From Death’s Doorstep to a Brand New Fur-ever Home
Lawrence, KS — August 21st, 2019 — Meet Bernard. He’s a three-month-old domestic shorthair kitten. He’s happy, fun-loving and a ball of energy!
But earlier this summer, the picture wasn’t so bright for Bernard.
On July 5th, Bernard was brought to the Lawrence Humane Society as a stray. The man who carried Bernard inside said he found him hurt, lost and alone outdoors. The kitten’s condition alarmed our intake team, so they rushed Bernard to our new medical clinic.
Nearly Bernard’s entire abdomen was exposed with nasty skin wounds. The wounds were open and deep with the kitten’s skin dying and falling away. Making matters worse, the wounds on poor Bernard were infested with maggots and fly eggs. And if that weren’t bad enough, one of baby cat’s front legs was tearing away from his body, having suffered an avulsion.
According to one of Lawrence Humane Society’s talented veterinarians, Dr. Jennifer Stone, it appeared as though Bernard, only two months old, wasn’t long for this world.
“Bernard could not have lived much longer with the problems that he had,” Dr. Stone said. “Most likely not more than a few days to maybe a week.”
But that’s when Dr. Stone leaped into action — she wasn’t ready to give up on young Bernard.
“When I started out as a veterinarian, I probably would have unfortunately euthanized Bernard for the severity of his injury and the massive loss of tissue in the area,” Dr. Stone said. “I have done so much wound management over the years and have learned so many tricks to get wounds to heal that my perspective has changed on that. As long as the rest of the body is healthy and can heal, I think that almost any wound can be treated. Bernard also had a good little spirit. I felt that he really wanted to stick around and that’s important too.”
The LHS medical team immediately flushed as many of the maggots as they could out from the gashes covering Bernard’s abdomen. Dr. Stone then utilized a unique method, applying a sugar bandage to the area.
“Sugar is naturally anti-bacterial when poured into a wound,” Dr. Stone explained. “It also promotes the creation of a granulation bed which consists of cells that multiply and fill in the wound. A sugar bandage works better than anything I have ever used for stopping infection and promoting healing. Raw honey will do the same thing, but it is messy to use on animals.”
Given the difficult location of the wounds, Dr. Stone and the medical team gave Bernard a special kind of bandage, known as a tie over bandage, that carefully attached to the kitten’s skin. The team had to change the tie over bandage daily.
Every day, for weeks, this brave cat was sedated to protect him from the painful process of cleaning the wound and replacing the bandage. The once maggot-infested wounds gradually healed, providing the first glimpse Bernard could escape this ordeal with his life intact. In fact, the impacted area eventually healed to the point where Dr. Stone was able to close the gashes surgically.
The medical team, other LHS staff and volunteers kept a keen eye on Bernard’s condition. They watched as the healing continued, and his mood lifted. And then, on August 13th, about five and a half weeks after Bernard was brought in as a stray with almost his entire abdomen open and filled with maggots, Bernard had his stitches removed!
“Bernard was very thin, debilitated and understandably rather subdued when he originally came in,” Dr. Stone said. “But he had a good little spirit and was a very good patient. After he started feeling better…he was asking to come out and socialize at any and every opportunity mostly just wanting to be held and loved all the time. He got pretty spoiled by the clinic staff and volunteers.”
The team continued keeping a watchful eye on Bernard, monitoring his progress. And then the decision was made, this awe-inspiring kitten would be ready for adoption on August 17th, Clear the Shelter Day.
Just a month and a half removed from almost certain death, the now three-month-old Bernard was one of the first cats adopted at the annual event!
From found dying as a stray all the way to his new forever family, Bernard’s journey brought tears and smiles to everyone at the Lawrence Humane Society.
Bernard walks with a slight limp from the traumatic injury he suffered to his front leg, a limp Dr. Stone predicts will likely follow him for the rest of his life. But Bernard is walking tall, running fast, playing hard, and loving and living strong, in the arms of his new family, tucked nicely away in the comfort of his new home.
If you would like to help save the lives of more cats like Bernard, please consider making a contribution to the Lawrence Humane Society today. We’ve made the process easy for you, simply click the button below.