Wednesday, April 1, 2009
So on a pretty average Sunday afternoon, I got a call on my cell phone from the emergency service at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital. A good friend of mine (and a weekend nurse in ES), Trish, was on the other line. "Would you guys be interested in taking on a high rise cat?" The veterinary profession commonly uses the term "high rise" syndrome to refer to cats that have jumped (or fallen) from a height that would easily be death of a less fortunate species. For some reason, cats that are immediately treated have a 90% survival rate after falling anywhere from 2-32 stories. Tiger, the kitty sitting in ES that Sunday, had fallen from a 6 story window sometime on Saturday. Unfortunately for him, no one had brought him into the veterinary clinic for 24 hours. Because Tiger didn't have any other options, Trish called us to see if we had a foster home and the funds to help treat poor Tiger. Luckily, I had just adopted out my last set of kittens and only had one other foster kitty, so I was game to take Tiger. And, thanks to the generous grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, we did have the funds to fix him. I headed in to ES to meet this poor kitty and to get a sense of how bad he had been injured. As it turned out, he had broken his left hind leg pretty badly and had a bunch of abrasions on his mouth and tongue, as well as some degloving on his front left paw. We FIV/FeLeuk tested him, then loaded him up on painkillers and antibiotics for the night (since his surgery would have to wait until the morning) and then I took him home. That night, he got pain meds every 4 hours, and first thing in the morning we drove out to Sara's veterinary practice to have him worked up and, hopefully, fixed. After some radiographs, it was clear that his left hind leg had been broken in two places (at the knee and near his hip) and couldn't be saved. His front paw, although it looked terrible, only had one dislocated bone, which could easily be removed. A few hours later, Tiger awoke from surgery with on less leg and one less toe. For the next few days, we kept him on strong pain killers and antibiotics as we waited to see how well everything would heal. Luckily for Tiger, he's now doing great! He's moved from being on cage rest to having the run of a small room, and he's learning how to get around, climb on laps, and play with only three legs. He's still a little worried about sudden noises and movements, which isn't too surprising considering his traumatic injury. Hopefully, in the next few weeks he'll be healthy enough (physically and mentally) to go to a new home!