When it rains it pours

Food, Fitness and how to keep them healthy.

Postby amalie79 » April 15th, 2011, 10:57 am

We had to let Simon go a month ago this morning. Today, our little Bella Bean is being hospitalized with suspected chronic pancreatitis. I've never had a cat with this, but that diagnosis doesn't sound good.
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:cry:

Good thoughts and advice are appreciated. Apparently it's more serious than the kind of pancreatitis that dogs get.
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Postby hugapitbull » April 15th, 2011, 11:08 am

Good thoughts for Bella Bean - and you!
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Postby TinaMartin » April 15th, 2011, 11:57 am

Many good thoughts.
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Postby amalie79 » April 15th, 2011, 1:07 pm

Well, I just talked to the vet. They tried to get a blood sample from her, and every time they started poking her, she went into distress breathing. So they took an x-ray, and it looks like she has fungal pneumonia-- histoplasmosis, which is extremely common in people around here because of all the chicken houses in the area.

It's difficult to treat-- and the oral antifungals will almost definitely decrease her appetite even more (she's lost over a pound, 2 ounces just since Monday night, plus her fever is almost 105º now even after several days of antibiotics) and she's not really even eating at all as it is. So the vet recommended we put in a feeding tube and syringe feed her for a while. And we could lose her in surgery since she's having trouble breathing, but we don't really have a choice at this point.

She's been an outside cat-- a stray that showed up and after I'd spent the money to have her spayed to prevent an accidental litter, we've just kept taking care of her; she's the sweetest cuddliest of our cats, and she'll be an inside cat now. That's a lot of cats in our small house, but we won't be in a place this small forever, and there are lots of nooks and crannies to hide in.

Now we wait.
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Postby Malli » April 15th, 2011, 1:45 pm

I think pancreatitis in cats is difficult to treat because there can be many causes, some of them kind of... convoluted.

Good thoughts for her.
when it rains it definitely pours.
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Postby amalie79 » April 15th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Thanks. At the moment, they're thinking not pancreatitis, but fungal pneumonia, which while a temporary condition, can be very difficult to treat especially if it's spread beyond the lungs.

It's one of those things that almost every human in this region has had at one time or other because of the massive chicken industry here, but I never even thought about the cats getting it.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » April 15th, 2011, 1:55 pm

I'm so sorry. :( Tons of good thoughts for you guys...
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Postby Jenn » April 15th, 2011, 2:00 pm

:hug3:
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Postby Malli » April 15th, 2011, 6:12 pm

oh sorry! I misunderstood. I thought it was in addition to the Pneumonia. Good thoughts.
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Postby iluvk9 » April 15th, 2011, 7:47 pm

Well this sucks!

I hope there is an answer to this and it is a good one.
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Postby amalie79 » April 15th, 2011, 10:37 pm

Malli wrote:oh sorry! I misunderstood. I thought it was in addition to the Pneumonia. Good thoughts.


The way things have been going, that just WOULD be my luck.

I went to visit Bella this evening. She was not a happy camper, still groggy form the anesthesia and pissed off that she had all the vet tape around her neck holding the feeding tube in, but she at least made it through the feeding tube surgery. I saw her xray and her lungs are all mottled. The pneumonia is pretty obvious. She has an IV; if she's relatively perky in the morning, I can take her home. If she's still a little wimpy, then they'll keep her until Monday.

Starting her on food and antifungal meds in the morning. Grain free wet food blended in the blender.

Now I have to get a room here set up for her to have all to herself while she's recovering. I want her to be as comfy and stress-free as possible until she's used to being in the house full time. She comes in for extreme weather/temperatures, so she and the other cats are fairly accustomed to each other's smells and presence, but she's always happy to get out.
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Postby plebayo » April 15th, 2011, 10:46 pm

Sending tons and tons and tons of good thoughts!
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Postby iluvk9 » April 16th, 2011, 6:23 am

So, similar to a person, meds can help her get over this?
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Postby madremissy » April 16th, 2011, 7:45 am

Sending many good thoughts that the medicine will help Bella be as good as new very shortly.
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Postby amalie79 » April 16th, 2011, 7:50 am

iluvk9 wrote:So, similar to a person, meds can help her get over this?


We hope so. From what I've read, it can take several months of treatment, and the sooner we get her back up to a healthy weight, the better.

I can go see her in a couple of hours and find out when she gets to come home.
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Postby amalie79 » April 16th, 2011, 10:55 am

She's home!! :)

She'll have the feeding tube in for at least a month, meds for at least 3 months.

Luckily, I didn't have to take out a second mortgage on the house for this; the feeding tube, xray, IV, a 3 month supply of meds, appetite stimulants, stomach protectant, vet wrap, a night in the hospital, and a few cans of food to get us started comes out to $400. Granted, we did almost $200 earlier this week in an office visit and a variety of tests to figure out what was wrong in the first place, but that's much, much better than I expected.

She'll go in once a week to have her neck bandage changed and the tube checked. In the meantime, she's staying in my 13 year old step-daughter's room (her door is closed all the time, anyway :rolleyes2: ). And this way it's quiet, but Bella can still have intermittent company.

This has been a long week.
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Where you invest your love, you invest your life." --Marcus Mumford

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Postby Malli » April 16th, 2011, 1:23 pm

yay!
Have you done tube feedings? Any questions?
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Postby amalie79 » April 16th, 2011, 2:11 pm

I've never done it before, but here in a couple of hours it'll be time for her next feeding, so...fingers crossed! You may find panicked PMs in your inbox after this!!

The vet asked me to come in before they opened this morning so she could have a few minutes to explain it all to me. I'm going to use the Science Diet A/D for the first couple of feedings, since it's super high calorie, but even the vet suggested I not keep her on it for a long time and suggested that Wellness Core would be great to use and more balanced. So I have some of both of those, a couple cans of EVO, and a few different dried foods (the varieties the others eat), plus I just bought a rotisserie chicken for training with the dogs. The vet said she could eat by mouth anything she wants to, but she's still pretty nauseous now. When she's ready to eat, we'll have a variety of things to try. She's an inside cat now, so she'll have to get used to eating on a schedule. I may try to convert everyone (except my boy who's had the urinary blockage) to a home-cooked diet...

That's now 5 cats in the house, and 6 freakin' litter boxes. Should that be on the confession thread? ;-)
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Where you invest your love, you invest your life." --Marcus Mumford

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Postby Malli » April 16th, 2011, 3:43 pm

my tips :
-make sure you have enough water mixed in - there will be a ratio recipe for each kind of food that you'll find works
-make sure to blend it well and STRAIN it well, clogs aren't uncommon. Maybe call the vet back before they close today to ask what they'd recommend if you do get a clog - I know at the vet we've used coke before as a last result but again that will be preference of the vet so you should check.
-if she is feeling nauseous, watch for her reaction and stop the feeding if she starts acting up (lip licking is a good tell), you can try just going super slow or doing little "bursts" of the feeding. If she acts nauseous, stop and come back maybe 10 mins or so later.
-make sure to flush the tube with fresh luke warm water, or whatever your vet has suggested
-put the peg(assuming this is what they set her up with) in securely - you might find that you have to clean it off so it wedges in there and stays put (stuff can leak back out! ew!)
have a relatively damp cloth and a dry cloth handy.
-don't do the feeding on carpet!
-slurry/gruel/food mix should be refridgerated (sorry if that seems obvious to you)
-some meds can be given via the tube, yay! Some can be dissolved in water and then flushed through.
-if you can weigh her frequently this is a plus. Most likely a household person weight scale will not be accurate enough.

hopefully that helps
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Postby amalie79 » April 16th, 2011, 6:49 pm

Thanks Malli!!

Any advice on putting a crushed pill in there? It crushes very, very powdery. Should I just crush it and dump it in before I send something else down, or should I mix it with part of the food or water...? It's such a tiny pill that I hesitate to mix it with anything for fear that more will end up on the side of the mixing container than in the mix.

Other than that, it was a pretty simple process. She's a sweetheart lapcat, so she just sat and purred while we pushed a little food down.
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