Veterinarian Uses Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation in Order to Revive Pork Chop after He Chokes on a Piece of Meat
"We didn't know what to do."
-- Tabitha Fallis
Getting a piece of meat stuck in one's throat can be every bit as deadly for cats as it is for humans. That was the near fatal lesson that a nine-week-old male kitten named, appropriately enough, Pork Chop learned last summer after he nearly died when a piece of pork became lodged in his tiny throat.
The calamity unfolded on the evening of July 11th when Pork Chop and his mother went on an impromptu scavenger hunt through the trash at the home of their owner, Tabitha Fallis, in Chippewa Township, Michigan.
Once Pork Chop began choking on the meat, Fallis tried everything she knew in an effort to dislodge it. She gave the Heimlich maneuver a try, patted his back, and even poured water down his throat.
None of those ploys worked and to make matters worse Fallis was unable to locate a veterinarian willing to treat Pork Chop at that time of the evening. "We didn't know what to do," she later confessed to The Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant on August 7, 2009. (See "Kitten Makes Miracle Recovery.")
Somehow Pork Chop made it through the night on his own but he still was gasping for breath the following morning. That was when Fallis rushed him to Dr. Martha Grant at the Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital.
With the aid of forceps, Grant had little difficulty in removing the offending piece of meat but to her horror Pork Chop then inexplicably stopped breathing and collapsed. When Grant informed Fallis that Pork Chop had died she began to cry.
Apparently moved by her client's tears, Grant decided to make one last-ditch effort to revive Pork Chop by administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while simultaneously rubbing his belly. Miraculously that did the trick and the tiny kitten was soon breathing on his own again.
He next was given oxygen and placed on a heating pad. A few days later he was well enough to go on a camping trip with Fallis and her family. (See photo above of him with Fallis's seven-year-old son, Trever.)
A few months later on January 2nd of this year a thirteen-year-old cat named Annie from Norfolk, Massachusetts, also was brought back to the world of the living after she had apparently frozen to death in a snowstorm. (See Cat Defender post of January 21, 2010 entitled "Trapped Outdoors in a Snowstorm, Annie Is Brought Back from the Dead by the Compassion of a Good Samaritan and an Animal Control Officer.")
As traumatic as Pork Chop's brush with death was, it did serve to further endear him to Fallis who shortly thereafter elected to keep him. Unfortunately, new homes were found for his siblings.
Pork Chops's plight also underscores the necessity of cat owners to provide safe home environments for their companions. After all, it is difficult to predict what cats, especially kittens, will attempt to eat.
Additionally, around-the-clock access to a veterinarian is crucial, especially in emergencies of this sort. Fallis is extremely fortunate that Pork Chop made it through the night with the obstruction in his throat but she should not tempt the Fates by continuing to go without access to emergency veterinary assistance.
Photo: Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis of The Morning Sun.