This is a log I kept during the first days of Egypt's illness.Â It gives a blow by blow, and hearfelt accountÂ of the early stages of the ordeal.Â I need to go through my emails to get the later details.Â
1/5/04 I received a call from the shelter to please pick up Egypt in Madison, NC. He was at the vet and very ill. Glad I knew who I was picking up, because when they brought them out he was hardly recognizable. Last I had seen him, he was grossly overweight, probably about 17lbs if not more.
The cat they brought out was a skeleton with patchy fur. His bald patches are very very yellow. His fur falls out when I pat him and his skin is shedding large dry flakes like somekind of hideous case of dandruff. Yet he is alert and wants to be held and have his head rubbed. I can see every ridge on his skull, feel every bump on each vertebrae in his spine. His hips cave in, he stands unsteadily.
The vet showed me the lab results, the diagnosis of "nonregenerative anemia" is terrifying. can it be reversed? i don't know. They don't know what happend to him, the notes say he was indoors only. The vet is very kind and clearly very concerned about Egypt. He asks me to let him know how Egypt is doing when I leave. I heard him talking to someone else, another vet perhaps, in the back as he was getting a cardboard carrier for me. The other person asked what my plan was and was very happy to hear I was taking Egypt to my vet. I think they feared I was just going to put him down. Egypt seems very alert and very much wanting to live. Hopefully that attitude will carry him through this.
I spent the whole drive back trying not to cry. Put him in a crate in Anshar's room, where he will be away from the other cats but I can hear him easily and get to him quickly. Force fed him some A/D food with MissingLInk suppliment added. I heated a SnuggleSafe and wrapped it in a blanket for him overnight. He seems content and mostly just wanting affection. He wandered around the room a little, then I put him in the crat for the night.
1/6/04: 11am: This morning Egypt is curled up on the Snuggle Safe, I'm glad I put in there for him. Egypt is very cooperative about being force fed, he pushes away but doesn't try to bite or even struggle very hard. He is looking around the room with interest, definitly mor ealert and energetic than he was last night. I left him for a half hour, came back, and he had jumped onto the arm of the sofa to be in a sunny spot! Wow! I didn't think he had that much energy or strength. At noon I gave him some SQ fluids, Lactated Ringers Solution, 50mls. He has a vet appt at 2 today. the food I"m force feeding him is Sci Diet A/D with Missing Link, Pet-Tinic, and Nutri-Cal added.
The fluids definitly perked him up. He walked all over the room & followed me around :) He is still mostly just wanting attention. 4pm: At the vet he weighed 6 pounds and 14 ounces, up from 6 pounds 9 ounces when I picked him up. It could be from the fluids.
The vet was not very positive at ALL about Egypt. He said if he could keep food down (which he has just fine so far) that would be his salvation. Even tho the hemobart test was negative, he still wanted Egypt on Antirobe. 1.5mls twice a day. He said to give fluids twice a day, 100mls each time, alternating Lacated Ringers with Saline. He is extremely concerned wtih the nonregenerative anemia and said that sometimes the bone marrow recovers but there wasn't much to be done except treat the cat for liver problems and hope the bone marrow came back online. He reccomended doing labs again in 10 days, and if Egypt crashed before then we'd do a CBC to see if it was from the anemia. At that point we'd probably have to put him to sleep.
Hopefully Egypt will make it, it will be a long fight, tho. One of the techs asked what was wrong with Egypt's head. I said "that is his skull." She didn't recognize the ridges from his skull, where the neck muscles attach. The vet pointed it out as an indicator of how much muscle atrophy there had been. I've never actually seen those ridges through the skin, before...you're not supposed to be able to see them.
9:30pm: I came home with an assortment of wet & dry foods. Egypt was sitting on his fleece mat, by the heat vent, in front of the space heater, lapping from his water bowl. I rattled some dry Eukanuba & he ate a few pieces. I offered him some Iams Kitten Dry and he started eating for real! god what a relief! I practically hugged him.
1/7/04 10am: I didn't see Egypt whenI went into the room, then he rubbed against my leg. He is up and walking around, looking much more together than he has before. He was wiggly when I gave him fluids & breakfast but I welcome any resistance on his part. He should be a lot MORE resistant! I spent the usual 15+ minutes with him just patting him and rubbing his head. He needs all the extra attention he can get. He definitly appreciates the space heater.
Today 6 fosters will be picked up and returned to the shelter so my load here will be managable. Egypt is going to need a lot of time and energy, and its easier with fewer kitties running around my feet...not to mention the litterboxes won't be such a challenge.
1/8/04: 9pm: I was too worn out yesterday to write much more. only 5 fosters went...Pecan hid when she saw me boxing up cats. That's ok. It is still a big help. Last night something about the way Egypt just looked at his food but didn't eat made me think he was naseous. I gave him a piece of Cimetidine that I have left over from Legume. 20 minutes later, he was nibbling on his Iams Kitten food. It's so nice when I guess right. I'm going to keep him on this. Anything that helps! I"m still force feeding him, of course. 25ml at a time.
At the advice of several cat-rescue friends who have delt with severe liver trouble in cats before I added Milk Thistle to his food. It supposedly tastes awful, but if he minds I can't tell. He resists more, and that is good. Still he is very polite about being force fed & having fluids! I can easily hold him with one hand. One problem with the fluids is that his skin is so thin it is easy to poke through, I have to be very careful! much more so than usual.
His skull has some padding on it now. No longer just hard skull under skin, there is a little give to it. He stayed at the vet this afternoon so I could get my store visits done for work. I gave them a syringe with 25cc of his food in it for his lunch. When I picked him up they were amazed at how cooperative he was when being force fed. They hadn't thought they'd get the whole syringe down. Two of the techs there also said they thought he looked less yellow. I forgot to ask what his weight was! I'll take him in tomorrow to get weighed. I would rather he be weighed on the same scale for consistency.
Cheryl asked me to keep good notes on him, that is rarely a problem! I asked the clinic if they could keep notes when he was there so there would be another log on him independant of mine. This evening he was sprawled out in front of the space heater looking very pleased. I took more photos of him, trying to show the way his spine stands out and his hips cave in. I tried to show how his skull ridge shows, but it doesn't show well in photos.
After his fluids and meds and lots of patting, he went over to his food. I watched him very carefully. He ate 6 pieces, one by one, chewing each one and dropping small bits on his blanket. I will syringe feed him before I go to bed.
1/10/04 7:30pm This morning when I checked on Egypt he had eaten all the food in his bowl, about a quarter cup. He was in front of the space heater and meowed good morning to me. After I gave him fluids & meds he sulked behind the coffee table and refused to come out. This afternoon he was back to being friendly and I spent a few minutes with him just patting him. He still weighs a hair over 7lbs by my scale. He doesn't seem as chipper as yesterday, not jumping onto the couch or folowing me around. Still, he is alert and friendly. He sulked again after being syringe fed. I cleaned his blanket so I coudl tell if he ate during the rest of the day.
This evening he had eaten some more food, and meowed hello when I opened the door. He rubbed and rubbed on me as I drew up his fluids, then tried to slink away when I reached for his blanket to wrap him in. He doesn't really squirm much, but it keeps his feet in place if tries to leave. He again sulked after receiving his fluids, syringe food, and meds. I picked him back up and spent some time just patting him, he perked up with this. His spine still feels as bony as every, every little ridge clearly palpable. His skin feels softer, and his fur is not as dry. I cleaned the crumbs off his blanket again and checked the level of food in his dishes. He still prefers the Iams over the Euk, but is eating both.
1/12/04 8:55pm I took Egypt to the vet's office this morning to weigh him on their scale, which is much more accurate than mine. He weighed 7.02 pounds. I am going to feed him more to try and get better weight gain. He is fairly active, exploring the room and picking out new spots to sleep in. He spent much of the afternoon in the picture window, which gets the afternoon sun. I just hope no one thinks I am neglecting a cat after seeing him there! He continues to eat about a quarter cup of food a day on his own, still preferring the Iams Kitten over the Euk Kitten, but eating both. He even nibbled on Anshar's senior food.
He was very co-operative this morning about his fluids & feeding. I spent extra time with him just patting and holding him. He craves attention more than anything. He is still a bag of bones, and while the ridges on his skull don't stand out starkly anymore the shape of the back of his head is still far from normal. The fluids make it difficult to see his ribs, but they can be felt very very easily. I'm planning on making an appointment to get his blood values rechecked on Thursday, weather permitting. I have just read about a new drug for liver damage in cats and dogs, Zentonil. I coudln't find much information about it on the web, other than a quick description of what it is, which ment nothing to me, and a place to order it. It is only about a dollar a pill, not bad for a new drug, and I will definitly discuss it with my vet tomorrow! I also want to see if they can do a liver ultrasound there to help with diagnosis, since we would like to know the cause of all this!
1/14/04 10:00pm Egypt was quite fiesty this morning, pushing & wriggling to escape his syringe feeding. I actually ended up scruffing him, once scruffed he stopped struggling. I think he knows when I've given him 60mls of SQ fluids. That is the max the syringe holds, and as I get to about 55 he starts trying to get away. He'll be fairly still up to then. He is very annoyed at getting another 40ml after the first batch. I've been getting a lot of dirty looks lately, but he comes right back (usually) for attention.
He has his favorite spots now, and sleeps in the sun most of the day. At night, he hangs out in front of the space heater. He comes to the door of his room and bats at it when he hears me on the other side. He is way too frail to be allowed with the other cats, no matter how much he wants to join them! Its nice that he wants to join in, tho. I've been brushing him with a soft rubber curry comb, he likes it and it helps get some of the loose fur off him. He isn't grooming very well.
1/15/04 5:30pm Egypt was very lively this morning! I ended up hydrating my knuckle when he jumped out of my hold...I haven' tbeen holding him very firmly because there wasn't any NEED to. Just loosely wrapped in a blanket and a hand on his chest. Guess he is geeling much better now! The vet got a good laugh. I think this is why I don't like to use huge needles, I've been using a 22 gauge, cuz when I stab myself they hurt! In spite of his escape this morning he is very lively this afternoon. Good, so fewer fluids didn't hurt - I was afraid to stress him by chasing him around & trying to catch him. He went over and started eating (saying pls don't force feed me?) and I said ok, we'll see how you do. Tomorrow we get his labs done, full specturm, CBC, Diff, liver, kidneys, anything else the vet thinks might be useful.
1/20/04 10:10am The weekend saw a HUGE improvement in Egypt. He has been eating amazing amount of the K/D food! By Saturday evening he felt less bony along his spine. I wondered if I was just imagining it. Sunday he was definitly less boney, not nearly the definition in his spine that I could feel before. His energy level was picking up, he has found new spots to hide in, is walking around more, and just looks much better. On monday I took him in to be weighed, and to find out his lab results (blood was drawn on friday 1/16). He weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces! I was thrilled! Even better, his lab tests show that he is again producing red blood cells. Liver values are getting closer to normal. I asked Dr Means to still order the liver meds to give him every advantage he can have. Everyone commented on how much better he looked overall.
He still looks horribly underweight but is no longer a skeleton with fur. I took a series of b&w photos in the vet's office with my regular (film) camera. He hadn't had fluids that morning but was doing well, so the vet reccomended we cut the fluids to once a day instead of twice. This morning Egypt had finished all his food again (he had an empty food bowl saturday morning) and was again asking for more. He sat in the "fluid spot" and seemed confused when I didn't wrap him up and stick him. Instead I picked him up and cuddled him. He turned his purr motor on full, then got down and ate more.
These photos were taken when I brought Egypt home, you can see the huge bald patches, his skin color (that is not photoshopped) and how dry his skin was.
This photo was taken on 1/16/04, here heÂ is looking much improved, but still not well.
Here he is rubbing on a bag of food. This photo was taken 1/28/04.Â He was putting on weight but his skin and fur took a long time to recover.