"Opie," a 12-year-old Siamese, was given a two month life expectancy after being brought to Memphis Veterinary Specialists in Tennessee with chronic anemia and vomiting.
The MVS team determined that the only option for Opie would be a kidney transplant. He was rushed to the University of Pennsylvania, one of the premier kidney transplant programs in the world.
"It's one of the most common transplants done in veterinary medicine," said Dr. Ai Takeuchi.
Like human transplants, there are surgery qualifications, waiting lists and donors.
Opie's donor, Cadbury, was rescued from "death row" at a Philadelphia shelter.
"There's a part of him in Opie and they have been good buddies," said Opie's owner, Katherine Addy-Bernstein.
She adopted Cadbury as a part of the transplant program and was delighted to welcome a new family member.
"It's a real win-win situation for everybody," she said.
Grateful to the team in Pennsylvania, Opie's owner is also thankful for Dr. Takeuchi, who made the early diagnosis.
"If it hadn't been for her, he wouldn't be here," she said. "He would have been gone months ago and so she and this clinic saved his life."
Both cats are recovering well after successful surgeries, according to doctors.
The surgery costs around $12,000 and recovery costs average about $60 a month. However, the team at MVS said that although the surgeries and travel can be expensive, pet insurance is an option that may help cover the costs.
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