Meet Maverick. Maverick came into me with a batch of three newborn kitten that had been found in a dumpster at Carnival City about three months ago. He was always smaller than his brothers, but I assumed that was because he was the runt of the litter. As soon as he was weaned off the bottle, however, I started noticing that he strained whenever he tried to poo. I quickly realised he could not poo at all. His bum was distended to the size of a R5 coin. We took him to see two different vets but sadly his condition was not just a bout of constipation. His life was in real danger. The vets both agreed that an operation is Maverick’s only option, or we are going to lose him. We have his medical report and his xrays if anyone wants to see them.
Maverick has been diagnosed with a congenital defect known as atresia ani. Atresia ani is an abnormality in which the lower gastrointestinal tract is malformed, essentially making it impossible for Maverick to pass stool. His condition also causes him to be abnormally small - which explains his stunted growth. Maverick’s brothers weighed around 900 grams at the time of their adoptions, but he still weighs only 350gms. Without treatment, he has no chance of survival. Zero. As it stands, I am manually pooing him three times a day, and literally cry every time I have to do it because I can see the pain he is in. My heart breaks for him.
We have been in discussions with Fourways vet who have been identified as the leading choice for this operation. Most kittens with atresia ani would simply die without ever being diagnosed, and those who are diagnosed would generally be recommended for euthanasia. However, for me this is not an option. I want to help save his life.
Maverick needs a procedure to expand his rectum. It involves inserting a balloon into his rectum, and very slowly inflating it with a syringe to expand it to a normal size. The procedure is called ‘balloon dilation’ and he’ll need a few of them. According to online reports I’ve read, it can take three or more ‘balloon dilation’ procedures before the process works. Even then, there are risks involved.
Afterwards, he will likely need a more intensive surgery to release the stricture and permanently fix his rectum, but that is a bridge we will cross when the time comes. In the meanwhile, we are focussing on raising money to pay for the first stage of his treatment. It is expensive – I know this – but they say it takes a village to raise a child – and I believe that we can all help Maverick by spreading the word, sharing, and donating towards this operation. I am in discussions to try and get a better rate, but we are looking at thousands of rands to do this. It seems impossible, but I know it isn’t. It just takes a little bit of work. Please, please, please, if you are in a position to assist, a fund has been set up specifically for Maverick. We are aiming to do this operation in July. We cannot wait any longer, or we are going to lose him. So we have three weeks to get there.