Guest Post: Stanley’s fighting recovery

This winter has been a terrible one here at the sanctuary, and we have had quite a few losses, which has been extremely emotional for Anette and I, just when we think that we are over the bad patch, something else comes along.

But, even through all of this, we have managed to save dear little Stanley from the brink a few times, I have decided to tell his story, because he has touched the hearts of so many.

Stanley was rescued by Anette when she was on her way to the bank on 27 June – a very cold, wet and miserable day.  Stanley had been screaming his little lungs out and everyone had just ignored his pleas for help.  After we got him warmed up, we noticed that his breathing was extremely bad, and getting worse, so we rushed him off to our vets.  He was too skinny and weak for them to do an x-ray, but it was thought that poor Stan may have been kicked, causing some bruising on the lungs, he was admitted and steroid and anti-biotic treatment started in the hopes of getting his breathing sterilised.  He quickly went downhill, and the decision was made to take a chance and do the x-ray, our worst fears were confirmed – poor little Stanley had a terrible diaphragmatic hernia, his liver had pushed right through into the abdominal cavity, pushing the lungs, heart, oesophagus, trachea into his spinal column.

Pre op x-ray

Pre op x-ray

The vets were extremely worried to do the surgery because little Stan was so unstable, but they finally decided that the surgery would be set for 4 July, and it would be performed by Dr Swarts, whom I had all the faith in. This is when all the sponsors stepped in, donations came from everywhere, there were even people that did not even know the whole story that decided to donate, prayers and well wishes were plentiful, but even through this, the morning of the 4th, I had a HUGE knot in my stomach, I just kept sending him messages to keep breathing.  At 1pm, I got the call from Dr Swarts, saying that the surgery was a success, and that he is busy waking up.  He said that there would be a 5 percent chance of post op infections.  He also gave me the run-down of everything that could go wrong, and that he is not out of the woods yet.  Well, at that point, I honestly didn’t care, in my mind he had gone through the worst and if he could survive the surgery that in all honestly, he shouldn’t have survived, then he would make it.

Post op x-ray

Post op x-ray


Stanley came home the day after surgery (the vet was confident with my ability to care for him), he was still not eating, and looked very sorry for himself.  I must admit that I lacked the patience that he would still be down after surgery, after all – if a human went through this surgery, they would probably be in ICU for a few days, I just expected him to be fine after I was force feeding him with Hills a/d, that was sponsored by Hills Pet Nutrition to keep his strength up because he was not eating on his own.  Eventually I decided to give poor Stan a break to heal, but about 4 days after the surgery, I saw a change in his breathing, he was hospitalised again for observation.  It was suspected that Stan had developed Interstitial Pneumonia, but it could not be confirmed because the pneumonia was still in the early phase.  The thing with interstitial pneumonia is that it is hard to diagnose, because the lungs seem completely clear. It was decided that I would take him home to continue force feeding through the night. That night he started gasping for air, and we rushed him through to the emergency vet, he was placed on oxygen for the night.  It was a terrible experience, knowing that there was nothing we could do to help him, we didn’t even know if he would make it through the night to be transported to our vets.

Anette drove through the next morning, and collected Stanley – thankfully he was still alive!  He was handed over to our capable vets and put back onto oxygen.  Then they started the treatment to try and pull little Stanley through, not only had Stan developed the interstitial pneumonia, but also snuffles on top of everything, his breathing was severely compromised.  Eventually, a treatment plan was found that he responded to, and he was released back into my care.

Stan finally started eating a little on his own and we supplement fed him, he started grooming himself, but was not playing yet.  One more anti-biotic was added, and voila! On 17 July, Stanley started running around and playing, he was eating up a storm and seemed to be enjoying life for the first time.  We would now have to teach him to play properly because he had missed out during the prime socialisation period.  On 19 July we took him for a check-up and he had gained a whopping 200g from when the vets saw him three days before when he was discharged, he was weighed again on 22 July, and had gained another 240g since the last weigh in!

On 22 July, Dr Swarts finally felt that is was time to confirm that the surgery was a success, and that Stanley would survive – those words were like music to my ears, I was a proud mommy with a bubbling heart at that moment!  My dear boy had made it!!!

Without the support we received, Stanley would have never survived, we would like to thank the following people, I have not named in all cases, but I think I called everyone that donated (please accept my apologies if I did not call to say thank you)

Dr Swarts, Dr Morris, Dr Mangera, Jean, Sandy, Natasha, Entebeni and Michael of Brighton Beach Veterinary Clinic

All the people that donated funds toward Stanleys surgery as well as post op care – EVERYTHING was covered, thank you

Kay, from Hills Pet Nutrition for the donation of Hills a/d food for Stan’s syringe feeding

All the prayer chains and well wishers, as well as the visitors that Stan received when he went to work with me

My friends and support system on Facebook who was standing on the sidelines cheering for me and Stan all the way!

And finally, Anette, my dear mom, who seldom gets recognition for the hard work that she does at the sanctuary, I love you!

YOU ALL saved Stanley, he is a happy boy, thanks to you!

post op image

post op image

post op image

post op image

Post op Picture courtesy of John Govender, 18 July 2013

Post op Picture courtesy of John Govender, 18 July 2013

About the author: Cherece is the co-founder of Second Chance Sanctuary in Durban. She is dedicated to the care of the sanctuary cats. The resident cats have been rescued from severe abuse, abandonment, trauma, neglect and other horrific acts inflicted by humans. Many of these cats are special need cases, have physical defects and are terminally ill.

Second Chance totally rely on donations, book sales and a virtual adoption program to keep the sanctuary running. Due to the extreme situations these cats came from they need constant specialised treatment, veterinary care and high quality food to keep their weak immune systems going. The sanctuary also relies on volunteers for their work in fostering homeless animals until they can be adopted into their forever homes.


Second Chance in the Mercury 29/07/2013

Second Chance in the Mercury 29/07/2013



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About Di

Di believes that the most important and most fulfilling “job” she has is being a mom of two. She is an author and animal communicator. Her greatest passion is animals and their welfare. She enjoys writing about animals and topics to help others with their spiritual growth.

Posted on July 29, 2013, in Animal Welfare, For Cat Lovers, Guest Writer and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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