St. Francis Fund Helping Cats in Need

Author: Lora Schuldt, DVM

November 19, 2018


The Cats Exclusive Team and St. Francis Fund Respond to an Unusual Emergency

Earlier this summer, one of our regular patients, Seamus, came in to have Dr. Stern evaluate his symptoms. Normally Seamus was a cheerful and easy-going fluffy grey chap of a kitty. This morning he was depressed, dehydrated, uncomfortable, and nauseated. The diagnosis was not clear, and lab tests were performed to help identify the cause of his symptoms, and he received fluids and medications to help him feel better.

The next day, Dr. Elliott saw that Seamus's tests indicated possible kidney failure, and he was quickly checked into our hospital to attempt to stabilize his condition. Seamus looked sad in our Intensive Care Unit, drooling and hanging his head. Intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medications, hand-feeding, and pain relievers were administered. His owner was asked about exposure to common household toxins that can cause kidney failures, such as NSAIDs, anti-freeze, or lilies. It didn't seem possible that he had eaten any of those things, although two of Seamus's favorite foods were mayonnaise and butter!


Dr. Mattick tended to Seamus's medical care on the 4th of July holiday. Although we were closed for appointments, his treatments continued in our ICU, with efforts to improve his kidney parameters as the primary focus. He remained uncomfortable, and his tests were not improving, so an abdominal ultrasound was planned for the following morning to determine why he remained so ill.

During the ultrasound scan, the radiologist had a surprising finding: Seamus's small intestine had a blockage and he needed surgery right away. The prognosis for his kidney failure was unknown, and it was a difficult decision to proceed with surgery under such conditions. However, Seamus's owner was committed to giving him every chance to recover. Seamus came to him as a rescue kitty, and he has been his "little buddy" ever since.

Our hospital was bustling that day after a holiday, and the excitement escalated when Dr. Fligiel (Seamus's regular doctor) was sent to the human emergency room with a cat bite injury. Since Dr. Fligiel was unavailable, Dr. Mahoney was able to step in and take over, which included performing Seamus's surgery. After making a long abdominal incision, she quickly located the obstructed intestine and cut it open to remove the object: an almond. Seamus must have swallowed it days ago, but no one knew. (The owner later recalled a dinner party weeks before where a guest brought nuts.)

Later that night, after surgery, Seamus began breathing rapidly. Dr. Schuldt, who was supervising his post-operative care, became concerned and coordinated evening care for him at a referral center that could work to support his respiratory system if he worsened overnight. By the next morning, his condition had stabilized and Seamus spent the next 4 days recovering back at Cats Exclusive with his owner visiting regularly. His kidney parameters began to improve, his abdominal pain was gone, and his appetite returned. (No matter how long one has been working with cats, seeing a sick patient start eating is the best!) He recovered at home and he has been his normal nutty self ever since!

The medical expenses associated with Seamus's care were tremendous and would stretch any pet owner's budget. The St. Francis Fund, supported by cat-loving clients and staff of Cats Exclusive, was able to provide financial assistance to Seamus's family to ease a bit of the strain. We are grateful that the contributions made to the fund can make a difference to cats in need at our hospital, and that the fund has also facilitated successful medical care and re-homing of some very special kitties.

We so appreciate our compassionate clients and the efforts they make to care for their own cats and those of others!