Riverview Veterinarian Makes Strides In Treating Cat Shot With Arrow

By Adam Musgrave

Four weeks after first arriving at Riverview Veterinary Hospital, a cat who made local headlines after being shot with an arrow is beginning to show improvement.

The cat, nicknamed ‘Emily’ by hospital staff, was partially paralyzed in the attack and, while doctors say she is unlikely to ever regain full motion, she is beginning to show favorable reactions to a new treatment called K-Laser Therapy.

K-Laser, also called photobiomodulation, uses targeted Class IV lasers to repair damage, decrease pain and stimulate new cell growth. The technique has been in use since as far back in the 1970s to treat injured athletes in Europe and, more recently, the United States.

“Laser Therapy works by stimulating cells and opening blood vessels,” said Dr. Eimiel Garriga, one of the doctors working on Emily’s case. “It’s more for joints and slower on nerves, but it can have an effect.”

Emily will likely remain partially paralyzed for the rest of her life but, thanks to donations from members of the community and the tireless efforts of the staff at Riverview Veterinary Hospital, her prognosis is positive.

“Nerves take time to heal,” said Dr. Randy Hahn, who founded the hospital back in 1975. “The end of the story is that there’s potential and hope.”

Hahn, who owns the oldest veterinary hospital in Riverview today, began his passion for animals as a hobbyist when he was in the 7th grade. Now, he oversees the treatment of more than 200 companion animals a week. His hospital carries out both routine and intensive treatment options that range from simple dental cleaning and bathing to surgery, radiology and lab work.

With Emily, he and his staff have had to get creative, even using a little car donated by a member of the community to craft her a modified wheelchair that helps her get around. Such measures, along with continuing therapy, have made it possible so that “she could have a good long-term life,” according to Garriga.

Now, working with nonprofit agencies like Frankie’s Friends (http://www.frankiesfriends.com/) and local media, Hahn says the goal is to promote awareness and prevention.

“We want to try to make the public aware that people do cruel things to animals,” he said. He believes that awareness can breed prevention and make cases like Emily’s a lot less likely in the future.

In the meantime, In Defense of Animals, an international animal protection organization, is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Emily’s assailant.

Riverview Veterinary Hospital is located at 10501 Riverview Dr. in Riverview. For more information about services visit their website at riverviewveterinaryhospital.com or email them at rivvet1975@aol.com.