Our very first kitten with a Peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia.

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Before we start, we want to write this story because it is so important to always be transparent and honest with fellow breeders, as well as with you. Many people think breeding is a walk in the park, or it is all about money — which for backyard breeders it is unfortunately.
This is not the truth at all; breeding is never easy, and it can be heartbreaking. We are dealing with living beings and so much can go wrong. So we hope that this will educate the public, as well as help other breeders or pet owners who are dealing with this congenital condition.

Xander (from Alexander the Great) was born in a beautiful litter full of brown tabbies. He was the one though that had the most amazing tabby pattern we’ve ever seen!

Unfortunately the very first weeks of a newborn’s life are extremely critical.

So Xander’s brother all of a sudden developed pneumonia at 2 weeks old and after doing everything we could (including ICU 24/7 care) we lost him. It was a nightmare and unfortunately that wasn’t the end of it.

Two weeks later, Xander suddenly started losing weight and had labored breathing. This time we decided to not go to the ICU again since they did everything wrong, and got ourselves an oxygen tank, oxygen compressor, nebulizer and our main vet has been our support since day 1.
We did NOT expect that he would make it. His breathing never stopped being labored and that was a huge concern. We also always heard some type of fluid noise in his lungs, but when we brought him to our vet, there was no fluid she could hear.

It took EVERYTHING - all day research in so many sites, so many conversations with our vet regarding different antibiotics and treatments, force feeding every 2 hours, 24/7 oxygen support - so many tears, stress and desperation.

So Xander was doing fine — always acting normal, but still always breathing a little faster. 

We always weigh our babies daily so we noticed that he lost some weight again and that he was not eating well. So we immediately put him on antibiotics again and were headed to the vet for an x-ray.

It was a shock for us to find out that the sound we were always hearing might not be fluid, but the function of his intestines. 

He has no visible lung or diaphragm on his right side. We will be doing an ultrasound with our internal medicine specialist to clarify more answers than the X-ray will resolve, but it sounds like we’re dealing with a “ Peritoneopericardial Diaphragmatic Hernia “ .

Our vet said that he is a very strong guy, and it’s possible that he could live a long life but that he is more sensitive to viruses and allergies etc. and that he will need more special care. She also said that she has other clients that have pets with one lung for different reasons, and they can have overall a positive life. 

Obviously it is a shock to us, but we kind of always wondered if it might be something structural with his organs. 

Xander’s X-ray:

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He is the sweetest baby ever, but we have fought so hard for him and there’s no way we will give up on him. He just needs a lot more attention and special care, because he is a little more sensitive. Our vet was cautiously optimistic (pending further diagnosis) and also said she has clients with pets in his situation that live a normal life. 

He will definitely be staying with us, and based on our specialist’s input, he will require surgery. We are now waiting on him to get a little stronger and be a little older for the surgery.

This is a first for us, but we are extremely thankful to have an incredible vet at our side that doesn’t immediately recommend euthanasia and never gives up on our babies, but instead always tries to help and think about every possibility. 

We honestly don’t know what the outcome might be, but it is our responsibility to do everything we can for him. 

Please keep our little guy in your thoughts and prayers!

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