It’s been a busy week. I worked three nights at the Kiwanis youth soccer tournament (and yes, I have had enough cold rain to suit me… more than I can really enjoy, to tell you the truth). Wednesday after work I drove to Cape Girardeau to help interview candidates for a new District Executive for the Cherokee District (if you look at the website, our friend Josh Chumbley is leaving us). It was a late night, but we have a gentleman hired, and he should hit the ground running in November. I certainly feel like I’ve been getting a lot done, but it hasn’t left much time for blogging. I’ve been busy in the clinic with several cases that have given me some dramatic "before" pictures. Now I’ve got to get them to that "after" stage, which brings us to today’s success story.
Kitty is about three months old, and should weigh three pounds. When she came in on October 15, she weighed 1.6 pounds. She was terribly thin, dehydrated, and hypothermic (and this was before things cooled off; her body temperature was room temperature). Imagine a furry little raisin and you get the picture. She really looks a lot better in the photo than in real-life.
There’s always cat food out at the barn and the barn cats usually fend for themselves pretty much. Not Kitty, though. They noticed she wasn’t feeling too well and brought her inside. She still wouldn’t eat. After four days of this, the folks decided they needed professional help, and not a moment too soon. I had grave doubts as to whether she were salvageable.
To get started, we gave her a careful de-flea-ing (she couldn’t stand much chemical), de-worming, a low-heat warming pad, and sub-cutaneous fluids [You hook them up like an I.V., but the fluids are injected under the skin — not bad if your circulation is okay. On a kid this small, I’d never be able to get an I.V. started. When they are critical, you can stick a needle down the middle of their thigh-bone, but that’s no fun.] Once she warmed up, the real work started. She really would not eat. The whole staff (mostly Greg and Shannon) began hand-feeding her little bits of Nutri-Cal (a high-energy content supplement with vitamins and minerals) about every 10 to 15 minutes. That went on for two days. Late on the second day, she would eat a little solid food when hand-fed. Day 3 saw continued improvement and we started to get hopeful. On the fourth day she began eating by herself, and on day five she was eating eagerly and we sent her home. She had gained from 1.6 up to 2 pounds (still one pound underweight, or 33% underweight).
Here we are today (day 11) up to 2.7 pounds, playing hard, eating well, having a big time. Sure, she needed some medical care, but what brought her around was the nursing care. You can’t stick enough needles and pills in somebody to fix them. It takes that tender, loving care (and lots of it, in a case this bad). Hats off to the staff and the nursing care they delivered, and to Kitty’s owners for being willing to commit to bring her back from the edge. She’s out of the woods and on her way to bigger and better things.