Where did he come from? No one really knows. A “Good Samaritan” found him on April 8th and brought him to an emergency hospital. He’s been run over by a car. He can’t walk because both of his back legs are broken. There’s a bone showing. He’s ten months old, maybe. Gray tabby. Not neutered. No microchip.
He makes friends easily. He’s helpless and kind of pitiful in a strangely irresistible way. He never complains. He just purrs and purrs and purrs. He’s just a little kitty purr machine.
He makes friends at the emergency hospital, and they treat his pain, give him a dose of ultra-long-acting antibiotic, and bandage his wound, but they are required to turn him over to the local animal control agency. It’s the law and it makes sense: How else could his owner ever find him?
But no one is looking for him, apparently, so he sits a few days in a cage until he’s placed on the euthanasia list. And that makes sense too. His injuries are serious and require extensive treatment, but he’s a homeless kitty and there is no one to take care of him. He can’t just sit there. Still, he purrs and purrs and purrs.
Word reaches the Nine Lives Foundation in Redwood City. He’s so sweet. He purrs and purrs and purrs, and they just have to try to save him. Nine Lives volunteers pull him out of the animal control facility (in the nick of time). They present him to their veterinarian, who x-rays him. (Finally! Something more than bare minimum care!) It’s April 12th.
But he’s a mess. His right tibia is fractured into four pieces. His left femur is fractured just below the hip joint. To make matters worse, they remove his bandage to discover that the tibial fracture is an OPEN fracture. The bone has been wrapped, but exposed to the elements for FOUR days. This is not good, but he purrs and purrs and purrs.
For some reason, the volunteers name him D’Artagnan. (No, I really have no idea. He’s not French, he’s not a Musketeer, and he’s not a member of a group of three. Go figure).
That tibial fracture is a big, big problem. Usually, a fracture of this nature would be repaired with metal implants, but an open fracture makes this extremely dangerous. The femoral neck fracture is usually repaired by surgical removal of the femoral head (the ball part of the ball-and-socket joint) called a Femoral Head Ostectomy or FHO). D’Artagnan is looking at not one, but two pricey orthopedic surgeries, and this at Silicon Valley rates. Amputation is a much more affordable option - but he’ll still need an FHO surgery. The Nine Lives veterinarian closes the wound over his fracture, and the volunteers start looking for donations. They need all the help they can get. Meanwhile, D’Artagnan purrs and purrs and purrs.
It just so happens that one of the Nine Lives volunteers is a woman named Margo, who happens to be an old High School friend of mine. She contacts Barb and me to see if we can help. We’ve helped Nine Lives Foundation in the past, and agree to take a look. The FHO is something we can easily handle. Before you know it, D’Artagnan is staying with us in Bodega Bay. It’s April 15th. He purrs and purrs and purrs.
Now it’s been a week since D’Artagnan was injured. Once he’s settled in, we anesthetize him to replace his bandage. As we feared, his tibial fracture is infected. The ultra-long acting antibiotic injection he was given is convenient, but has a limited spectrum of activity and is simply inadequate for treatment of an open fracture. We pack the wound with antibiotic, start D’Artagnan on a broad spectrum combination of two powerful drugs… and (you knew it) he purrs and purrs and purrs.
It’s a bad idea to perform any orthopedic surgery on an actively infected patient, so D’Artagnan will have to wait a few more days before his FHO surgery. We’ll get that done, but will have to wait and see how he responds to the new antibiotic therapy. It would be nice to save his leg, but there’s really no way to know how things will turn out. Only one thing seems certain: He’s going to purr and purr and purr. Stay tuned.
Would you like to help D’Artagnan? Visit http://www.ninelivesfoundation.org and click “Donate”.