“It Took a Village”: ASPCA Surgeons Repair Four-Month-Old Kitten’s Broken Legs

November 28, 2016


If it’s true that cats have nine lives, then Squeakers, a four-lb., four-month-old tabby kitten, is a testament to that resilience.

Squeakers arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital in Manhattan on October 20 as a transfer from Animal Care Centers of New York’s Manhattan shelter. Unable to walk or stand, Squeakers had been relinquished to ACC after presumably falling from a high rise.

X-rays soon revealed multiple limb trauma, including bi-lateral fractures of the tibia and fibula (the two bones that comprise the lower rear legs), and a fracture of the right femur, or thigh bone.

“She was a pretty sad little creature,” says Dr. J’mai Gayle, the ASPCA Animal Hospital’s Director of Surgery, who that afternoon had already repaired four fractures in two dogs and a cat.

Working with a team of animal and veterinary technicians including Jennifer Doyle, Anya Hayes, Michaelene Albert, Gregory Moran, Amanda Della Cerra, Norman Salters, and intern Rachel Warnes, as well as a host of recovery, intensive care and radiology technicians and assistants, Dr. Gayle surgically repaired Squeakers’ broken bones with pins, plates, screws and wire. 

Squeakers broken legs

An X-Ray shows the hardware in Squeakers’ legs after repair.

“A dozen people had their hands on her in some capacity,” says Dr. Gayle. “It really took a village.”

Just under two hours after they’d begun the operation, Squeakers was in recovery.

While fractures in an immature animal can result in developmental abnormalities of the leg, Squeakers’ growth plates were undamaged, and Dr. Gayle is confident she’ll be able to lead a normal life.

“Bone has a capacity to remodel over time, and apart from our hardware, it would be hard to tell she ever had fractures,” she says.

Squeakers was prescribed eight weeks of rest, after which her progress will be assessed with further X-rays.

Squeakers with a hospital worker

So far this year, more than 250 surgical repairs have been performed at the ASPCA Animal Hospital. Mending broken animals so they have a chance at adoption is one of the many ways the ASPCA works to ensure positive outcomes for animals.

As for Squeakers, she may still have a few lives left according to myth, but with recovery and the right eventual adopters, it’s a safe bet she’ll settle for one.

Squeakers resting