Be careful what you learn

I think I am not going to invite my favorite vet back to do another continuing education event for my staff–ever. She had a really terrific presentation last weekend on managing chronic illnesses, and not one member of my staff wanted it to end. She’s a great presenter, and the information was really useful for us. But Dr. H. told us about a condition I had never heard of or seen. A cat, usually one with a hyperthyroid condition, suddenly can’t lift its head. He or she walks around with the head hanging down. The cause: usually low potassium and possible kidney problems.

What do I get two days later?? My client’s cat, a hyperthyroid guy, can’t lift his head, and it was off to the emergency vet for us. (I’m pretty sure this only happened because I learned about it from my vet two days before.) That was Tuesday…the kitty, J. is still there. His body temp was 2 degrees below normal, white blood cell count a bit too high, and potassium…really too low. And in pain. All of that earned him a nice stay with the 24/7 emergency hospital, with IVs flowing through him full of potassium and pain meds, and probably some other stuff. And lots of blood tests.

I dropped him off Tuesday morning, and came back Tuesday night to bring the vet his meds, and he looked better Tuesday night. Cats with this condition swish their tails madly and it is a telltale sign of neck pain from the hanging head. By the evening he had the pain meds and the tail was still. He was eating, and resting much more comfortably. He looked so much more relaxed that he had earlier.

The vet’s report this morning: his potassium is still dropping, which is worrying. Tail is swishing some more…time for some more pain meds. And some more blood tests to see if his current meds and dosages are right for him. And extra potassium, on top of what was already a pretty good dose.

(This isn’t J. but J. is an orange and white kitty, like our Minh, and I’m sure you need something cute to look at after that heavy news. Minh is saying “Oh no, I hope J. gets better!” )


So I’m keeping as many good thoughts as I can for the poor guy. He’s only 12, which is too young to be going over the Bridge. And he is such a sweet guy. Even though he feels like crap he wants to be pet and he’s pawing at folks through his cage to get attention, and he’s just an affection hog. He’s eating, and that’s good, but I sure hope his potassium starts going the other way before it affects his heart. Lots of tests happening, and 24/7 care from some really wonderful and skilled people.

Hang in there, J. I want to be your pet sitter for many more years to come!



18 thoughts on “Be careful what you learn

  1. I’m so sorry for the little fella. I do appreciate this information. My sister Violet has hyperthyroidism and for the past year-and-a-half one of her thyroid glands has produced a fluid that builds in her neck and she has to have drained every two weeks. So much fluid builds in the two weeks between drainings that it actually shifts her esophagus. I feel for her. At least she seems to be in good spirits.

    Violet’s almost 19 years old — too old for a surgery that might not work since, even after an ultrasound, they’re not quite sure what’s going on in there (plus she has diabetes, which makes recovery more challenging). Anyway, it’s helpful to know about this to be aware for signs. Thank you and I hope your client’s kitty rebounds.

    1. Wow…that sounds like quite the trauma. So sorry for all that poor Violet has to go through!! And thanks for your good thoughts for J.

      1. She’s a trooper. Rumor has it she enjoys going to the vet — probably because she feels better afterward. That and I hear she gets lots of extra attention there 🙂

  2. I have never heard of this! None of my cats are hyperthyroid at least not at this point. I have 2 cats pacing here right now for dinner. A caretaker’s work is never done! (and they are not nice if I’m late!)

      1. Actually, today this poor kitty has been diagnosed with a rare adrenal gland disease…not sure if there will be surgery or not, but at least we know what’s going on now.

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