This feels like a real gut punch, especially after a South Carolina veterinarian’s heroic efforts to save Juliet, the cat who had 38 hair ties removed from her stomach and died after her health seemed to improve.
Elliot, you’ll recall, was the poor, sweet stray who was found literally frozen to the concrete on the day after Christmas, when the country was in a deep chill the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades, with temperatures plunging well into the negative. A Good Samaritan found the little guy in a bad way, with his eyes frozen shut and his organs shutting down, but she turned up her truck’s heat and rushed him to Big Lake Community Animal Clinic in Muskegon, Michigan, where the staff took good care of him and named him after the storm he was found in.
They wrapped little Elliot up in warm blankets, gave him fluids and began to slowly raise his body temperature, which was a dangerous 94 degrees. Things started to look up, too: Elliot had a habit of reaching his paw out to the vet techs who were monitoring him, began to regain his appetite, and eventually was able to stand and eat on his own.
But Elliot’s health took a turn for the worse again, and veterinarians determined he developed a saddle thrombosis, which is described as “a blood clot (called a “thrombus”) that lodges at the base of the aorta just as it branches into two distinct arteries, thereby obstructing blood flow to the hind limbs. It is so named because of the saddle-like shape it roughly resembles once it takes up residence in this location.”
For cats who develop a saddle thrombosis, the outlook is not good, and drugs designed to dissolve blood clots are often ineffective.
“Sadly, there was nothing we could have done to prepare for that but we knew it was time to let him be free from the pain and struggle he’s known most of his life,” Big Lake’s staff wrote to supporters.
A staffer named Diane Neas, who took Elliot into her home after a few days when he’d stabilized, was particularly hard hit by the loss, and understandably so. Well-wishes and applications to adopt Elliot had come pouring in, and it seemed like the former stray’s suffering would lead to the best reward — a warm home of his own and people to love and care for him.
“We find peace in knowing the last two weeks of his life were spent with people who showed him kindness, care and love,” shelter staff wrote. “We can’t believe the following and support he has gained on this journey to healing; from the bottom of our hearts, thank you all for caring so deeply for him and sending such love and support his way.”
Images courtesy of Big Lake Community Animal Clinic