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Cletus, a kitten, is Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Case of the Year

Date: 10/26/2009 8:41 am

An American domestic shorthair kitten that was struck by a car is Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Critical Care Case of the Year.

Cletus, the pet of Tom and Elaine Lawrence of Auburn, came with other animals from across the Southeast Oct. 25 to be honored during the annual Celebration of Life. Nurses and doctors selected these extraordinary cases from more than 1,500 animals treated in the past year by the Critical Care Program within the Small Animal Teaching Hospital. They gathered to share stories of survival and to present the Manny Morpeth Award for Case of the Year, named for the first recipient in 2002.

“The purpose of the program is to invite back some of the special animals and their owners who have triumphed over adversity to survive despite overwhelming odds,” said Dr. Douglass Macintire, P.B. Griffin Distinguished Professor of Acute and Critical Care Medicine.

Cletus came to the College of Veterinary Medicine Small Animal Teaching Hospital in August after his owners saw him run under a car on the highway and get his rear limbs caught under the tire.

Dr. Mitch Potter, a resident in emergency and critical care, was the doctor on duty who examined Cletus.  "When Cletus arrived he had numerous injuries including a severely torn muscle, a broken leg, multiple soft tissue wounds, and a torn bladder.  He was in shock and rapidly decompensating from the extensive trauma," said Dr. Potter.  Cletus had to undergo a series of surgeries over several weeks to repair his bladder and other wounds.  

Cletus has returned several times to the Small Animal Teaching Hospital for follow-up.  As he continues to heal, his owners indicate he is doing very well at home.

"It was really difficult to pick the case of the year," said Dr. Macintire.  "We had so many great patients who fought so hard to survive and owners who sacrificed so much to help their pets.  This little guy, Cletus, though, really stole our hearts.  He never stopped purring or trying to play no matter what we did to him or how badly he hurt.  He was very lucky to be adopted by such a wonderful loving family.  Cletus and his owners represent what this award is all about -- perseverance, hope, and love." 

The Critical Care Program is a same-day referral center designed to serve the needs of veterinarians in the Southeast. The veterinary program at Auburn is the oldest in the South and the nation’s seventh oldest.

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