called to let us know that their cages were filling up. We took in four others that day.
Somehow, perhaps in all the commotion, no one at the shelter noticed that Spitfire was limping. After giving him some time to adjust and hopefully heal, we took him to a veterinarian for x-rays. Oh jeez, Spitfire had a “carpal joint valgus angulation, turned outward” in his left, front leg. Translation: his ulna bone was shorter than his radius bone and this was causing his leg to bow – making it awkward to walk. The original diagnosis was that Spitfire could live with this issue and it shouldn’t cause him much discomfort.
However, over the next few weeks he was using that leg less and less and the muscles were shrinking. Not good for a kitty that was only 6 months old. So, we packed him up and took him to the special orthopedic veterinarian … more x-rays and an extensive exam indicated that the original diagnosis was correct but the recommendation now was orthopedic surgery. The procedure would involve removing a piece of the radius bone so that the two bones were of similar length once again. This should relieve the pressure on the radius bone and in time the bowed-leg would straighten out. The other option was amputation.
For Bethany, it was clear that amputation was the correct choice – the damage to her leg was too severe to be corrected in a reasonable manner. For Spitfire, however, the choice wasn’t as simple. We opted for the more complicated surgery … and 5 weeks later we are so happy that we did!
Spitfire now zooms around his foster home – running and jumping! And when he slows down enough to walk, he now USES that front left leg! Success!! It’s been amazing to watch him recover – and to feel the muscles strengthening in that leg.
We are so grateful for the amazing veterinarians that we work with at the Edgebrook Animal Hospital, Jamesburg Veterinary Hospital and the Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. And we are forever thankful and in awe of our supporters – the lives of these two amazing cats were changed for the better because of all of you!!