In late August, Asheville Humane Society brought a severely injured but adorable seven to eight week old kitten to Animal Hospital of North Asheville to see if we could help him. He had been hit by a car, and had multiple injuries including a broken right rear leg, an extremely large hernia (muscle tear allowing the abdominal organs into a space under the skin), and a dislocated carpus (wrist). This terribly injured little guy was such a sweet boy, purring through all of his exams and procedures. Of course, the hospital staff fell in love with this brave boy! With Asheville Humane Society’s approval and Animal Hospital of North Asheville providing the funding, we began to do everything we could to save his life.
Dr. Susan Wootten did the initial assessments and started supportive care and pain medications. Dr. Jim Earley quickly became involved as the kitten’s surgeon to assess the injuries and the likelihood of a successful recovery, which was far from certain. Multiple injuries are always serious, but the thought of a 2,000 pound car injuring not only two legs, but also the abdomen of a three pound kitten is a tough battle to win. This presentation is always tricky because the patient must undergo a period of treatment to stabilize before tests and surgery, but the injuries cannot go uninvestigated and untreated for long. The decision of when to operate is always a balancing act.
The damage to the leg was so severe that amputation was the only option. The only way to fully know how extensive the injuries to the abdominal wall and abdomen were was to perform an abdominal exploratory surgery. Blood tests, X-rays and ultrasound were done prior to surgery to evaluate the likelihood of success, but questions still remained. As this brave kitten began to stabilize and regain some strength, Dr. Earley and the surgery team made preparations for the extensive supportive care the kitten would need during the long surgery. Among other things, maintaining the body temperature of such a small kitten while the abdominal cavity is opened to evaluate and repair the large hernia and while the crushed rear leg is amputated was of major concern. Our team was so proud when the tiny boy came through surgery with flying colors and with hardly any drop in his body temperature. The last thing to be done before taking him to recovery was to stabilize his dislocated wrist. Everyone at AHNA sent up a cheer when the tiny boy was brought to recovery and congratulations were in order for Dr. Earley in his repair of the severe wounds. Our nursing team took over with Dr. Earley’s written orders and began to provide loving intensive care, day and night. Among other things, they made sure that he received drugs as needed to prevent pain rather than try to treat it after it escalated. By assessing the patient frequently and recording the results of a multi-part pain score, we can pick up on slight trends in vitals that indicate pain is beginning. Patients who have their pain prevented or treated early generally heal more rapidly and usually require less pain medication.
The kitten would need to remain in the hospital for a long period of treatment, pain control, and specialized nursing care and there was continued worry of complications, but Exam Room Assistant Cindy Radcliffe had fallen totally in love with this brave kitten. Cindy decided she wanted to add him to her family and began the adoption process with Asheville Humane Society. She named him Manwich Franklin and had her fingers crossed that he would make it. Manwich was an incredible patient and rapidly recovered from surgery and made great progress during the first post-op week. Unfortunately, Manwich developed a fever nine days post operatively. Dr. Earley did several tests to find the source of the fever and resolve it, since it is very unusual to see a fever develop after surgery. One thing he did was to perform an abdominal ultrasound to look for surgical complications, and he found that fluid was accumulating around the left kidney. Also, the pancreas and colon were closely associated with the kidney capsule. Using the ultrasound, he guided a needle to the fluid and obtained a sample of the fluid, which was sent for analysis and culture. Dr. Earley made the decision to take Manwich back to surgery where he performed a procedure to allow the fluid to drain while preserving the kidney. Manwich, like the incredible kitten he is, recovered quickly and never looked back! His follow up exams and ultrasounds have demonstrated the surgery was a success, the fluid did not return, and the kidney was saved. We are happy to report that Manwich is now being a crazy, active, loving kitten at Cindy’s house and is all set for a great life.
Here’s what Cindy has to say about life with her dearly loved Manwich:
Manwich Franklin is a bottle cap stealing, window-blind wrecking, paper shredding ball of a kitten. He keeps me awake with his nocturnal gymnastics, his favorite being the three-legged flying-somersault-on-Mom’s-head. The little dear takes pride in exfoliating my eyelids with his little sandpaper tongue while I am trying to sleep, and he thinks that kitty litter scatter should be an Olympic sport. Oh, and did I mention that he is an incorrigible lingerie thief? Yep, his little man-cave under the cedar chest is home to a variety of purloined unmentionables.
This miracle kitten is the bane of my existence and the love of my life! Dr. Earley’s remarkable talent and total devotion saved Manwich’s life. That is a gift I will never forget but maybe someday I’ll be able to forgive.
The smell of the feast is sure to have tails wagging, but busy crowds of family and friends and an abundance of food may present safety hazards for your pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Animal Hospital of North Asheville offer the following tips to keep pets safe this holiday season.
The holiday feast is for people – not pets. Table scraps may seem like a fun way to include a pet, but many foods are poisonous to pets, including onions, garlic, raisins and grapes. Go to AVMA.org for a complete list of foods and household items that are dangerous or poisonous to pets. Even a feast that’s no longer on the table can be dangerous. A turkey carcass left in an easily opened trash container could prove deadly if the family pet finds it. A dog that “discovers” the carcass can quickly eat so much that he can develop pancreatitis, which can cause serious illness or even death. Dispose of turkey carcasses and other leftovers in a covered, tightly secured container along with anything used to wrap or tie the meat and any bones left on plates. Bones are hazards and can be very tempting for pets. Most people don’t realize that besides the often serious intestinal problems that bones can cause, bones often break dogs’ teeth. A good rule of thumb is: Don’t give your dog anything that feels hard to chew on. No real bones (raw or cooked) and no nylon bones. No deer antlers. No hooves. No hard chew toys of any kind! Even ice can break your dog’s teeth.
Desserts and pets don’t mix. Most people know that chocolate is poisonous to pets, but remember that the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. Be sure to keep chocolate in any form carefully secured and away from pets. An artificial sweetener called Xylitol has also been shown to be just as deadly to dogs. Xylitol is a common sweetener used in baked goods. Want to treat your pets? Buy a treat that is made just for them. Pets will enjoy the treat just as much as anything from the table, and it can spare you an emergency visit to the hospital.
Danger may be lurking under your tree as well. Cats and dogs are often attracted to bows and ribbon which can be deadly if swallowed. Pieces of ribbon or string can become lodged in the intestines causing great damage. We have seen many sad cases of these linear foreign bodies at Animal Hospital of North Asheville, and they can be easily prevented. Also, keep in mind that a well-meaning friend may put a wrapped present under your tree, and if it is chocolate, your pet’s keen nose will easily detect it. We have seen dogs with chocolate toxicity that have opened presents and eaten not only the chocolate but the box too!
For some pets, houseguests can be scary. Pets who are shy or excitable around new people may have a hard time during the holidays when new people may be visiting. If a dog or cat is likely to be overwhelmed when people come over, they should stay in another room or a crate so they’re out of the frenzy and feel safe. And remember to fit some time into your schedule to give your pets what they want most, some one-on-one attention from you. If pets are comfortable around guests, they should be watched closely when houseguests are entering or leaving to make sure the four-legged family member doesn’t make a break for it out the door and become lost. A microchip and an identification tag are some of the best gifts you can give your pet, since they are the best ways to have a lost pet returned to you.
Decorations can be dangerous. Holiday tables are often dressed with centerpieces and flowers, which should be kept up and away from your pets. Some decorations look good enough to eat and pets may decide to have a taste. Depending on the flower or decoration, this can result in stomach upset or worse. Lilies, in particular, are deadly to cats. Pine cones and needles, if consumed by a pet, can cause an intestinal blockage or even perforate the animal’s intestine. Garland and tinsel can cause the same problems as ribbons and string, so be sure to keep this type of decoration out of reach.
Fire, children, and pets make a bad combination. Dinner by candlelight can provide an elegant atmosphere for a holiday meal, but where there’s a flame, there’s the opportunity for disaster. Children and pets should be kept away from any open flame or fire. If the safety of candles can’t be ensured during the holiday commotion, substitute battery-operated or electric candles. Be especially mindful of children and pets around the fireplace.
You can still “deck the halls” and have a great time, but by using these tips, you and your pets can have a happy, healthy, and SAFE holiday season!
Information in this article taken from: