Sierra Beats The Odds
Sierra presented with a distended, or bloated, abdomen on a Friday night at feeding time.
Even though she was still eating and her behavior was relatively normal, we began conversing with our veterinarian about possible causes.
You know what they say - better safe than sorry.
Big cats are very stoic so they often don't behave as if something is wrong until they are very, very ill.
A distended abdomen could be anything from tumors to infection so we wanted to proceed with an aggressive treatment plan.
The next day we began work to load Sierra into a transport and move her to our veterinary clinic for an exam. Sierra was scheduled to be spayed this spring anyway so even if nothing or something minor was wrong we could move forward with that procedure - just a little earlier than planned. Lucky for us the moment we opened the roll cage door Sierra walked right in. It was to her benefit to load herself without anesthesia, because it would decrease the length of time she would be asleep.
When we arrived at the clinic we darted her and prepped her for surgery. It didn't take long to discover that Sierra had a uterine infection, known as pyometra, and performing an emergency spay was her only chance at recovering. The procedure was lengthy and complicated, because removing an enlarged uterus is difficult and tedious work. Five hours later we were finally ready to reverse the anesthesia and take Sierra home. Due to Sierra's old age and the tough recovery ahead, her prognosis for survival was guarded at best.
Once we returned to the sanctuary, the hard work of recovery began. Sierra had a 14" incision on her abdomen and was prescribed 41 pills per day that would be administered around the clock. One of our staff members would be with her 24 hours per day for the first 5 days of her recovery monitoring and recording her progress. (We're so lucky to have an amazing team of flexible, dedicated staff and vets that will put their life on hold to provide the best possible care for our animals.)
The first day of recovery Sierra was not ready to eat, which meant we could not administer her antibiotics orally. As a result, we had to dart her in order to ensure she got the necessary medication. But by day two Sierra was eating and chuffing once again. Whew, what a relief! Every day thereafter Sierra continued to improve, and soon she will be ready to move out of our special care barn and back to the sanctuary life she knows and loves!
Thank you so much for making life-saving treatment like this possible! It's only through your support that we can continue to rescue animals and ensure their every need is meet for the rest of their lives!