One day. Two Cats. Two Vets. Two Cat Tales.
A Happy Tale
It has been three months since Pawscar Awesome’s last visit to the veterinary ophthalmologist at BluePearl in Southfield. I took Pawcar in for his check-up today. Although he was not thrilled to be in the car, Pawscar made it all the way to the hospital without vomiting or losing control of his bodily functions.
Once we were escorted to an office, Pawscar quit complaining and got very quiet. He tried to make himself as small as possible. Weighing in at 8 pounds, 15.8 ounces today, he already is my smallest male cat.
I am happy to report that Dr. S. found no new inflammatory activity in the back of Pawscar’s eyes, and the inflammation at the front of his eyes remains controlled. The pressure in his right eye is “stable.” Pawscar’s dose of the “chicken slop” (compounded prednisolone with chicken flavoring) is being reduced, but he must still get the drops in his right eye twice a day. If his condition remains stable in two more months, he may be able to stop taking the prednisolone.
I headed home, rejoicing over the good news. Pawscar made it almost all the way home before he lost a bit of lunch. He must have been pretty happy, too.
A Sad Tale
After taking Pawscar home, I paid a brief visit to Patch the Pirate at Gasow. Dr. R. had received the results of Patch’s culture, which showed only normal bacteria and no overgrowth. There was still no word on the other test results. I promised to return later, after teaching my Greek class.
Shortly after my students left, Dr. R. called me with some alarming news. Late this afternoon when she checked on Patch, she felt something like bubble wrap under the skin of Patch’s head when she petted her. Upon further examination, she discovered this strange texture under the skin of Patch’s neck and upper shoulders, caused by air under the skin. A couple of x-rays revealed free air in the chest cavity as well. These symptoms were NOT present earlier; even I would have noticed the strange feel of Patch’s head when I was there at 2:00 PM had it been present then. Before calling me, Dr. R. e-mailed the x-rays to a lab to get some speedy additional analysis. She was afraid that–because of the sudden appearance of the symptoms–Patch’s chest might fill with air overnight, causing pain or even collapsed lungs.
I had planned to make another visit this evening anyway, but the ominous news cemented my plan. I headed to Gasow to spend some time with Patch and try to reach some sort of decision with Dr. R.’s help. Patch was sitting quietly in her cage, not as feisty as usual in her reception of me because she had been sedated for the x-rays.
I petted Patch, speaking softly to her. After caring for other clients, Dr. R. came in, and we discussed the options. The new symptoms were definitely not caused by any viral condition that the awaited test results might reveal. There was a strong likelihood that Patch would face a difficult surgery and recovery–or no treatment option at all–if we pursued more testing (CT scan) with a specialist. Finally, there was a real danger of Patch’s lungs filling with free air during the night. We reluctantly agreed that it was best for Patch to let her join her “best buddies” Possum and Brave and Purrin’Dot on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. Patch the Pirate, you will be missed!
P.S. The results of the additional tests came back the following day. Although Patch had been exposed at some point in the past to the feline herpes virus, it was not a factor in Patch’s current ailment. This means we made the right decision, since the problem was neither viral nor bacterial.