Vet Bills

Vet Bills Past

One of my ten-year-old kitties, Patch the Pirate, has been a cause for concern on and off throughout her time with us. She occasionally has a dry, hacking cough, which the vet says may be chronic bronchitis or asthma. Twice she has had to have several teeth removed because they developed “cervical neck lesions,” also called “dental resorption lesions.” The lesions, which are NOT cavities, begin as a loss of tooth enamel, usually at or below the gumline, and can eventually spread to the dentin and then the pulp canal, which contains the blood vessels and nerves to the tooth. The lesions ultimately cause a great deal of pain.

Vet Bills Present

Earlier this year, Patch seemed to develop symptoms of a cold: a bit of sneezing and runny eyes. I obtained a prescription from the vet for azithromycin, which has twice worked wonders on my mom’s cat, Toshi Purrs-a-Lot. The human version has a cherry taste, which Patch refused to take when mixed with food. I know better than to try to medicate her myself, so I asked the vet for a compounded version of the antibiotic with chicken flavoring. That worked no better than the cherry-flavored one. The condition subsided, then returned, then seemed to subside again…until I noticed a strange sound.

Three days ago, when I first heard the sound, I thought my oldest cat, Googlie Girl, was snoring in her sleep. The next day I realized that it was Patch the Pirate, and she was wheezing with every breath she took. My major dilemma: how to get Patch to the vet for treatment. She had been a stray for too long to be fully socialized, although she allows petting at her own discretion. She has been known to draw blood (mine) with teeth and claws (hers).

Yesterday, I began to feel desperate. Patch was clearly miserable. I had to work from 1:30 to 8:00 PM. I asked my mother to join me in praying for God to put Patch in the cat carrier. We keep a couple of them sitting open in our living area so the cats will not be alarmed by them. In the classes I taught last night, I asked my students to pray, too.

When I arrived home, Patch was not in the carrier. She and her buddy C. P. Pirate were sleeping on the table, keeping warm under the lamp. I approached Patch, startling her a bit when I petted her. Suddenly the idea popped into my head: grab her (gently) and rush her into the carrier across the room. Immediately I did just that. Patch made one feeble attempt to bite me, but she “gummed” me instead. Into the carrier she went, and I slammed the door closed. Off to the vet we both went. Thank you, God, for speedily answered prayer!

Vet Bills Future

After a 45-minute wait we saw Dr. L., who had treated Revelly during her finally illness late last month. Dr. L. was very patient with Patch, and eventually was able to listen carefully to her lungs. The good news was that Patch’s lungs are clear. Patch has a very bad upper respiratory infection. I already knew what the bad news would be: Patch would need to be hospitalized (remember my utter failure with the azithromycin?).

I have to admit that I am relieved that Patch is finally getting some care. She is on antibiotics and IV fluids. When I visited today, her wheezing was greatly reduced, although I could see her runny eyes and tiny, congested nose. She even let me pet her–after a few half-hearted hisses–if I went slowly and talked sweetly to her.

Patch the Pirate
Patch the Pirate is not happy about generating more vet bills.

After two previous feline hospitalizations in the last month–Revelly’s final illness and Pawscar Awesome’s two-day stay–I know I will not enjoy another hefty vet bill. Far more important, though, is the restoration of my little Patch the Pirate to health. Please pray for healing!