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San Diego Vet Revives Miracle Kitten

Bliss the kitten needed surgery to save his life and nearly died during the operation.


For animal workers and veterinarians at the Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) in San Diego, rescuing dogs, cats and other animals can be filled with joy, heartbreak and sometimes both.

It was a little of both for an orphaned male kitten, Bliss, who was barely over a pound when he was brought in along with his two siblings at the end of 2016. 

The siblings quickly responded to the 24-hour care they received from HWAC veterinary technicians, but Bliss languished, trying to eat but not putting on any weight.

A physical exam revealed that Bliss had a digestive problem requiring surgery that was risky for an animal of his young age, weight and weakened condition.

“We knew it would be a difficult procedure for him, but survival would have been impossible without it, so we did what was necessary,” said Amanda Kloss, animal health manager, HWAC, part of the team that treated Bliss.

Everything seemed lost as the tiny kitten’s heart stopped during the operation.

Stephanie Oba, DVM, who performed the surgery, refused to give up; she warmed Bliss up and revived him.

“His name suits him,” said Ed Farrelly, animal services director, HWAC. “He’s a very happy kitten. It’s as though he knows he got a second chance, and you can tell he’s ready to take on the world.”

Bliss more than doubled in weight just a few days removed from the operating table.

“He had been trying to eat before, so once [the surgery team] squared him away, all he did was eat, eat, eat,” said Jessica Gercke, communications director, HWAC.

And of all days, Bliss was adopted on Friday, Jan. 13.

Helen Woodward Animal Center is a nonprofit, no-kill animal rescue with its own companion animal hospital.

Originally published in the March 2017 issue of Veterinary Practice News. Did you enjoy this article? Then subscribe today! 

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