Lil’ Momma is our calico cat, 5 ½ pounds and about 17 years of age. As a feral cat, we were first aware of her in 1996, but in April 1999 after numerous litters she decided to adopt us. Thus, she earned the name Lil’ Momma. Our two cats did not mix well with this stranger, but we adored her so, that she spent her days outside and was secured in the garage at night complete with a winter heating pad and a fan in the summer. In August 2008, Lil’ Momma moved inside where all three now reside in harmony.
In March 2010, we discovered Lil’ Momma with her jaw locked open. We were able to re-set her jaw by pressing down on her lower teeth. After talking with our veterinarian, we waited to see if it happened again. Three months later it did and we were able to re-set the jaw, but knew little of the cause of this problem. Over the ensuing months, we took Lil’ Momma to different veterinarians for their opinions, all of whom suggested a TMJ problem, but with different ideas of treatment from wiring the jaw to euthanasia. Needless to say, neither of these was acceptable.
Since we knew little about this condition, we searched online and found a website for Dr. Sharon Hoffman in Jacksonville, Fla. Something she published related directly to Lil’ Momma’s situation. Out of desperation, we contacted her in hopes of a miracle answer. Within the first 90 seconds of our conversation, we were very encouraged and told it was not TMJ, but a bone anomaly occurring in some flat-face-cats, but correctable through surgery. We met with Dr. Hoffman in late December and felt comfortable with the procedure. She then walked us through the safeguards used by her team. Still, we were afraid of the anesthesia because of her age, size and ongoing treatment for kidney failure and thyroid disease. We felt the risk was too great for us to consider, so we opted to do nothing and wait to see how things developed.
Last November her jaw locked-up four times in one night, and clearly, we had to do something. We again called Dr. Hoffman who suggested we have new blood work done to determine if anesthesia was still appropriate. Coincidently, she was traveling through our area that weekend and stopped to check Lil’ Momma’s condition and results of the blood work. Since everything was within acceptable limits we made a quality of life decision to operate, so on November 14 Lil’ Momma underwent surgery. To our great relief, the operation was a complete success with no complications from anesthesia, which was our greatest fear. We now wish we had had to courage to act sooner.
Obviously, we feel Dr. Hoffman is not only the best at what she does, but possesses the skills and knowledge to make this outcome very positive. Ironically, we gained so much confidence in Dr. Hoffman, that two months later Lil’ Momma again underwent anesthesia to extract three teeth due to a condition called bone resorption. She is now a pain free and a very happy cat!