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Twin-faced Kitten Puzzles Veterinarian

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Filed: Country: Vietnam (no flag)

By Whitney Burdette

Staff writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The kitten born with two faces in Charleston on Wednesday has been seen by an area veterinarian.

Two Face's owner took the deformed kitten to North Gateway Animal Hospital shortly after it was born. She told the hospital that the mother cat refused to nurse the kitten.

Dr. Erica Drake, the associate veterinarian who saw Two Face, said it is common for mother animals to ignore their weaker offspring.

"Animals with defects, whether it be a heart defect or something extreme - it is common for the mother to reject the weak ones," Drake said Friday.

Two Face was born with a condition called diprosopus, which means the kitten literally has two faces. Two Face has four eyes, two noses and two mouths.

"As far as I understand, it's a defect in a protein synthesis that causes a mutation that leads to two faces," Drake said. "It's hard to know if it's just two faces or if it's a conjoined twin."

Drake said the kitten's two mouths act independently of one another and she believes each mouth has a separate esophagus leading to one stomach.

However, she said, it is hard to know the kitten's internal anatomy without an X-ray. She said not knowing about any defects that could be associated with internal organs makes it hard for her to give the kitten a definite prognosis.

"I gave her about a 50-50 prognosis, and that may be a little optimistic of me," Drake said. "She looked healthy to me. I have really no idea what's going on inside. I try to err on the side of optimism."

Many people have called or e-mailed the Gazette-Mail asking if the kitten would be put up for adoption. Drake said she thinks the owner plans to keep the kitten.

Drake, who has been a practicing veterinarian for three years, said diprosopus is very rare and was not something she learned about in veterinary school.

"This was brand new to me," she said.

The kitten's owner did not identify herself to employees at the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Society or North Gateway Animal Hospital.



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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: China

There's my new attack kitty !

I would LOVE to adopt that cat, and no, not for cooking.

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