Bravery Award May 2023

by | May 29, 2023

Meet Harry, the extraordinary 11 year old tabby cat, who has faced a series of health challenges with unwavering courage. Harry’s health troubles began when he was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in 2022, a condition caused by an overactive thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism in cats can lead to weight loss, increased appetite, excessive thirst, and hyperactivity. To combat this condition, Harry received Radioactive Iodine treatment at our Narre Warren clinic.  Radioactive Iodine treatment is a highly effective and safe procedure that selectively targets and destroys the abnormal thyroid tissue while preserving the healthy tissue.  Though the confinement in the clinic for a long period of time can be stressful to both owners and their cats, it does eliminate the need for lifelong, daily medication to treat this terrible disease.

Despite successfully overcoming hyperthyroidism, Harry’s life (and luck) took an unexpected turn a few weeks ago when he encountered a possum and found himself involved in a scuffle. Unfortunately, his right hind leg bore the brunt of the encounter, resulting in a significant injury. Concerned that he wasn’t able to bear any weight on his leg whatsoever, Harry’s owner promptly brought him down to the team at Berwick for assessment.

Harry’s injury was initially managed with a course of antibiotics and pain relief medication. However, even after ten days, his condition did not show much improvement and he was still unable to put any weight on his leg. Recognizing the need for further investigation, Dr. Alix recommended radiographs to assess the extent of his injury.  These revealed a distressing finding—a hyperextension of the right proximal tarsal joint (Harry’s ankle), indicating severe damage to the ligaments and bones in the area. Unfortunately for Harry and his family, there were only two options; an expensive arthrodesis surgery at a specialist centre to repair and stabilise his leg and foot, or, an amputation.

Faced with this difficult choice, Harry’s owner carefully considered the available options, weighing the financial implications and the potential impact on Harry’s quality of life. While the prospect of amputation was undoubtedly daunting, it offered the chance for Harry to lead a pain-free and mobile life once again. Ultimately, Harry’s family elected to proceed with amputation, and Dr. Isabelle performed the surgery a few days later with great success.

Harry’s remarkable resilience and adaptability became evident since returning home from his major operation. Despite losing a limb, he has rediscovered his zest for life and returned to his playful, affectionate self, with the wonderful supportive care of his loving family.

Harry’s story is a testament to the strength of the human-animal bond and the remarkable resilience of our animal companions. From battling hyperthyroidism to surviving a fight with a possum and undergoing a life-changing amputation surgery, Harry has demonstrated incredible courage and determination and is a truly worthy recipient of our Bravery Award this month.  We are so happy that Harry is doing so well at home and hope that he keeps well away from the next possum he meets!

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