MSPCA in ‘Now or Never’ Bid to Save Cat’s Leg (And Her Life)

If it’s true that cats have nine lives young “Oreo” has barely another to spare after a run-in with a car left her critically injured and in the care of the emergency veterinary staff at the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center in Jamaica Plain, where she is undergoing revolutionary treatment to save her life.

Oreo inspects her surroundings while awaiting surgery at Angell Animal Medical Center (credit MSPCA-Angell)

Oreo arrived at Angell after she was hit by a car on a busy street in Lawrence, Mass. on May 20 and taken to Bulger Veterinary Hospital in North Andover. Her injuries were catastrophic: the accident left her with a mangled front left leg and with most of the skin torn away from her right hind leg, which was also fractured in multiple places.

Oreo’s overwhelmed owners opted to surrender her, and the newly homeless kitty was then sent to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm, which took responsibility for her care. “We probably take 20-25 cats struck by cars every year and I can say that Oreo’s injuries are some of the worst I’ve seen,” said Mike Keiley, director of the Noble Family Animal Care and Adoption Center at Nevins Farm.

Keiley rushed Oreo to the Emergency & Critical Care Unit at Angell where she captured hearts not only for her will to live but her incredibly social and friendly demeanor.

Amputation and “Negative Pressure” Wound Treatment

Dr. Emily Ulfelder of Angell’s surgery department amputated Oreo’s front left leg shortly after her arrival. “The leg was too far gone to be saved, leaving us with no other option,” she said.

Shortly after the amputation Oreo’s right hind leg was fitted with a high-tech plastic wrapping that continuously draws moisture away from open wounds while maintaining a negative pressure that draws blood and white blood cells to the area to facilitate healing.

Oreo’s Next Steps

Oreo is by no means out of the woods but the veterinarians and support staff are doing everything possible to keep her comfortable ahead of follow-up procedures intended to heal her fully. She is set to be operated on again by Angell’s head of surgery—and reconstructive surgery pioneer—Dr. Mike Pavletic.

Dr. Pavletic will perform a delicate skin-graft to re-cover her badly damaged leg.

“There’s essentially no skin remaining on her right hind leg and, without skin, there’s little chance that she can heal,” said Dr. Pavletic, who plans to graft skin from Oreo’s side and back to the affected area. “Once grafted this skin—and the fur that grows out of it—should place her on the path toward a full recovery.”

Dr. Pavletic added that the area on Oreo’s side where the skin is to be harvested will be sutured closed and hair re-growth will mask a small scar. Dr. Ulfelder will assist Dr. Pavletic once Oreo is ready for the grafting procedure in the next week or so.

The MSPCA will announce Oreo’s availability for adoption once her surgeries are behind her and she is on the road to recovery.

A Call for Donations

Oreo’s medical care has already exceeded $4,500 and her follow-on surgery and aftercare will cost another $2,000. Keiley is hoping donors moved by her story will step in to help. “Oreo only has us now and we’re going to do everything in our power to get her well and place her into a new home—and every donation made toward her care, and the care of animals like her, ensures we will always be here for the animals who need us.”

Readers who wish to donate may do so by clicking www.mspca.org/helporeo.