You may remember a post I wrote back in November about Clancy the Cat’s emergency (and hugely expensive) bowel surgery. He made a full recovery and, except for a slight modification of his diet, life went on as usual.
Fast forward a few weeks ago, when Clancy decided to stop eating. He clearly felt awful and by the end of the week, ended up at the emergency veterinary hospital. Fluids were administered, x-rays were taken, blood was drawn, medication was dispensed, but no diagnosis was given. Three vets had a go at the x-rays and all seemed to see something resembling gas in the abdominal cavity. The emerg vet included the observation that Clancy’s intestines were “abnormally positioned”. All three recommended an ultra-sound but I declined, asking instead for a consultation with the veterinary radiologist, who I suspected would be better able to interpret the x-rays than the vets. My vet forwarded the email containing the x-rays files she received from the hospital to the radiologist, expecting to hear back by Wednesday.
When Wednesday came and went with no word, I had to consider my options. It was possible that the radiologist would not be able to determine anything of consequence from Clancy’s x-rays, and I would have waited for nothing while Clancy got sicker. It was also possible the radiologist would render a finding that was sinister and/or required more medical attention that I could not afford. After much thought, I reluctantly decided that it would be best to have Clancy euthanized. The date was set for the following morning.
My vet arrived at my apartment with her tech and we started proceedings. Just as she was filling the syringe with the pre-euthanasia sedative, her cell phone rang. Her assistant answered it.
“It’s the radiologist,” she said, handing the phone to my vet. She was phoning about the x-rays.
Or rather, she was phoning to say that she couldn’t open the x-ray email file. We told her we would phone the hospital and have them send the file to her directly, and to hang tight. Ten minutes later the phone rang again. It was the radiologist.
The x-rays were normal, she said, except for some fluid, indicating possible pancreatitis. Try giving the cat a trial of prednisone, she said. A stay of execution was at hand.
After the g
overnor radiologist’s call, my vet dispensed prednisone (actually prednisolone, a form of prednisone for cats) and left, asking me to keep her informed.
Twenty-four hours after the first dose, Clancy no longer needed pain medication and began to eat. Forty-eight hours later, he no longer needed gastric medication and begged for his dinner. A week later, he no longer needed the appetite stimulant and wakes me up in the morning for his breakfast.
He now is being weaned off the predisone and will be off all medicine in less than a week. He’s slightly traumatized by the administration of pills and liquid medication via syringe, but he’s found that taking Buddy’s spot beside me on the couch is a good a tonic as any.
The patient, taking Buddy’s place on on the couch. Buddy isn’t impressed.