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Old 05-14-2008, 08:44 PM   #41
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Purron, I followed your story from last month but did not post. Caring for an ill pet can be very difficult. There are many competing feelings, with the most important being "what is best for my pet."

For me, pets have always been official members of the family. I went through a very difficult time with my cat three years ago. His veterinary bills the year before he passed away totaled about 25K. He was a 17 year old boy with diabetes and pancreatitis. We were fortunate to live only 1 1/2 hours from the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, where he received the best of care. He had his own doctor there, an internal medicine specialist. He had to be hospitalized several times at UC Davis when his diabetes caused him to become ketotic. That's where most of the expense came from. He hated going to the hospital, where he would stay for several days (I'd visit him every day), but he loved coming home. After we got his diabetes under control (I gave insulin injections in the morning and evening), I had to feed him 3 times a day through an esophageal tube. He didn't like to eat with his mouth because of the pancreatitis, but he liked being fed through the tube. He would come running when he heard me making his food in the blender. Then he would sit on my lap and purr while I gave him his food. This took about 20 minutes. He lost a lot of weight before we got his diabetes under control but he gained some of it back with his tube feedings. I took him to my local vet twice a week to get him weighed and to clean the bandages around his feeding tube.

Some people might say I did too much, but I could look into his eyes and his heart and tell that he was happy. While he had some bad days, most days were good. Even with a feeding tube hanging out of his neck, he still loved to go outside and roll around on the cement (supervised). He loved to jump up on the sink, and drink his water. When friends came over, he would come out and visit. Both his local vet and his primary vet at UC Davis were satisfied with his care. They would have said otherwise if they felt different. They were surprised when he finally passed away.

Looking back, I have no regrets with his treatment. It was the right thing to do, both from my perspective and his perspective. This doesn't mean that other options would not have been appropriate. There is no one answer or right answer. And I was fortunate that financial considerations didn't have to impact any decisions. Pets are members of the family, and we only want to do what is best for our little baby's.

It must be very difficult for you. There is worry. There is uncertainty. There are many feelings. There is also hope.
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Old 05-14-2008, 10:38 PM   #42
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One thing that troubles me is knowing how much the money I have spent on this one cat could help the countless abandoned and neglected animals at the shelter. This is the kind of stuff that keeps me awake at night.
Please remember it is impossible to help all the neglected animals. You should be proud of what you do. You are giving love to the homeless animals and giving a longer life to your pal.

I hope everything goes ok.
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Old 05-15-2008, 09:21 AM   #43
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Purron - I am sorry to hear this! My thoughts are with you and your kitty. I hope the biopsy can help pinpoint the problem.

When I lost my fur-baby over the Xmas holidays, I, too, struggled with the "how much to we do?" question. Our problem that was over the time he was sick, they couldn't pinpoint what was wrong. After a month of tests and hospital visits/stays, he was not getting better. I spent $3000 without even having a biopsy, and the vets at that point told me not to do one, because even figuring out what was wrong probably wouldn't have helped (meaning, they didn't think they could save him even if they knew exactly what was wrong).

Hopefully you won't have that issue and your kitty will be good as new after further treatment.
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Old 05-15-2008, 10:33 AM   #44
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Purron, I do rescue, so I know how hard it is to decide where your money is best spent. I can say that you do what is right for you and your pet at the time with as much knowledge as can be garnered from the specialists.

As Shawn mentioned, quality of life is key, and at 11 your kitty is still young enough to have some good years ahead. I disagree with those, like Jon Katz, who would put an animal down at the first sign (or before) of terminal illness.

How much is too much? When you and kitty are to the point where it doesn't seem to add anything to the quality of life.

We are facing a $2-$3 ortho surgery for our 9 year old dog later this summer, there is no question that it will be done. I know how many dogs in rescue that kind of money can help, but I recognize that Carl is MY dog, and I owe him the care that I can reasonably afford to provide.

Best wishes on all this; we'll be thinking about you down here in Mammalville, SC and hoping for good/conclusive results from all the wearying tests.
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Old 05-17-2008, 12:35 PM   #45
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Here's the update on my cat. The specialist called with the results of the liver needle aspiration. Looks like my boy has lymphocytic hepatitis. Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds. The specialist will consult with my regular vet but the treatment will probably consist of corticosteriod and Denamarin. The first medication, a steroid, is also known as prednisolone and will help control the inflammation caused by the immune system. The second medication contains milk thistle and SAMe which help support liver health and function. Naturally, we will be checking his liver enzyme levels on a regular basis.

The bottom line is he is in pretty good shape, considering everything, and we have every hope of managing this with medication. She does not recommend a liver biopsy at this time which is a big relief.

Thanks again everyone for your support and encouragement. There sure are a lot of animal lovers out there!
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Old 05-17-2008, 12:44 PM   #46
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Your kitty will like prednisone, we've treated one of our pups with that off and on for inflamed knees, and I've taken it a few times...uh...not the dogs pills, some from a regular doctor

Only thing is, it makes you hungry. Prepare for the food begging to dramatically increase. Our dog basically stood directly in front of the cabinet with the food and treats in it and made "whumph!" noises at increasing volume levels until she was fed. Then she'd restart at the low volume level.

Long term prednisone use can also suppress the body's ability to produce a similar natural compound and create a dependence. So the dosage will probably be a lot up front and then a little one day, none for a day or two, then a little more.
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Old 05-17-2008, 05:01 PM   #47
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Purron, wishing as much health and good times as possible for you and your furboy. Will you have trouble giving him pills? We tried to give our cat a dog treat where you could hide a pill in the flap of the treat. He wouldn't eat it, but other cats may be less finicky.
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Old 05-17-2008, 05:49 PM   #48
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Will you have trouble giving him pills?
No - I have pretty much mastered the pilling technique. Poke it in the back of the mouth and once he licks his lips, it's down. I real problem is when he knows it's "pill time" and gets in some unreachable place. This is where diversionary tactics come in useful such as rattling the treat can.
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Old 05-17-2008, 06:44 PM   #49
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I'm very glad that the news is good. I was worried, now I feel better. I wish you lots more good times together.
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:32 PM   #50
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I use a straw or a tightly rolled up post-it note and the blowgun method. Never fails. Open the lips, tuck the straw between the teeth and blow.

I'm waiting for one of them to blow back at the right time and give me a dose of wormer.
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Old 08-09-2008, 06:21 PM   #51
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Update - Prayers requested

Since I first posted this I have taken my beloved cat to a couple of specialists. We have tried a number of medications and treatments, but he has continued to decline. His weight is down almost a pound and he has lost his appetite. Monday, he goes in for exploritory surgery. Please keep your fingers and paws crossed for my boy. I love him so much and am beside myself with worry.
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Old 08-09-2008, 08:45 PM   #52
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My paws are crossed. Keep us posted.
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:42 AM   #53
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I'll cross my paws too. I wish I could make your boy well.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:03 AM   #54
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Yes, let us know how it goes. I have a sick golden retriever. Shes been under the vet's care for a week due to a phenobarbital overdose the darn vet gave her on a refill prescription. Anyway, been on a bland diet and doing ok but she has thrown up the last couple of days and won't eat this morning. Headed to the vet first thing again tomorrow morning.

Didn't mean to get on my doggies problem but I understand how you feel. We hate to see our friends sick. Good luck!
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:12 AM   #55
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Yes, let us know how it goes. I have a sick golden retriever. Shes been under the vet's care for a week due to a phenobarbital overdose the darn vet gave her on a refill prescription. Anyway, been on a bland diet and doing ok but she has thrown up the last couple of days and won't eat this morning. Headed to the vet first thing again tomorrow morning.

Didn't mean to get on my doggies problem but I understand how you feel. We hate to see our friends sick. Good luck!
Dawg52,

Well, both us will be at the vet tomorrow with our companion animals. I hope your golden retriever feels better soon. It's always worrisome when they won't eat. Let us know how she does.
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:45 AM   #56
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Thinking good thoughts for both you, Purron, and Dawg, and your beloved feline and canine family members....
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:13 PM   #57
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Update

My kitty came through the surgery fine. They one removed liver lobe and took biopsy samples of the other lobes. I won't find out the results of the biopsies until Friday or possible Monday. Hopefully, this will pinpoint the problem and result in a treatment. Realistically, I know liver problems often have a poor prognosis, but I have hope. The surgeon noted his remaining liver looked fine overall but had a poor color suggesting future problems.

Today's surgery and tests cost $2,500. I consider this one of the reasons I am frugal - so I can spend money on the things I consider really important. He's just a plain black cat from the shelter, but I really do love him. I can't wait to get him home tomorrow.

Dawg52 – please let us know how your dog did today.
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:39 PM   #58
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I am so happy that he came through the surgery all right!! I was a little concerned when you mentioned he was eleven years old and down to just one pound in weight, as I thought he might be too frail to survive it. Good for him!!
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:55 PM   #59
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I am so happy that he came through the surgery all right!! I was a little concerned when you mentioned he was eleven years old and down to just one pound in weight, as I thought he might be too frail to survive it. Good for him!!
Thanks for your good thoughts W2R. Actually, he weighs nine pounds. He was down one pound from his usual weight of 10 pounds. This is a big weight loss percentage wise, but he was healthy enough to withstand the surgery.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:11 PM   #60
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Today's surgery and tests cost $2,500. I consider this one of the reasons I am frugal - so I can spend money on the things I consider really important. He's just a plain black cat from the shelter, but I really do love him. I can't wait to get him home tomorrow.

Dawg52 – please let us know how your dog did today.
Glad your friend came through the operation well. Hope things go well from here. Wow, $2,500. You are a good mommy.

My dog is spending the night at the vet. Doing some more blood work and will get the results tomorrow. Vet said all this could be due to a tick bite or the dog eating something she shouldn't have. They gave her a shot for her upset stomach and she did eat some food today, so they will be watching to see if she keeps it down. We did the same thing a week ago and she did fine for a few days. If all the blood work shows nothing and she continues to throw up, they may have me take her to Mississippi State's Vet school for test they do not do here like a colon scope. Looks like I could be running up a tab as well but I will do what I need to do.
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