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Update on Dexter (a.k.a. Peg-Leg)

As you may remember, Dexter came to us through the rescue organization TAILS.  When TAILS rescues strays, they find a vet to examine, neuter and vaccinate them. Afterward, TAILS will either find a home for these kitties if they are friendly enough… or release them back to the wild if they are not considered good candidates to be domestic pets.

Dexter was a trapped “feral” cat, and Aristokatz agreed to perform these initial medical services. The folowing is Dexter’s story.

Sweet Dexter’s painful problem

When we opened Dexter’s carrier, we found a gentle, male, orange, tabby kitten with a severe injury.  A majority of the skin on one of his rear legs had been stripped entirely off! We had no idea how this happened but were determined to help him because of his wonderful temperament. He was so sweet and we wanted him to go to a loving home instead of being released to his original outside environment to survive on his own. Fortunately, we secured a wonderful home for him even before we were sure of his outcome. It was time to fix the leg!

Dexter’s first months of medical care

We had to keep Dexter bandaged at all times unless we were tending to the wound. And because it was very painful for Dexter to have his leg touched, we had to sedate him each time we cleaned the wound and changed his bandage. This happened every three days in the beginning and by about the fourth month, just by keeping the wound clean and having Dexter on antibiotics, the skin grew in by about 40%.  We were thrilled but still had a long road ahead of us.

A more drastic solution was needed.

After that big reduction in the size of his leg injury, the wound started to grow in much more slowly. We needed a plan to help speed things up. I had never performed a skin grapht but decided to teach myself the technique so that we could use Dexter’s own skin to help him. Two surgeries later, during which I removed other healthy pieces of his skin and applied them where the skin was still needed on his leg, Dexter’s leg went from 40% to 80% healed!.

80% healed. 20% left to go.

It seemed that Dexter was getting tired of being sedated each time I had to change his bandage. It was a bit less often but a new problem had arisen. There wasn’t enough “give” in Dexter’s skin so that I could pull the ends together and close the wound. I had to find a way to make his skin loose, so I began making tiny cuts in the areas near the skin edges. While this may sound like stepping backward, I was hoping that the tiny cuts would heal very quickly, and by doing so, give me more relaxed skin to use on each side. It worked!! Two of these skin-cutting procedures finally allowed me to completely close his wound.  

Going Home!

Dexter’s owners, Dexter and I were thrilled that this huge undertaking was finally over!!  (especially Dexter) My only concern was that because Dexter had been unable to use the muscles on the damaged leg for almost a year during all these surgeries, that he may have a difficult time regaining strength and mobility.

I shouldn’t have worried because if you could see Dexter now, you would find him absolutely no worse for wear!  His new parents report that he is truly making up for lost time and having a ball!!

We couldn’t be more excited about this happy ending to what could have been a devastating tragedy had Dexter not been rescued by TAILS. We are so grateful to this organization for providing such an important and generous service for so many stray kitties!

PS: Dexter now has a brother name Severus (from Harry Potter’s character Severus Snape). The two kitties adore each other. How is that for happily ever after! (See the video at the top of this page.)

Adoption makes everyone’s life richer!

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