Minerva’s Heart

Written by Becca Gordon

UPDATE: April 5/2018

Minerva post-surgery

Minerva post-surgery

The surgery was approximately two hours in length and went well. Though a very delicate procedure there were no complications.

While they are still monitoring her recovery the riskiest part is behind Minerva.

A special thank you to the amazing cardiology team at Ontario Veterinary College who operated on possibly their smallest patient for this type of procedure.

EHS would also like to thank those who support us and the animals we care for.


UPDATE: March 13/2018

In just a few weeks we have surpassed our goal for Minerva’s open heart surgery. We set out asking for $5,000, and on Canada Helps we have received $5,130 to date.

We are so pleased that Minerva has touched so many hearts. We thank each and every person who donated, whether online or in person, shared, and spread the word about this tiny girl and the hole in her heart.

This was a huge, unforeseen, expense and you have helped Minerva and EHS. With your generosity Minerva has a chance at a long, happy life and EHS can continue to help cats like her.

Until the surgery is complete we will not know the true cost – as we currently have an estimate that does not include complications that may occur. We truly hope for Minerva’s sake that there are no complications.

As this is a highly specialized surgery, the earliest consultation with the surgeon we could get was April 3rd. We have been advised that the surgery then can be scheduled for the following day. We look forward to a long and healthy future for sweet, demanding diva Minerva, and will keep you updated on the outcome of her surgery and her recovery.


Minerva’s Heart

Minerva when she first arrived at EHS

Minerva was in rough shape and weighed only three pounds (the size of a 12-week -old kitten) when she arrived at EHS. She was severely dehydrated, anemic, malnourished, and had ear mites. She also had a grade 5 heart murmur, which the vet thought could be attributed to her overall body condition.

She was hospitalized, and remained on IV fluids for a few days, before being released into foster, where she flourished, and gained a full pound. At her recheck, she was in much better shape. Her blood work looked good, and her anemia had improved significantly.

She was placed into the foster to adopt program with a woman who intends to provide her with a forever home once she is spayed, which was originally scheduled for the coming weeks.

Minerva’s Diagnosis

Minerva after recovery from severe dehydration/malnutrition

Minerva after recovery from severe dehydration & malnutrition

Last week it was discovered that Minerva continues to have a major heart murmur, and a cardiac ultrasound has revealed that the cause of the heart murmur is a congenital heart defect called patent ductus arteriosus, which is an unclosed hole in the aorta. When kittens are born, this hole closes, but in Minerva’s case, it never did. This is why she had stunted growth and is so tiny. Her blood is not circulating properly.

Minerva needs open heart surgery to correct the defect. This surgery can only be performed by a board certified veterinary cardiologist. This is Minerva’s only chance at a normal, long life. Without it, she will have a significantly shortened life expectancy, and could succumb to congestive heart failure at any time.

The good news (because we could use some) is, our vet has advised that this surgery has a very high success rate, and if successful, Minerva’s heart issue will be resolved, and she likely won’t need to be on medications or require any future specialized care.
An estimated cost of the surgery is $5000, barring complications.

Minerva is a young, confident, affectionate and vocal little girl. She has had to overcome so many obstacles in her short life, but she is a fighter, and deserves the chance to lead a healthy, normal life filled with love and happiness.

Before arriving at EHS Minerva was a commodity. Whoever was entrusted with her care used her for a quick buck. Her life, only worth what someone on Kijiji was willing to pay for it. Her first two years she was neglected then ultimately abandoned because she didn’t produce.

How You Can Help

Minerva enjoying her catnip banana

Minerva deserves better than that. She deserves a chance to live a full, long, pain free life. We want to give her that chance. We can only do that with your help. Please consider donating to save this wee girl.


Minerva’s Open Heart Surgery

Heart Month

Coincidentally February is Heart Month – we’ve talked about how owning a pet can reduce your risk of heart attack. Perhaps it’s time we consider what we can do for our pets.

Know the Signs:

Minerva *Congestive Heart Failure is not uncommon in cats. Here are some signs to look for:

  • lethargy
  • weakness
  • difficulty exercising
  • laboured breathing/panting
  • coughing
  • inappetance
  • gray or purple gums.

If cats like Minerva were to go untreated they could suffer enlargement of the liver or spleen, paralysis in the hind legs, rapid heart rate, weight gain from fluid retention, or weight loss before passing.*



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