Clinic Stories

Extreme Animals

Some animals are able to survive, in many cases quite comfortably, with incredible handicaps. I don't mean a blind dog or a three legged cat. Those are garden variety impediments. Here are three that are not so typical.

Commando, a cat, was born with one leg, a front leg. The family who had his mother kept him as they knew no one would take him. He was neutered and kept in a carpeted area. He was able to pull himself around with his one paw and faithfully used a litter box. He led a very content but limited life. At 10 years old he was successfully treated for a urinary blockage and lived for several more years.

Lark, a parrotlet (a small bird in the parrot family), was housed with a much larger bird. The cage mate attacked her biting her across the beak. The damage caused the entire beak, top and bottom, to fall off. It never grew back. Beakless, Lark ate small millet sized seeds with her tongue and lived alone, as happy as a Lark.

Zippy, a large adult dog of unknown age, was adopted from a shelter. It was assumed that he was old because he had no teeth. For years he seemed ageless and kept his vigor. After his family had him for 16 years it became obvious that he had to have been born without teeth. He bit and it hurt, he ate dry food and crunched down on kibble. I last saw him 18 years after he was adopted when they brought him in for vaccines to board him. He was worn out, living in the basement because he couldn't control his bowl or bladder. He was euthanized at easily over 20 years old. Maybe having no teeth is the key to a long life.

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