The stool sample yesterday was negative for parasites. The X-ray yesterday showed no masses in the abdomen, but was somewhat obscured by the fluid which continues to accumulate there. His albumen level, I think it was, is low enough that fluid is leaking out of his blood vessels, apparently. To stabilize him, they were going to give him an infusion of plasma, but their supplier didn’t have any feline plasma, so they gave him some sort of synthetic stuff that was expected to accomplish the same thing, get his albumen levels up, and stop the fluid leaking.
This morning, I am to take him over to an Internist, who will presumably want to ultrasound his abdomen, and then we’ll discuss his care in the light of those results. It may be that the Internist will take over responsibility for primary care for him; we’ll see.
My vet, at this point, having referred me to a specialist, I went down to the vet’s office this morning and picked up Tony, who, she said, was a little better today than he had been yesterday, presumably due to the plasma substitute that they had given him last night.
Oh man, was he happy to see me. He kept up this constant stream of meows alternating with purring. I meowed back at him while driving, and poked my finger into the carrier when stopped at stoplights, and he would scratch his nose happily on my finger. We eventually made it through the remnant of morning rush hour to the Animal Specialty Group, in Los Angeles, just a block or so away from being in Glendale.
Dr. Huang, an intern (“Internist Intern”, ha!) took a detailed history, and examined him, and then Dr. Tou, the specialist, the Internist, came in. Tony’s temperature was quite low for a cat, maybe 97, and they don’t like to see it lower than 99. His blood labs were all over the map, lots of highs and lows outside of the normal range. The biggest problem was the low value of albumen, a protein that among other things helps keep the blood from leaking out of the blood vessels. She said that apart from leaking fluid into his abdomen, as it was already doing, it could leak into his lungs, making it hard for him to breathe, and could leak other stuff too, making it more likely that he might throw a clot, which could be instantly fatal. She definitely wanted to check liver function, but that’s a test that’s complicated by first having to keep the cat fasting for 12 hours, then taking a measurement, then feeding him, then taking another measurement, and I think that she said that some of his other problems could conceivably interfere with that test. So, things are just great.
She said a lot of things, but they all kind of boiled down to, “You’ve got a seriously messed-up cat.” She didn’t say that he was a walking dead cat, though. [Actually, in retrospect, she said, “At this point, I would have to say that his prognosis is pretty guarded,” which probably means, “I don’t know for sure yet, but you could have a walking dead cat, here.”]
All during the examination, Tony kept up his purring. I know that they say that cats will also purr when in distress, but he was seriously glad to see me. The Internist couldn’t properly hear through the stethoscope because of the purring, so they did a trick where they moistened a cotton pad with alcohol and held it up to his nose where he could smell it, and he stopped purring for a few seconds and acted a little repulsed by the smell.
It’s evening now, and I just got off the phone with the specialist. The sonogram looked pretty normal, in that there were no masses or grossly wrong organs. They have got his temperature back up, by use of a warming blanket, and later tonight they’ll give him his liver test. They were able to get a urine sample, so that’s been sent off to see if he’s leaking protein out of his urine. If the liver and kidney tests come back very normal, they’ll want to biopsy his gut, probably with a scope. After the liver test, they’ll be able to offer him food again, which they greatly prefer to do, because it can be tricky managing cats that have low protein.
She said, at this point, that “no news is good news.” The liver function test samples will be picked up tomorrow morning, and she’s hopeful that they’ll be ready Friday night.
Chris Ravenscroft wondered what all this is costing, and I’m sure that it’s a common wonderment. The vet’s fees were about $800, and the specialist’s estimate was $1,800-$3,200. Total value of the deal, if we hit the high end of the specialist’s estimate: $4,000. Yeah, I know. I should start a “Catten Defense Fund.”
Another favorite picture, when faced with a rampaging Roomba:
Tony holds his ground!
See Friday’s Catten post.