The comeback kitty
UF treats cat with rock stuck in windpipe
By Sarah Carey
If cats really have nine lives, Cora — who has thus far survived an osprey’s talons after being taken from her mother at 3 weeks of age and a rock fragment lodged in her windpipe — has seven more remaining. Thankfully, at 3 years of age, she’s got plenty of time to live them out.
Jacksonville resident Barbara McMasters, Cora’s owner, said she will be forever indebted to her veterinarian, Moody McCall, D.V.M., at San Pablo Animal Hospital, and specialists at the UF Small Animal Hospital, for giving her cat its most recent reprieve.
McCall referred McMasters to UF Health after she came to his clinic with her cat. Cora showed signs of difficulty breathing and was behaving “as if she was having an asthma attack and was in serious respiratory distress,” McMasters said. In addition, Cora was throwing herself on the ground and collapsing.
“I couldn’t bear to watch her suffer,” McMasters said. “I was so afraid I was going to have to put her down, and I was truly desperate.” Radiographs revealed a foreign body in the trachea — a medical problem McCall knew he couldn’t solve. Only a trained veterinarian with access to a flexible endoscope could attempt treatment, and he knew UF had the tools and the expertise to help Cora.
McCall contacted UF , and McMasters and her daughter, Brittany, drove the cat to Gainesville. Working under the supervision of Andrew Specht, D.V.M., an assistant professor of small animal medicine, Autumn Harris, D.V.M., a small animal medicine resident, removed a life-threatening rock fragment wedged in Cora’s trachea.
Specht said the initial radiographs taken by McCall “made it clear what the problem was, and what we needed to do about it.
“We still couldn’t say exactly what the foreign material was, but we knew it was a foreign object,” he said. “It turned out to be a fragment of rock. The endoscope was used so that we didn’t have to perform surgery.” The endoscope is flexible and can be inserted alongside a small catheter that provides oxygen, he said.
Now, the cat is back to her normal routine, which includes playing with her best friend, the family’s springer spaniel, Daisy.
“Words cannot even begin to express my deepest and most heartfelt appreciation for what (veterinarians) do, but also for the genuine care and compassion shown to Cora and my family before, during and after the surgery, and even after we returned to Jacksonville,” McMasters said.