By Compassion Animal Project volunteer, Michelle S.
Whenever Casper’s owner, Dani, is cooking, 3-year-old Casper will meow at her until she picks him up. He is a vocal cat with an opinion to share, but one night instead of talking, he started yowling and refusing to play. Dani knew something was seriously wrong, but it was closing time at her veterinarian’s office. She put Casper into the carrier and quickly drove to the emergency clinic, Veterinary Referral Associates in Gaithersburg, MD. Once there, Casper’s cries signaled to the staff the severity of his illness and instead of the posted three hour wait, Casper was brought right in for treatment. The veterinarian diagnosed a complete blockage in his urinary tract. Casper would need emergency surgery. It would be expensive but there was no doubt that Casper was worth it. Dani needed to use two credit cards in order to pay for the ensuing surgery.
Once home from the surgery, Casper was cuddly and happy to be reunited with his brother. However, within three days, Dani found him hiding under the bed, unable to be coaxed out. “I had this mother’s feeling of something that is wrong in your chest. I’ve never felt that feeling before but I was holding him after giving him his medicine. I just got the feeling you need to go back to the vet. Take him now, don't wait until tomorrow. There was this feeling of he’s going to die if I don’t take him,” Dani explained. She rushed Casper back to the emergency clinic and explained that his behavior wasn’t normal.
After an examination, the vet confirmed that his urinary tract was again blocked, and that surgery was necessary. However, the vet recommended that a Perineal Urethrostomy (PU) be performed otherwise the blockage would likely reappear. The urethra (the tube through which urine flows) narrows as it enters the penis and a Perineal Urethrostomy “decreases the length of the urethra and allows urine to bypass this narrowed region.”*
“The vet told me how much it cost, and I started crying. If he wasn’t able to get the surgery, she said she would consider euthanasia. That was devastating to consider. His littermate would be devastated, and I’d bonded with him during Covid and getting a divorce. I told him I’d make it be okay and I had to figure something out,” Dani explained.
Dani had no place to turn until the veterinarian spoke with her about her finances and recommended Compassion Animal Project as a means of paying for the needed procedure. Dani was immensely relieved to find a way to keep her promise to Casper to make it all better. Since it was the middle of the night, she had to wait until the next day for her application to be processed. She was able to find the money to pay for an emergency surgery to unblock his urinary tract so that Casper would survive until the PU surgery was funded.
Dani put in her application the next day with the help of a Compassion Animal Project staff member who walked her through the process. Casper was a good candidate for a grant as he was
otherwise healthy, and surgery would fix the problem. Her application was approved within 2 hours and the veterinarian began to stabilize Casper for surgery. The PU procedure was successful, and Casper came home to recuperate using the bathroom as his recovery suite.
Dani said “We bonded a lot through that. I would spend hours cuddling him in the bathroom and grooming him. I was so shocked by how well he recovered. I took one day off work but then I started using my lunch break. It was just enough time to give him his meds, groom him a little bit, and then drive back. I would do that the entire time he was on the medication. The doctors were impressed by how well he had done at his follow-up.”
These days, 4 months post-surgery, Casper has gotten back into his parkour – getting the zoomies and chasing his littermate around. Things are back to normal – with one change - instead of sleeping at Dani’s feet which he did pre-surgery, Casper now sleeps curled against her heart.
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