Stryker was born in May of 2003. He appeared to be a normal kitten at first but developed pneumonia at 9 days old. In handling him I noticed that overnight he had developed what is known as a ‘flat chest’. His chest resembled a turtle shell. Kittens can outgrow this condition but in another week he developed a hole in his chest. This condition known as Pectus Excavatum is where his sternum was growing up into his chest and pressing on his heart, lungs, etc. These conditions are kind of an ‘oops’ that nature can throw at a creature.

On his own without human and surgical intervention, Stryker would not survive the Pectus Excavatum. I hand fed him EVERY three hours for over 4 weeks. He was taken to a surgeon who decided that he could try and correct the sternum and would do surgery at around 10 to 11 weeks old.

Stryker was a real trooper through everything and had just the greatest attitude right from the start. A splint was put on his chest and the ribs and sternum were pulled out straight so that Stryker had room to breathe and his organs could fall back into place.

I was warned that cats do not usually tolerate bandages well but after going backwards once to see if he could get out of them, forward he went. He wore the splint happily for 6 weeks and started growing and gaining weight.

Stryker, now a permanent resident in our home, at a year old is a big strapping boy and now over 20 lbs. and gaining! Seems that once he got into the habit of good health and eating, he took full advantage of it!!

Without the help of new found friends on the internet, his family’s care and support, my local veterinarian and veterinarians on the internet, and of course a capable surgeon, Stryker would not be here. We love him dearly!!

Stryker June, 2007

Information about Pectus Excavatum and a pictorial of Stryker's surgery can be seen on here: Stryker Pectus Excavatum Surgery

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