Anatomy, Medicine, Mercy and Spines; Oh My! by Cloudwhisper


Cloudwhisper discusses some facts about Briarlight and her injury

WARNING: This article contains a bit of squeamish material, such as illnesses and bladder problems along with bone breaking and terrible medical things. Look away if you get sick easily!
I like Briarlight.
I really do. But I don’t think she should’ve lived after her injury.
Jayfeather, then and there, should’ve fed her deathberries. Here in the article I have written, I explore Briarlight and her injury.

Firstly, the big question: What is your spine? What does it do?
A bone.
Yes that’s it.
However, it houses something that will make a doctor chew their fingernails and sweat like mad if you injure it; the spinal CORD. This cord has all the information from the brain coursing through 24 bones that connect your nerves called the vertebrae. These nerves control everything in your body, from your head to your toes. Each nerve does a different thing. From stuff like breathing to writing, it’s controlled by signals going down your brain to the cord.
Spinal cords are the reason why snapping your neck means death, as your brain is cut off from your lungs and heart. If your nerves aren’t completely severed from the break, you’re left paralysed. Which brings us to Briarlight.
From what the books say, we can assume she broke her spine somewhere above her pelvis. This means she cannot control her legs (obviously) her bowels and her bladder. She also cannot sense if there’s something wrong with her legs, like urinary tract infections, septic build-up, infections caused by small injuries, leg/tail fractures or cracks, or a bunch of other problems you can get in your lower half.
She also can’t feel or control her bowels and urinary units. She will defecate whenever she does, with no control at all. Newborn kits and puppies have this as well. If you watch them, you’ll see mama watching their backsides and liking the area around it. This is so they can massage out as much feces as possible so there won’t be a build-up that could prove fatal when their bowels rupture and release septic fluids everywhere into their bodies. Since they’re tiny and soft, this can easily be done for puppies and kitties.
But not Briarlight.
You may notice Jayfeather often cleans her bedding often each day. As I said, it’s because her bladder is uncontrollable so every day she soils herself, including when she sleeps. As we can’t get poor Millie to lick her butt so many times, she’ll probably go into a back-up. This will cause stress on her intestines.
Then she gets dysentery.
As yucky this article may be, I’ll be nice and not spill all the disgusting details. However for a quick outline, Wikipedia says this:
“Dysentery is a type of gastroenteritis that results in diarrhea with blood. Other symptoms may include fever, abdominal pain, and a feeling of incomplete defecation.

It is caused by a number of types of infection such as bacteria, viruses, parasitic worms, or protozoa. The mechanism is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon.”
Ugh. Also, it needs lots of surgery to cure and it’s fatal without medical treatment. And who’s ever heard of cat surgery? But the stark fact is that spinal cord damage CANNOT be reversed. Many vets recommend you euthanise a cat with a broken spinal cord, in fact.
She’s trying to fight off her respiration problems as much as she can, but she can’t battle forever. If she doesn’t die by it, dysentery or other illnesses will send her to her grave.
Now onto my second point from medical things; Religious stuff. Or, in more depth, StarClan healing them.
I’ve seen many fans say that Briarlight should be healed. I say; NO. Why do I say this?
Brokenstar is why.
When Yellowfang clawed out Brokenstar’s eyes, he died. When he came back, he had no eyes.
StarClan occasionally heals a leader’s cuts, scars or organs, sometimes broken bones when they lose a life. But because Brokenstar came back without his eyes, I believe StarClan cannot heal cut out eyes. In my opinion, a lost eye is not as important as a broken spinal cord.
But for the sake of imagination, let’s say I’m incorrect and StarClan could.
But why?
Why should she get different treatment or higher treatment than Brokenstar, a CLAN LEADER, for StarClan’s sake?
Why not we heal everything? Longtail’s blindness, Brightheart’s face, Jayfeather’s scar (which, by the way, he got it from Breezepelt in The Fourth Apprentice when he suprise attacked him while Jayfeather was going to the Moonpool BTW) or maybe Bramblestar’s shoulder wound? (Thanks badgers and Hawkfrost and Tigerstar!)
That is simply not how Warriors works.
I think, it’d be best she was mercy killed. She shouldn’t be embarassed like this. Vicky said she actually wanted to kill Briarlight in TLH, but she didn’t because a friend of hers got paralysed.
I like Briarlight, but I hope there’s something in AVoS that says she died in her sleep soon.

Fan Articles


  • “Many vets recommend that you euthanize a cat with a broken spinal cord, in fact.”
    Many vets are wrong because do humans just murder a disabled person? No. Cats are no different, and have a right to live, broken spinal cord or not. If Warriors is right and cats with broken spinal cords suffer no pain, then a cat with a broken spinal cord is not suffering, so it should not be euthanized.
    Anyway, as Russet Feather Of Halloween Crow says, Brokenstar remained blind because he killed way too many cats, not because StarClan could not have fixed it. (Longtail’s blindness was fixed in StarClan.)

    • I do agree that all animals have a right to live, even if they are hurt or injured. However, if the animal is suffering, it would be best to euthanize it. I say that because it can be hard to tell if the animal in question is in pain, as some animals can cover their pain so well, that even a trained professional might not be able to see the animal is in pain.

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