Everyone loves a feel-good story, and we thought we would share one of our favorite true stories, which happens to involve one of our patients and her loving owner. Frankie Wicker is one lucky kitten, and we were fortunate to be the ones who cared for her after a scary accident that left her hospitalized for more than a week. Grab a blanket and a mug of hot chocolate as we share the story of Frankie and Teagan, her owner.
A heart-wrenching accident
Teagan rushed into our animal emergency hospital holding her tiny, lifeless, 2-month-old kitten, Frankie. Between tears, she hurriedly told us that Frankie had fallen three stories, and had hit a light pole on her way down. Teagan initially thought there was no hope for Frankie, but when she got to her kitten’s side, she could see she was still alive, but obviously badly injured. Cradling her kitten’s broken body, she rushed her to our emergency hospital, hoping she would make it in time.
A guarded prognosis
When our emergency veterinarians examined Frankie, they found her extremely painful, with labored breathing. They carefully performed X-rays, which revealed devastating news—Frankie had fractures in three of her four legs, and multiple rib fractures. Life-saving treatment would include a lengthy hospital stay with fracture stabilization, fluid drainage from her lungs, a feeding tube, intense oxygen therapy, and constant pain control. The estimate to start treatment was thousands of dollars, and we could not guarantee that little Frankie would make it through the first night. The emergency veterinarian presented Teagan with two clear options—hospitalization with intense treatment, or euthanasia.
Our emergency team assumed Frankie’s 18-year-old owner would not be able to afford the expensive care necessary to try to save her kitten’s life, but Teagan’s unstoppable love for her pet proved them wrong. Thanks to help from Teagan’s mom, she was able to sign the estimate and drive directly to her bank for a deposit.
Taking it day-by-day
Frankie’s first few days in our intensive care unit were rough. We performed multiple procedures, placing a feeding tube, draining fluid from her lungs, and stabilizing her fractured legs. When she was not in surgery, we kept her in an oxygen cage to help her breathe more easily. Teagan visited twice a day, every day, staying as long as she could to buoy Frankie’s spirits, and providing loving support every step of the way.
After several days of hospitalization, things started to look up for Frankie. We slowly started to wean her off oxygen so she could acclimate to breathing room air, although she still could not walk or eat on her own. Teagan was a constant presence beside Frankie’s cage, feeding her pet lovingly, and stroking her healing body gently. Our emergency team looked forward to Teagan’s visits almost as much as Frankie.
The turning point
The good news was that Frankie was slowly healing but, sadly, Teagan’s resources were waning. Frankie’s care had climbed to almost $3,000, and Teagan had taken out several bank loans, used her mother’s Care Credit account, and scraped together every possible dollar from her personal funds. But, she had reached her limit, with nowhere else to turn, and the time had come for the dreaded conversation on how to proceed. Teagan knew that humane euthanasia was an option. Our hospital grew silent as veterinarians, technicians, kennel attendants, receptionists, managers, and supervisors all quivered at the thought of sending Teagan home without Frankie.
The answer immediately became clear—this was not an option. We could not stomach the thought of euthanasia, knowing Teagan’s devotion to Frankie and the hopeful $3,000 she had already spent. We have a small donation fund at our hospital, which we decided would best be used to cover the remaining expenses for Frankie’s care. The relief on Teagan’s face when we gave her the news was thanks enough for our gift, and our entire hospital team was reassured that they could continue to care for Frankie.
A happy ending
Frankie stayed with us for two more days, during which she began to eat without a feeding tube, needed less pain medication, and was completely weaned off oxygen. Our entire team worked tirelessly to ensure Frankie was comfortable and, after what seemed like an eternity for Teagan, we cleared the kitten to go home. Frankie would not be able to run and play with her brother for a while, but she was out of the woods and would make a full recovery.
Our animal emergency hospital was honored to be part of Frankie’s recovery, and to help her young, devoted owner. If your pet has an unfortunate accident when your family veterinarian is closed, contact us.