The stories of animal abandonment never end. It was during a rainy day when an employee of Amwell Pet Supply recently noticed a pet carrier sitting by the dumpster at Burger King in Hillsborough.
“Something compelled me to go over to the carrier,” said Judy Burlew. “I fully expected it to be empty, but to my surprise and dismay, it contained two tiny, rain-soaked kittens.”
Judy rushed them over to Amwell Pet Supply. The store has become well-known in the town for hosting weekly cat and kitten adoptions on behalf of CAPIC Cats for which the owner volunteers.
“We cleaned them up, fed them, and gave them a dry and comfortable place to sleep,” said Hope Valenti, owner of Amwell Pet Supply. “We knew the kittens needed medical care, and at our first opportunity, we took them to our local veterinarian, Belle Mead Animal Hospital, for a thorough exam. To our further dismay, the attending veterinarian discovered that cuterebra worm larvae had lodged underneath the skin in their necks and surgery was required. Those kittens surely would have died in that carrier if not found and rescued that day and given the proper care.”
The condition the kittens were suffering from is called cuterebrosis. Mostly seen in late summer and early fall, it starts with a botfly, which is a genus of cuterebra.
Botflies lay eggs on blades of grass or in nests. Once the eggs hatch, they release tiny worms or maggots that crawl onto the skin of animals passing by. Often they attach to rodents and rabbits that live in the wild. However, a passing cat or kitten can become infected, too.
In the case of these abandoned kittens, the cuterebra worms most likely crawled around on the kittens until they found an orifice to enter, such as a small wound on the kitten’s neck area.
The danger is that once larvae migrate through the cat’s tissues, further illness can follow that include respiratory signs, neurological signs or ophthalmic (eye) lesions.
Because these kittens were diagnosed early and provided with the proper medical care, their prognosis is good, and they are out of medical danger.
“A special thanks goes out to Joan Beard, CAPIC volunteer, for the great care she provided these kittens over the past few months,” said Valenti. “With her constant care post-surgery and her daily administration of medications, these kittens survived and will make lovely pets to the right forever home.”
“It is important to protect pets from being outside and make sure they don't have any scratches or wounds that can become a home for cuterebra,” said Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital. “It is equally important to have your veterinarian examine pets that come from the outdoors for possible wounds/cuterebra that are covered by fur or often missed.”
CAPIC (Cat Adoption and Pet Information Center) based in Raritan, New Jersey, is a group of volunteers who specialize in TNR (Trap Neuter Return). They are a 501(c)(3) charity and rely completely on donations to help the animals they rescue and care for.
To donate toward the medical needs of these abandoned kittens and others like them, you can easily use PayPal on the CAPIC website home page. Tax receipts can be provided. Please email email@example.com if you wish to donate items on their wish list.
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