The last month has been a really long one from a health perspective. Allergies kicked into really high gear for me and not much has helped except some serious cough meds so I can at least sleep sometimes. But the harder thing, in many ways, has been watching one of our cats, Thomas, struggle. Trying to figure out what’s wrong with a geriatric cat who can’t tell you what’s happening…well, not on my top ten list of enjoyable activities.
Over the last month we have been to the vet’s office, and the emergency vet office, several times. Thomas was drooling lakes at some points, sneezing, and had a funny rash over his eye at another. Nothing really helped him. Antihistamines, steroids to reduce inflammation, meds to reduce nausea, all had little effect. Knocked the poor guy out for x-rays of his head, for some dental work, to flush his sinuses…no answers, and he wasn’t feeling any better or drooling any less. No one has ever accused me of being excessively neat or even worried about it, but watching drool slide down the sides of cabinets where Thomas was resting did get a bit old.
Mostly, I have felt so sorry for the poor guy, and worried since we didn’t seem to have an answer that helped.
(Thomas is the grey cat being groomed. I’ll give you photos of him before all this started…he wouldn’t like photos of his face at the moment.)
Finally this week we have a diagnosis. A combination of partial facial paralysis and FOPS, feline orofacial pain syndrome. His nerves are misfiring on one side of his face. So one pupil is often half the size of the other. He swats at his face, probably because the nerves hurt. Eating and drinking have been challenging because his mouth isn’t working quite right, and it may hurt too, so food hangs on his face and around his mouth at times. His fur looks poorly because he isn’t grooming at all. Poor guy.
But at least now we have a diagnosis. Cause? Who knows. Might be idiopathic. Maybe a brain tumor. In either case, there isn’t anything to do but manage symptoms so we’re not going to put him through tons of medical workups. The vet gave him a much larger dose of steroids for now, and Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant which helped to calm the nerves down. And thankfully, it seems to be helping. Thomas isn’t drooling today, and he looks less stressed…or maybe I’m just less stressed since we know what we’re working with finally. He has been, and continues to be, very needy and wants to be close to me a lot right now…follows me around like a dog. I’m guessing he needs lots of comfort for now.
We’ll have to see if the meds help manage this enough to keep a decent quality of life going for Thomas. There is no cure…just management. Paws crossed we can help him feel well enough to go back to some of his favorite spots and activities.