Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mojo in Motion

An email from dear M.E. reminded me I owe you an update on the Mojo sitch. I mentioned that he had an ultrasound; results weren't definitive. There is some thickening of his stomach lining which may have been causing his vomiting, which could possibly be cancer (!) or something else, according to the vet. She suggested a series of options, ranging from doing nothing, to doing a biopsy of the stomach lining via an endoscope (a tube down his throat - I've actually had this done myself), to sending or taking him to the veterinary college in Charlottetown, PEI, for further investigation, to - and here she always couches her language very carefully - she "always leave[s] it up to the owners to determine how far they`re willing to go". This is code for euthanasia.

She also said that if we weren't going for further treatment options, steroid shots might mitigate inflammation of the stomach lining which might be causing the thickening and the vomiting.

All of this would be so much easier if cats were transparent!

We pretty quickly ruled out the more invasive and upsetting options including the biopsy and sending him to Charlottetown. We want to keep him around, but not at the cost of making him go through a series of really confusing and upsetting experiences. (Have I mentioned I've had the endoscope? Not. Fun. Even. Drugged.) We were somewhat dubious that the stomach condition was cancer since he was almost completely asymptomatic except for the vomiting and is gaining/maintaining weight. That left making a decision about trying steroid shots - a literal shot in the dark since we didn't even know if his stomach was inflamed.

Happily events overtook us. The vomiting stopped completely - perhaps in part due to him now getting sub-q fluids at home every other day and avoiding dehydration - and he has been in the best possible spirits and health for the past month.

Well, except for the 20 minutes or so every other day when we prepare and administer his sub-q. It is a misery for everyone involved, he tenses and struggles and fights and claws his poor Dad`s hands and wrists to bits, and I don't come away unscathed either. (Second-last treatment we administered the fluids to him in between alternately swabbing both our hands with paper towels so we didn't drip blood all over everything.) After fighting for five minutes or so, he usually becomes more-or-less resigned and  tenses but doesn't actively fight, and we can hold him still enough to get the fluids into him. Then the needle comes out and he casually strolls to the kitchen to wait for the treats he knows are coming.

Aah, good times. We will go through this because it is so worth it due to his current quality of life. Outside of those hated sub-q sessions, he appears to be extremely healthy and happy. Healthier and more playful and happier than he's been in about a year, in fact.

Oh, and we're shopping for leather gloves for Husband.


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Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

...she "always leave[s] it up to the owners to determine how far they`re willing to go". This is code for euthanasia. In our vet's case, that's also code for how much we're willing to spend.

I'm of course glad to hear that the stomach bummers have ameliorated, and that steroids weren't necessary this time around. Has he ever had steroids before? One of our guys, Alnitak, has gone several rounds with prednosolone tablets and they've always done wonders for him in issues that involve inflammation. Our vet calls them "vitamin P". He also hits lots of home runs.

Concerning the struggles with the needle, a couple of thoughts that I'm sure you and Husband have already had, but I'll throw them out here anyway:

1) Kitty straight jackets exist for this kind of issue (our friend Lucile from whom we borrowed one to use with Max calls them "frack sacks".) I can't find one online right now, but I'm sure your vet can steer you toward one if you want. You probably won't want, though, if Mojo reacts like Max did -- I got shredded as much putting the sack on him as I got without it, and it's just one more layer of stress to put on a cat that doesn't like it. But it might be worth just one try with Mojo to see how he reacts.

2) What about giving yourself and Mojo a little break once a week by taking him to the vet for a tech to give him the treatment, while you guys take care of the other two or three treatments? ISTR that you mentioned that it goes more smoothly there, as it did for Max and me.

Please give Mojo some extra scritches from California today, ronnie, and keep us knowing, too.

10:55 a.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Straitjackets. Straitjackets. Straitjackets.

A "straight jacket," of course, is what Rick Perry thought he was wearing in that video.

1:16 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Sherwood - Thank you as usual for your helpful advice. Tonight's sub-q injection went nearly as smoothly as silk - whether this is going to be the pattern going forward or just one good day in a series of bad ones is still to be seen. But it went so well that we're hopeful he's finally getting used to the process.

And your second comment made me LOL :)


9:23 p.m.  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

We used to use an old woolen army blanket to wrap our cat Pinesol before we gave him medicine. no matter how hard he tried to claw, the densely woven blanket was too much for him, and he'd give up struggling almost immediately. (I also suspected that he enjoyed being held in our arms.) afterwards, we'd spring him loose and he never even acted leery when he saw us again with an army blanket (as when we were packing up to go camping). i don't know if these are still around. 50 years is a long time, even for an army blanket. they used to be made in the Amanas in Iowa, but i heard they stopped making them about 30 years ago?? e'en so....good luck with it all. that cat lives a charmed life!! has he written about his experiences yet?

5:28 a.m.  

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