A Windsor woman who adopted an injured kitten from the United States says she’s ‘cautiously optimistic’ Cher will walk again.
However, after visiting an orthopedic veterinarian, surgery doesn’t appear to be an option.
Leesa White, the owner of Our Mother’s Keepers in Windsor and a long-time rescuer of abused, neglected and abandoned animals, saw a posting about Cher online earlier this year and was heart-broken by the kitten’s story. Cher had been bitten by a dog when she was about two months old and lost the ability to use her hind legs.
Cher arrived in Nova Scotia from Louisiana on April 5, and White began working to rehabilitate the friendly feline. She noticed Cher, who drags her hind legs, seemed to have some response to physiotherapy. Every day, she seemed to have more response.
White brought Cher to an orthopedic vet at the beginning of May and the vet agreed that Cher has intentional movement in her hind legs and tail.
“The specialist also repeatedly tested Cher's pain response in her rear legs and Cher did exhibit a consistent pain response in her rear legs which, in addition to the intentional movement in her legs and tail, means that Cher does have feeling in her legs and her major nerves are intact,” White wrote on Facebook, explaining the results of Cher’s tests to her legion of fans.
It was determined that while there is a slight rotation of Cher’s lower spine, it is not inhibiting her mobility. If it was spinal compression, White said the vet could attempt surgery. Since it’s not, surgery isn’t an option.
White said Cher does have some nerve damage — smaller nerves located higher up along her spine — but, in time, she was told those may heal.
“The good news is that the smaller nerves have a much greater chance of healing and repair than damage to the major nerves would have,” White wrote.
She said that Cher is also suffering from neurogenic muscle atrophy.
“It does not mean that Cher cannot ever walk again, it simply means that it will be a much longer and more labour-intensive process involving a lot of physiotherapy to keep the muscles moving and encouraging the healing of those smaller nerves,” said White.
White has been helping Cher with physio, massage, and resistance therapy. She's also planning to begin acupuncture treatments in June.
“Although there is no magic fix that the orthopedic vet can perform surgically, we can be cautiously optimistic that Cher will continue to show improvement and it is likely she will be able to walk again.”
Chariots for Cher is an ongoing fundraiser to help fund treatment for the kitten. While she may need to purchase a wheelie cart if physiotherapy isn’t successful, White is encouraged by the progress she’s seen in the few short months she’s been working with Cher.
How to help
In person: Our Mother’s Keepers, 74 Gerrish St., Windsor
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