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Published April 06, 2012, 12:18 AM

Kitten With Twisted Hind Legs Has Five-hour Corrective Surgery

CASSELTON, N.D. — After five hours in surgery Thursday, Corky has a new pair of legs. Thanks to Dr. Dan Burchill of Casselton Veterinary Service, the kitten's formerly twisted hind legs are now facing forward.

By: Meredith Holt, Forum Communications

CASSELTON, N.D. — After five hours in surgery Thursday, Corky has a new pair of legs.

Thanks to Dr. Dan Burchill of Casselton Veterinary Service, the kitten's formerly twisted hind legs are now facing forward.

"He was very proud of the outcome," Carol Stefonek of CATS Cradle Shelter said of the surgeon.

Stefonek was "awestruck" when she first saw the results on an X-ray. The striking image shows how pins and screws are holding Corky's back legs into position.

During surgery, Burchill had to cut Corky's Achille's tendons so his toes would uncurl. "He fully expects those toes to be functional and straighten out," Stefonek said.

A post on the CATS Cradle Facebook page reads: "Dr. Burchill is my new hero and I will never know how to thank him for what he has done for us. This was a very rare case and we placed all of our trust in him. He did not let us down." As of late Thursday night, the post had received over 300 likes.

Corky's surgery, originally scheduled for 8 a.m., was delayed until the afternoon because of an emergency at the animal hospital.

The long wait was difficult for the volunteers who accompanied the kitty to Casselton. "It was a hard day," Stefonek said.

When Stefonek last checked in on him, the 7-month-old cat was resting peacefully in his crate. "He was a trouper," she said.

Corky will remain at the clinic over the weekend, where he'll receive visitors from the Fargo shelter. "They're gonna take good care of him," Stefonek said.

The white-and-tabby cat has a long road ahead of him, but he has the support of the Fargo-Moorhead community — and beyond.

Stefonek and fellow CATS Cradle director Gail Ventzke didn't get much sleep Wednesday night worrying about Corky's future and whether they made the right decision.

"We know it's for the best, but we both broke down and left in a puddle," Stefonek said.

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