An adored kitten from Norfolk has cheated death after vets at a Cambridgeshire animal hospital performed life-saving surgery. 

Young Melon was suffering from a very serious peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia, where her intestines and whole liver had moved, meaning a complex operation at Linnaeus-owned DWR Veterinary Specialists was her best chance of survival.

It’s thought Melon’s poor health was most likely due to a birth defect - she had always breathed quickly and was smaller than her sister.

It was when Melon and her sister were taken to be spayed at another vets that a nurse discussed her concerns, leading to a referral to DWR Veterinary Specialists in Six Mile Bottom.

Melon’s anxious owner, Claire Ives from Attleborough, said: “There was a lot of shock, especially as we have two young girls so there is the extra worry about them losing one of their kittens at such a young age. Plus, Melon had already become part of the family.

“Of course, we were extremely concerned as we also knew it was possible Melon wouldn’t survive the procedure due to her age.

“However, DWR Veterinary Specialists and the vets who spayed Melon were amazing. We had regular phone calls from DWR explaining how Melon was and what needed to happen next or the risks she faced.

“For example, when she was being operated on she lost a lot of blood, so they rang me to discuss a blood transfusion.

“Melon’s quality of life is now perfect. You wouldn’t know she’s had life-saving surgery and is back to being a kitten. She is so loving and regularly cleans her sister and our older cat Jack, although he isn’t too impressed!”

Dr Heidi Kaniok, resident in small animal surgery, and Dr Hannah Reeves, clinical fellow in small animal surgery, performed Melon’s operation.

Dr Heidi Kaniok said: “Melon’s entire liver, spleen and intestines were adhered within the pericardial sack compressing the heart and lungs.

“The operation went as planned and it’s great to hear young Melon is behaving like a kitten, even though this does appear to be a bit much for their older cat Jack!”

DWR Veterinary Specialists offers specialist-led care in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiothoracic surgery, dentistry, cardiology, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, diagnostic pathology, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, interventional radiology, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, ophthalmology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthopaedics, physiotherapy and soft tissue surgery. 

For more information on DWR Veterinary Specialists, visit or search for DWR Veterinary Specialists on social media. 

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