Thursday, February 19, 2009

My furry woes

It all started back in October. All of my cats were healthy back then. Until we noticed Buttercup's skin was covered in little red scabs. At first it was just a few around her neck and on her behind. Then they got bigger and didn't want to heal. So off the the vet we went.
Buttercup went on her first round of steroids to clear up the spots which were an allergic reaction to something (allergic dermatitis). We weren't sure what at the time. So she went on Advantage to eliminate fleas as the culprit. Basically allergies are determined by eliminating the usual suspects one at a time. We had to cancel the follow-up (not recommended) due to some scheduling conflicts. But Buttercup was looking better, so we weren't all that concerned.
In the week that all this was happening, Bunnie's chin swelled up. At first I attributed it to teething (since she was!) but then it got bigger and off to the vet we went.
Bunnie had an allergic reaction called an eosinophilic granuloma complex, EGC, which is another form of an allergic reaction. The vet thought it could be their food or water bowls. They were all plastic. She recommended they be replaced with either metal or ceramic dishes. And then she gave Bunnie a shot of steroids. She also said that this could come back later if the allergen wasn't removed. It hasn't yet...and we are so thankful for that, but I digress.
Getting back to Buttercup, about two weeks after I had Bunnie to the vet, Buttercup's spots came back, and then some. So off to the vet we went, again.
She was placed on steroids again, her Advantage was increased to every 3 weeks instead of 4, and she was put on a food trial for two months. Let me tell you about this food. While I think it is great, it is so bloody expensive! It was $36 for six pounds of food. Yes, that is $6 a pound. We don't eat that well! And the cans, haha, the cans were $2 a piece. So I fed her separately for the two months to the annoyance of the hubs.
And then the holidays happened and so did Oscars disease. In between Christmas and New Year's we had the family over and Oscar starting "digging" under the tree. He went back several times to finally urinate about a tablespoon of red liquid on the tree skirt. He was clearly distressed and in pain and I was in tears, but there was no way we could afford to take him to the animal ER. Plus he was eating and drinking, he just clearly had a urinary tract issue.
The next day we got him into the vet. They gave him subcutaneous fluids to make his urine diluted. They put him on two different medications, special canned food (really really smelly food I will add) and told us that if he did not block over New Year's, he would get through this instance, but something would have to be done to assure this did not happen again. Feline Urinary Tract Disease is common in neutered male cats. It is genetic. So there is very little we could have done to stop it. But in hindsight, we should have been feeding him more canned food instead of being lazy and cheap and choosing to just finish off the dry food we had first. Canned food is good for keeping the cat hydrated and keeping the urine diluted even if he is genetically predisposed to get crystals in his urine.
Well, he made it through (Praise the Lord!) and at his follow-up he was prescribed special dry food specifically for FUTD. It helps dissolve the crystals and satisfies Oscars need to crunch. He is on a diet of mostly canned food with just a bit of the UTD food 5/7 days a week. And now we pray he has a nice full life and never blocks up.
And Buttercup had her followup and everything looked good. We are now 99% sure it is a flea allergy. She is being weaned off the super expensive food and we are trying "sensitive" formulas of other OTC foods. As the vet said, it can't hurt to feed her a high quality food especially knowing she is prone to such extreme allergic reactions.
So life with the cats was good. We had Bunnie spayed on Feb. 5th and we thought all the cats were well.
Until this Tuesday. When I checked Bunnie's belly and there was a hole in it. A hole about the size of a pencil eraser. So I called the clinic that did her surgery and they suggested that seeing my vet would be best, but they would see her if I wanted to bring her in. I didn't want to stress her out any more than necessary, so I called my vet and they graciously squeezed me in that afternoon. Turns out Bunnie had an abscess that ruptured. The infection was most likely caused by her body's reaction to a drainage tube or suture material used in the surgery. And I am rolling my eyes at this point writing this because it seems so ridiculous to me that one cat household could have so many issues in a 4.5 month period. I've had cats my whole life and never had this many issues. So Bunnie is on antibiotics for a week and gets a warm, moist compress on her belly once a day until Saturday. If her wound does not look like it is improving by her follow-up next Wednesday, she will have to undergo surgery to remove the dead tissue and what is left of the culprit. Nice, huh? So we are praying that she gets better without the additional surgery. She is only 8 months old. This is just ridiculous.
And here I was thinking I was ready for human children...I can't even imagine the stress involved.

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