At first glance, the Tortie named Sabrina—from a South Carolina rescue—seemed like any other eight-month-old kitten. Then one of our veterinarians noticed she was having a difficult time breathing. He immediately thought it might be a lung issue and ordered an x-ray to investigate further.
“It appears that Sabrina has a diaphragmatic hernia. There’s a hole in the diaphragm, possibly she was born with it or resulting from a trauma, and other organs such as her liver and intestines have slipped through it,” said Dr. Gerard Laheney, Senior Veterinarian at our Pet Health Centers. “Her lungs are now being compressed by fluid and her other organs since there is only so much space. This is limiting the oxygen capacity of her lungs.”
Since the function of her lungs was limited, Sabrina had been using her abdomen to try to breathe and she had to breathe more rapidly to try to get more oxygen. It’s better to take bigger breaths to get more oxygen, but she just could not do this. She was at least able to eat and go to the bathroom.
Dr. Laheney immediately set up for a consultation and asked for specialists to review the x-rays. They confirmed what he suspected. Poor Sabrina needed surgery right away. The surgery involved pulling the liver and intestines back into place and stitching up the diaphragm.
Luckily with youth on her side, Sabrina’s surgery went well and she recovered quickly. In fact, she has already gone home to her new family.
“She is the perfect cat. We’ve renamed her Tabitha. She belongs here,” says Willis, Sabrina’s newly adopted human. “From the first day when I let her out of the carrier, she was never afraid. She looked around and sniffed in every room. Then she began running and playing and was completely comfortable.” Sabrina has two human brothers, ages 6 and 13. Willis says that he always knows where to find her—she likes hanging out with the boys in their room. She already has multiple color collars and many toys—he just found another one his wife bought the other day.
Congratulations to all! Sabrina, now known as Tabitha, has healed and found her perfect family.