Shelley Jenkins and her family waited with bated breath for their cat Dora’s final litter of kittens to arrive. As hobby breeders of ‘Bigglesworth’ British Shorthair cats, their ‘queens’ only have a few litters before luxurious retirement. Knowing that Dora was only carrying one or two kittens, they were very excited, but were horrified when the first one arrived with a major strangulated umbilical hernia.
A quick check with other breeders, via Facebook, revealed that kittens born this way are put to sleep, so they phoned Clockhouse Vets in Stroud and, while Shelley waited for the other kitten to be born, her partner took the first one to be euthanised. Pablo Garrido, Veterinary Surgeon and Director of Clockhouse, met them there and, struck by how much life there was in the kitten, suggested corrective surgery.
“An umbilical hernia is a condition in which abdominal contents (fat, intestines, etc.) protrude past the abdominal wall where the umbilical cord was attached, giving an ‘inside out’ appearance. The intestines were very red due to circulation blockage, so the operation was time critical as parts of the intestine would have started to die off if we didn’t work fast,” said Pablo.
Shelley said: “She was so small, only half an hour old and hadn’t had any of her mother’s milk, so was highly susceptible to infection and I was torn about what to do. Then I found out it was Pablo who’d be doing the operation. I trust Pablo completely, so when he said she was a fighter and it was worth a shot, I said yes. I’ve since found out that only one other breeder in the country has had a kitten treated for this.”
The operation was a complete success and Paula looks just like any other healthy British Shorthair kitten. Her very healthy appetite has taken her from her 90gram birth weight to a healthy 132grams within a few days, earning her the nickname ‘guts’, but her pedigree name is ‘Bigglesworth Pablo’s Miracle’. When Paula is ready, she’ll take up residence in Plymouth, with a friend of Shelley’s, so they’ll be able to visit her.