This Case Isn’t Funny… But It Is A Little Humerus: Lottie, A Stray Kitten Who Became A Sugar Bear Fund Success Story


Author: Karen McGlothlin, DVM, PhD
Title Author: Bobbi Bell, Veterinary Assistant

Veterinarian: Dr. Crawford
Patient: Found Kitten (now Lottie) Core
Breed: Domestic Shorthair
Current Age: About 4 months old

Lottie at her first visit with her broken left front arm.

History of the Sugar Bear Fund: Sugar Bear was a West Highland White Terrier (or “Westie”) who was a patient at Lawndale Veterinary Hospital. Sugar Bear was a sweet little girl, loved by all, and her owner was a most kind and generous soul. One day, in our hospital lobby, a distraught young lady had just learned that her dog would need an expensive, life-saving surgery – something that she could not, unfortunately, afford to provide. Sugar Bear’s mom overheard the details and because she was able, offered to pay for this pet’s surgery, ultimately saving this dog’s life. Afterward, Sugar Bear’s mom requested that we start a fund to help pet owner’s in emergency situations be able to afford the life-saving treatments needed when the funds are not available.

Background: A stray kitten, found on Battleground Avenue in late May, was brought to Lawndale Veterinary Hospital because she was not bearing weight on her front left leg. The kitten was playful, interactive, eating well, and grooming herself, but she would not walk on her front left leg. Dr. Crawford saw Lottie on her initial visit and noted a couple of things: 1) Lottie had ear mites; and 2) she had a firm swelling of her distal humerus, which is the bone of the upper arm or forelimb, forming joints at the shoulder and the elbow.

Radiograph of broken humerus on left arm.

Radiograph of pin placement at surgery.

After requesting a radiograph, Dr. Crawford was able to determine that Lottie’s humerus was fractured. Knowing that Lottie would need surgery in order to be able to use the left front limb again, Dr. Crawford decided to present Lottie’s case to the Sugar Bear Committee, made up of Lawndale Veterinary Hospital team members, for consideration. Lottie’s ear mites were treated and the Sugar Bear Committee elected to sponsor the costs of Lottie’s surgery.

Lottie a few days after surgery.

On May, 20, 2020, Lottie was back at Lawndale Veterinary Hospital for surgical repair of her humeral fracture. Since the fracture was not fresh, Dr. Crawford had to clean away some fibrin, a fibrous protein that Lottie’s body had produced to stabilize her broken bone, from both broken ends. Once he had accomplished that, Dr. Crawford was able to place an intramedullary (IM) pin into the shaft of the broken portions of the humerus, spanning the fractured area and providing stability for proper healing.

Lottie at her follow up visit on 6/11/2020.

Update: Lottie did very well during and after her surgery. After a brief stay at Lawndale Veterinary Hospital, Lottie was discharged to go home, where she was strictly confined for one month, while the humerus healed. At her first check-up following surgery, Lottie was bearing weight on her left front leg and actually too active during the exam to remove the sutures from her surgical incision! Since the suture material dissolves on its own, Dr. Crawford left the sutures in place, rather than risk injury to the healing surgical site. Lottie has since returned twice for recheck visits and for her kitten vaccine series and she is doing great! Her humerus and the surgical incision that was required to reach it have both healed well. Dr. Crawford plans to repeat radiographs in the upcoming weeks to monitor Lottie’s progress.

We are so thankful to have the Sugar Bear Fund as a resource to help animals that otherwise might not receive critical medical care. All of us at Lawndale Veterinary Hospital are grateful for donors past and present who have generously helped to provide care to animals whom they have never even met.