Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pet care challenges

Pet care has been a challenge this past week. In particular, this has been a week of wondering what to do and waiting for test results. Last Friday morning I found that Avalanche, my furry little alarm clock did not wake me as usual telling me to feed him and the other cats. When I found him lying in the cat bed he did not want to move, even after I asked him if he was hungry. He really did not look well, but I thought maybe he'll be better in a little while. Well, unfortunately, Avalanche did not eat Friday morning or in the evening, and still did not move around much. By Friday evening I realized something was seriously wrong, but that is not the time to try and call the vet. Saturday morning and evening was still the same. So this little guy did not eat or drink any water for two days. Now it's time to "worry."
So Sunday morning I told Red that we need to take him to emergency vet services. We both knew he was severely dehydrated and needed some help. So while we were at church Sunday morning our son took him to emergency for us and we met him there. Avalanche had not been seen yet, so we all waited until his name was called.
Upon examination and getting answers from all three of us the vet said she could feel an enlarged left kidney and said it was probably renal failure or could possibly be a form of cancer. That's all I had to hear. It was only a year ago we had to deal with losing our husky, Kody, to hemangiosarcoma. I wasn't ready to deal with anything like that again! So tests were taken and we would have to wait until Monday or Tuesday before getting the results and they would also be sent to our regular vet. Meanwhile they could give him some fluids and we would have to call our vet to bring him in ASAP for a follow-up exam.
Our regular vet wasn't in on Monday, so we had an appointment at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The results from the lab for the tests taken on Sunday pointed to kidney disease. Avalanche's blood and urine count numbers were high, but not gravely high. Thank goodness. The worst "number" is his creatinine, and we have to get that number down before they do an ultrasound on him. This would be to "eliminate" a possibility of cancer. Meanwhile, we have to "pump" this little guy with 150cc of electrolytes/fluids each day until the bag is empty. My husband and I were given a demonstration on how to do it, but I wanted Red to do it because I knew she could handle "sticking" Avalanche with a big fat needle. I knew I couldn't do it without feeling like I was hurting him. (And to think I work in a hospital. No wonder I'm a librarian and not a nurse!) Anyway, we tried getting the fluids into Avalanche Wednesday evening, but we were not successful. So in desparation I called the vet's office Thursday morning and asked if I could bring Avalanche in and get a second demonstration and make sure Red was there to see how it's done. We all met there in the afternoon, and Red felt confident enough that she could do it.
So our second attempt was last night (Friday), and I'm glad to say it went very well. We had to do it again tonight and it also went well. It's amazing how resilient these little kitties can be. Right now, as long as Avalanche receives these fluids on a daily basis he seems to be acting more like himself. We have also had to put him on a different food than the other kitties; he's now eating k/d feline (vet prescribed, made by Hill Science Diet). I think one of my biggest concerns about Avalanche was that several years ago he was diagnosed as FIV positive. So we've known that as long as he was neutered and lived as an indoor-only cat, we knew he would be healthier and live a reasonably long life. So at the age of 12 I would expect this cat should still be able to live at least until he's 15. Well, let's hope! Viva la Avalanche!
**As a post script, I have linked Red's blog to all three posts she wrote on Avalanche.**


Martha said...

Keeping you and Avalanche in my prayers. Good to have family around to help. Thanks for your comments on the iris photos.

mon@rch said...

Wow, poor little thing and my cats are getting up in age! They spend a great deal of time sleeping but they do have their kitten moments! Reading this reminds me that this could happen to me anytime soon and I don't have any good vet services around here! Ugg not sure what I would have done if I was in your shoes!!

Mary C said...

Thanks so much, Martha. I'm really glad Red is around. I know I wouldn't be able to handle the IV.

Hi Monarch - so far, so good. Avalanche seems to be dealing with it pretty well. I just hope and pray it kidney disease and not cancer. I know what you mean about the "kitten" moments. They are so entertaining. I can't imagine not having vet services nearby - that must be a scary situation for you. Let's hope your kitties stay healthy.

Ruth said...

It is hard to know how far to go with medical investigations/treatments for sick pets. Our dog has liver disease, possibly cancer, and his special food is sooo expensive. But they are such a special part of the family.

Mary said...

Thanks heavens for REd and I am glad she responded the the meds and diet changes! She will be fine, Mary. It's easy to tell when our pets are not feeling well, so we act right away.

My fingers are crossed...keep us posted about Avalanche, please! I know how upsetting this is.


Mary C said...

Hi Ruth - you hit the nail on the head. I'm so sorry to hear about your dog's health problem. When these pets are so special to us, I guess we will do most anything to try to give them quality of life.

Mary, you are right. It's really good to have Red around to do the IV. But, I will admit, if it meant that I was the only one around to give this cat his IV, I would do it in a heart beat knowing it meant keeping him around longer.


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