Helping a Very Special Kitten Who Can’t Walk (…YET!)

Helping a Very Special Kitten Who Can’t Walk (…YET!)


[upbeat music] Hello! This is my new foster kitten, Apple. Hey Apple! Apple is a very special kitten because she has a condition called Swimmer Syndrome and you can see her little legs kind of splay out to the side. So instead of her feet going down underneath her body they go out to the side kind of like she’s doing the breast stroke. Look at those cute little legs. Can you get yourself up? It’s a little tricky We’re gonna fix you right up, girlfriend! Look at that. That is not a normal leg position, girl. It’s like, if you’re not holding the legs in that position they splay totally out. She’s three and a half weeks old now and she was still pancaked. So when they’re younger than this you won’t really know if they have this condition. But at this age we would expect to see her little feet coming right underneath her body so that she can take steps. But instead with her, you know, we see her kind of splayed out to the side. The shelter had actually created, like, this vest for her that was wrapped around her upper body and they attached these little pipe cleaners to it. The idea was that they could lift up the pipe cleaners and her legs should fall down underneath her so that she could get exercise that way. But the reality is that when you lift her up her little legs still just lift up sideways with her. A great thing about Apple is that we do have her when she’s so young so she’s really pliable. All of her joints and her bones can be really malleable at this age so we want to encourage them to grow in the right direction so that she can have mobility when she’s older. Right now she does have a really hard time walking, although she’s encouraged by this warm bottle. Are you hungry? She’s like, “yeah, you’d better feed me.” And before we can feed you we gotta make you go potty. The indignity! So I did take a photo of her side by side with a kitten who’s the same age as her but has normal leg development. So if you look at the photo you can see the black kitten has, you know, normal leg posture, the feet are out in front whereas she has her feet splayed out to the side. So you can really see the difference there. She kind of looks like she’s clicking her heels together. For all of her challenges, she doesn’t struggle with being chonky. These little legs need to be able to go underneath her body in order for her to walk normally. Instead of going out to the side I want her hips to come in. so we want these hips to come in and we want the feet to be able to go underneath her body like that. So she can move her feet that direction but as soon as I let go…wooo! It all goes out to the side. So last night I talked to my Veterinarian friend, Rachel and it was really cute, she showed me on a little cat toy, using painter’s tape, like, how to do a proper wrap- All you have to do is put the tape on and then say okay I’m going to do it this length apart. – and where you want to connect the legs together. So we’re gonna try that for her today. Now I do wanna say, I’m not an expert at this at all. This is pretty new to me so we’re going to be learning together here and see what we can do. So this is a first for me too. We’re gonna try to wrap your little legs and see if we can do it! Are you ready? You’re gonna have to be brave and I’m gonna have to be brave. We’ve just gotta see if we can do this together. Might be a little bit awkward at first but that’s okay. The tools that I need to be able to do this, I have right here So I have my vet wrap and this is just like a little wrap that’s gonna around the exterior of her leg wrap. Then I have some gauze roll I have a little bit of extra fluffy gauze roll, if we need that. And I have some tape, some scissors, Oh! are you gonna roll over? Are you gonna roll over? you know, with your little froggy legs, it gives me more room to love on that cute little belly of yours. What an angel. She’s like making air biscuits. She’s such a happy girl. So… let’s begin! We’re gonna start with my gauze roll. So there’s my gauze roll and this I’m gonna actually cut, I think. ‘Cos you have very little legs! So you don’t really want your gauze roll to be super thick you know, I want it to be thin enough that I can easily wrap it for her. I might need some help holding her, hmm… I don’t know if we can do this without a hand, girl. Be right back! Asking for help. I just need you to like, hold her like this. Well we’re gonna have to get used to it ‘cos we have to do this every four days. So….okay starting at an angle and then… wrapping around [loud meowing] I know baby. And that’s enough okay, why don’t you try holding her the other way? Can you do it maybe this way? so that.. Okay, so now that that’s on there… oh no, I didn’t get my vet wrap ready. [loud meowing] It’s okay -I know I know. – I know it’s a little weird. We gotta do what we gotta do, girlfriend. You know, her prognosis is really good with this. It’s about three to four weeks and change the wrap every couple of days. Every week it just gets better and better, is the idea. I think, probably, I will get better at wrapping her too. This first one is gonna be… kinda clunky! [purring] She got out of her pants! The pants don’t got no legs in ’em. How’d you do that? You’re like a magician. I’m gonna have to try again. [sighs] [laughing] You outsmarted me! You say, “I wanna be a frog legs forever!” And that’s that. Okay, scratch that, scratch that. That definitely didn’t work Uch, that was really frustrating. I just spent the last, like, 24 hours straight trying to make this wrap work on this kitten’s legs and the truth is it just wasn’t working. She’s like an escape artist. She kept popping out of those of those pants no matter what I was doing. Like, at first I was doing it too tight and then I undid it. I did it too loose, she kept slipping out of it. At one point, I thought I got it just perfect and my Veterinarian said, “that looks great!” Well, an hour later I came back in and… She has declared a no pants zone. She had gotten out of the pants. I wanted to show you this footage anyway because sometimes things are harder than they look. Like, I thought that was going to work out beautifully and it just didn’t. But the reality is either way we have to find a way to help these kittens and we have to get creative I really tried. I thought that it was gonna work out and she kept taking them off. It was frustrating for me but I think it was even more frustrating for her. So here’s what I did instead. I ended up going with a much simpler method which is using medical tape to tape her legs. This medical tape is sticky but it’s not abrasive and it’s not uncomfortable when you take it off of her. Most importantly, it’s secure enough that it actually stays put and because it’s not this big, bulky thing that’s encasing her entire leg, she actually does have more comfort and mobility with just the tape. You’re just going some little kitten ballet! -Dark ages ballet. plie plie-se get me out of this [laughing] The trick is to find her knees and then place a piece of tape around each. Once the knees are taped together, you do the same things with her ankles. Then you tape them together in such a way that the hips are square or atleast closer to square. You can always bring them closer together every couple of days. She’s been a lot more comfortable this way and even purring. So when I don’t have the tape on her legs I can actually do some exercises with her for her mobility Like, I can take her feet and place them underneath her body in the position that they should eventually go into. Even just helping her get into this posture is really, really good. We wanna see these feet pointing this way. Can you keep them there? Whoa, some day you’re gonna walk like this. I know [laughs] She’s like, “I’m a permanent sploot cat.” Something I can do with her is actually help her move her feet in the right direction, like this. She’s like, “I’ve had enough of you, Lady!” Woop! And they sploot right back out. I know, we’ll get there. We’ve got a lotta work to do but we’ll get there. So I’m really happy with this and I think she’s a lot happier with this too. It’ll be interesting to see how she does I’ll be sure to follow up with another video very soon. This little girl is so sweet and such a fighter. She may struggle to walk right now but I want to do everything I can to give her the opportunity to someday get on her four feet and run. – Let’s see what you’ve got here – this is just two days, look look! She put her foot, look at that! Look at that. That’s after two days. -Good job, Apple. Oh my gosh!!! Look at that! She’s like, “I’ll put my foot under my body [singing] We’re just gonna practice marching. We’re just gonna practice marching our legs.

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