At North Shore Animal League America we believe that little kittens, so innocent and full of life, should spend their formative years exploring and playing, basking in front of sun drenched windows, and enjoying the company of human companions. Unfortunately, not every animal who finds themselves at our Port Washington, N.Y. campus has the luxury of enjoying such spoils. Recently, we met Trey, a 5-month-old kitten, when he and his sibling were picked up by our Rescue Team and swiftly transported to our Pet Health Centers.
The kittens were examined upon their arrival by Dr. Mark Verdino, Senior Vice President and Chief of Veterinary Staff at Animal League America. He immediately noticed that along with being severely underweight and malnourished, Trey was also having difficulty breathing. These observations sparked immediate concern, and the adorable grey kitten was sent for further testing. Apollo, his litter mate, was deemed healthy and would soon be placed up for adoption to find a responsible, loving home.
“We noticed very quickly that Trey could not keep any food down and he was having respiratory difficulty. Radiographs (with contrast) confirmed a severely dilated esophagus, impacted with food. He subsequently developed pneumonia from inhalation of vomitus, which we treated immediately,” Dr. Verdino said. “We opted to get a CT scan first to better visualize what was going on. The CT confirmed the presence of a stricture in the esophagus.”
The esophagus is the tubular organ that runs from the throat to the stomach; an esophageal stricture is an abnormal narrowing of the internal open space of the esophagus. There is no apparent genetic factor involved, so Dr. Verdino and his team believe the stricture was caused by some sort of trauma.
Because Trey was in desperate need of specialty surgery, he was transported to Animal Medical Center – New York City. Specialists there already performed two procedures on the ailing kitten to balloon the stricture in his esophagus, which has already dramatically improved his condition. Doctor Verdino said since the surgeries, Trey is gaining weight and eating well – although he is still fed from an upright position to ensure he is able to fully ingest his food. Although this little fighter is doing very well, it is likely that he will need additional ballooning procedures as he grows.
“We are very pleased with how Trey has responded, but he’s still got a few hurdles to clear before we can place him up for adoption,” Dr. Verdino said. “We will send him for another endoscopy at the Animal Medical Center to evaluate, but in the meantime he will likely be placed in our Foster Care Program.”
Trey is certainly on the road to recovery, but he’s not out of the woods yet. Multiple specialty surgeries, round-the-clock-veterinary care, and transports to and from Manhattan for regular checkups are all still part of his normal routine at this point, and are very costly. We provide individualized care for hundreds of animals each day, some in need of lifesaving care just like Trey, so we continue to need the support of our generous donors so we can be there for them when they need it most. Please donate today and change the life of a homeless animal in need of saving.