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state of the cat - The Villages

hutch0
Date: 2008-09-09 22:21
Subject: state of the cat
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:tiredtired
Music:elbow
Okay, here are the things we know, with a fair degree of certainty, are not wrong with Kuron.
He doesn't have feline leukaemia.
He doesn't have feline HIV.
He doesn't have a parasite.
He also, rather confusingly, is no longer anaemic or hyperthyroid.
The vets at the RVC recommended we put him on a special diet for about six weeks to see if he put on any weight, so we got a new bag of biscuits for him which are made with a single protein and a single carbohydrate.
He was fine with them for a week or so, then he started to get constipated, so we gave him an enema and a couple of doses of Catalax, which solved that problem.
Then he started throwing up. Now, this is no big thing for us; when he first developed megacolon he was throwing up all the time. Because his face is so flat, every time he's sick some of it goes into his nasal passages somehow, so after throwing up he has a number of sneezing fits, resulting in snot - and, on one spectacular evening, blood - going everywhere.
We panicked when this happened the first few times, but these days it's more kind of, `Oh, hai, Kuron. Been sick again? Ho-hum. Let's wash your face, then.'
However, it's not normal for him to honk his food up three times a day, which he did over the weekend, so we phoned the hospital for some advice and they told us to start giving him some sensitive-stomach food and bring him in today.
Which we did, and they decided to keep him in for a few days to repeat some of the tests and to give him an endoscopy. If that doesn't find anything, they'll open him up and have a bit of a rummage and take some biopsies.
When he came back from the hospital the first time he was on a course of antibiotics in case he had a parasite, and our feeling is that, maybe because his digestive system is so short now, it blitzed his gut bacteria and they haven't been able to recover, which might be why he's being sick. Either that or he grew intolerant of the special diet. After we started giving him the sensitive-stomach food, he started throwing up less - just twice in two days - which might mean something, or it might not.
Anyway, his doctor thinks the sickness might be the next stage in whatever's wrong with him. Candidates for that include something similar to Crohn's Disease, or maybe lymphoma, both of which she says can be managed to some extent, although lymphoma could mean chemotherapy.
We'll have to see. Meanwhile, he's in good hands and, according to the junior doctor who phoned us with a progress report this evening, behaving himself impeccably.

In other news, Kasia has for some time been suffering from a flea-bite allergy, which has left her back and neck covered with itchy scabs. Bogna's been treating it with a tea-tree ointment, which seems to work somewhat and has the added bonus of making it possible to know where she is at all times just by sniffing the air.
It's not going away, though, and she's been scratching a lot, so Bogna took her up to the vet on Friday for a steroid jab, which seems to have reduced the inflammation a lot.
He also gave us some medicated shampoo to use on her. Now, we've had Kasia about six years now and we've never bathed her. Her coat's a different texture to the boys' so she doesn't really knot up, and she washes herself a lot. In addition, Dougal, who's besotted with her, spends at least part of each day washing her too.
But the shampoo should help bring down the itching, so we hosed her down tonight. My own feeling is that we only got away with it because we'd never done it to her before and it took her by surprise. Kuron doesn't mind being washed for about ten minutes, then he gets sick of being wet and starts to complain and trying to make a run for it. You could put Dougal through a car-wash and he wouldn't even bother waking up. Kasia, though, has come to the conclusion that it's no fun, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the next time I pick her up and carry her towards the bath I'll wind up needing plastic surgery.
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User: sarcobatus
Date: 2008-09-09 23:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I hope little Kuron gets better, poor little guy.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-09-10 21:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We're keeping our fingers crossed. Thanks.
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mylefteye
User: mylefteye
Date: 2008-09-10 08:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's amazing the technology vets have access to nowadays. Hope they put the poor wee fella right soon.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-09-10 21:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're right, and especially where he is up at the Royal Veterinary College. I'm sure they'll never have all the equipment they need, but they've got some extraordinary stuff and a marvellous bunch of doctors. If they can't help him, nobody can.
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Kat: Bear in autumn
User: artykat
Date: 2008-09-10 19:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Bear in autumn
Oh, such a serious situation but written in such an amusing way that I am quite at odds how to react. I did laugh out loud at your last sentence. I'm sorry. I don't mean to be unfeeling. It's all quite confusing, really!

I cannot IMAGINE giving either of our cats an enema! That would be far, far worse than a bath, which would result in death for the bather, I'm sure. I mean, we nearly need plastic surgery after giving them flea treatment at the back of their necks!

Poor Kuron-- how old is he? This all sounds so wearing on you all, mostly him

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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-09-10 21:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's okay to laugh; it was meant to be funny. Right up to the moment where she rips my face off trying to avoid another bath. We'll see.
Kuron's 11 or 12, we're not quite sure, so he's quite an old gent in cat terms and he's had quite a bumpy road of it, healthwise, on and off. The weird thing is, he doesn't seem to be ill. He's not behaving any differently, apart when he's sick and he gets a bit quiet for an hour or two. He must be a bit confused about what's going on. All we can do now is wait and see what the results of his tests are, and take it from there.
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rou_killingtime
User: rou_killingtime
Date: 2008-09-18 06:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Regarding Kasia's flea-bite allergy: I would *strongly* advise against using tea tree oil to treat it, as it is known to be toxic to cats.

More info:

http://www.tea-tree-oil-use.com/pets.htm

http://www.messybeast.com/teatree.htm
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-09-18 23:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Bloody hell. We'd never heard of that before. We've been bathing the boys in tea-tree shampoo for years, and treating Kasia with the oil for a good few months, with no ill-effects, but it sounds as though we've just been lucky. Thanks for telling us about that; we'll have to find another brand of shampoo.
Luckily, the steroid injection and the antibiotic injection and the medicated shampoo seem to have done the trick - the scabs have almost completely vanished and she doesn't seem to be itchy at all any more.
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rou_killingtime
User: rou_killingtime
Date: 2008-09-18 23:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm just glad I didn't ignore the 'tickle in my brain' that I had when I read the penultimate paragraph of your post. Said 'tickle' prompted me to do a bit of a Google marathon, as I was sure I'd read something, somewhere about tea tree oil and cats.

On a related note, after my late, beloved ginger tom had surgery to remove a tumour from his paw, he was in quite a bit of discomfort during the recuperation, so I asked the vet if it was safe to give him a fraction of a child's dose of aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen. She told me that even as little as one quarter of a child's dose of any of those would be enough to kill several cats, and that the only relatively safe painkillers for cats are opiate based, and even then the dosage must be carefully controlled.

Apparently this isn't uncommon in obligate carnivores such as cats, as they rely on their prey's systems to have metabolised anything their own livers can't deal with - which includes most plant products, of course, as a strict carnivore's metabolism has never evolved to cope with such things.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-09-19 22:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm also glad you didn't ignore the tickle in your brain, otherwise I would probably never have heard about this. We know about the aspirin thing, and the lily pollen thing, and the chocolate thing, but the tea tree oil thing was brand new to me and I'm indebted to you for clueing me in on it.
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