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Young Kitten Needs Your Help To Overcome Early Trauma

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UPDATE December 20, 2016: Elsa has made a wonderful recovery after her surgery to correct a diaphragmatic hernia. She has been recuperating in the home of one of our Vet Techs, who is also a member of our Foster Care Program. This vital progam provides a great benefit to all animals in our care, especially those in need of a quiet place to recover from an injury.

Elsa will soon be cleared for adoption and be on her way to her very own loving, responsible home. If you're interested in learning more about Elsa, and maybe welcoming her into your family, contact Tara Guclu at 516-883-7900 ext.352, or

Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

Here at North Shore Animal League America we couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. We believe that every Mutt-i-gree deserves a chance at a healthy, happy life, so when we are able to provide second chances to animals who would never be afforded that opportunity, it gives us immense joy. In the same breath, if those animals could speak, especially those in our Help Me Heal Program, surely they would express the same pleasure.

Recently, we met Elsa, a tiny black kitten whose life was instantly changed for the better when she was found abandoned at a construction site and brought to a local animal hospital for a checkup. Upon examination, it was discovered that little Elsa was suffering from multiple severe injuries and would need emergency surgery to survive. In an effort to save the ailing kitten’s life, the veterinary technicians at the office reached out to Animal League America Foster Parent, Volunteer, and National Spokesperson Beth Stern. Within hours, Elsa was transported to the Alex Lewyt Medical Center on our Port Washington, N.Y., campus, for the urgent, individualized medical attention she needed.
“Elsa was breathing rapidly and seemed to be using a lot of effort just to catch her breath, so that immediately sparked concern,” says Animal League America Veterinarian, Dr. Phil Litwack. “X-rays show Elsa has a diaphragmatic hernia, which is a hole in the large muscle at the bottom of the rib cage which allows us to breathe. Because of the hole in her diaphragm, her stomach has shifted up into her chest and is pushing on her lungs. This dramatic shift isn’t allowing for her lungs to expand as much as they need to in order for her to breathe easily.”

Because of the severity of her condition, the 7-week-old kitten, who was also found to have several fractured ribs, will require corrective surgery at Animal Medical Center in New York City to repair the hole in her diaphragm. While she awaits surgery, Elsa will spend all of her time in an oxygenated cage in our Emergency Care Unit, under the 24-hour care of the veterinary staff. Once she is considered strong enough to undergo the delicate procedure, she will be transported via AmbuVet Pet Ambulance to Manhattan where she will finally be able to breathe easy when all is said and done.

“Because Elsa is so small, there are always slightly more risk under anesthesia, but surgery on young kittens are not uncommon,” says Dr. Litwack. “Once the hole in her diaphragm is repaired, the stomach is moved back to the abdomen where it belongs, and her ribs are healed, Elsa should be well on her way to a full recovery.”

As a member of our Help Me Heal Program, Elsa will be provided with elite medical attention, compassionate care, and will one day find a responsible, loving home. But first she needs your help. Your donation today can help this precious kitten, and countless other animals, get the urgent medical care they need. Thank you for your continued support to this vital program.

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