Best laid plans are always subject to interruption, and three cats needing lots of care took priority over blogging the last few days.
Two of our own cats are still doing very poorly on the feeding front, despite perfect blood work, x-rays, and ultrasounds. I could pursue more advanced medical diagnoses, but I think two cats – both seeming to be quite healthy – who aren’t eating at the same time must be either environmental or behavioral. Can’t put my finger on anything yet, but I’m trying lots of things (play, different foods, etc. different feeding arrangements, etc.) and continuing to force feed in the meantime. We’re all getting pretty good at the force feedings – done quickly and with minimal mess. Guess I can add that to my cat resume.
The more challenging problem, or at least the more emergent, has been Gilda’s breathing difficulties. Adventures in breathing rise right to the top of the medical concern list. Gilda’s one of the three cats who found herself homeless when her people were evicted from their home. She came in with an upper respirator problem, and it’s only gotten worse over the last five weeks or so.
After going through all the usual antibiotics, we finally had to do a culture to identify the really short list on ones we could use…short meaning two. She’s been responding well to the one the vet chose, but the vet felt there was still something underlying the URI that we weren’t getting at. Gilda had two episodes where breathing was difficult and I had to rush her to the vet. Since she was really congested, we attributed it to that at the time. But this last weekend she had another episode and she wasn’t all that congested anymore, and that landed us at the emergency vet.
I was pretty sure I knew the answer this time, and was so glad to get a vet there who knows me and knows I’m not trying to diagnose for her. But I was pretty sure Gilda had asthma, and the vet thought that was a good possibility. X-rays confirmed it, and with appropriate bronchial dilators/steroids, Gilda is finally breathing well and her congestion is clearing.
All of this, however, makes Gilda a special needs cat. She will need management of her asthma for the duration of her life (and she’s five now.) Our home is, of course, special needs central, so Gilda is joining our household for good.
The steroids are helping her get stabilized, but the very best, most targeted treatment for asthma is an inhaled steroid. I know this, since I’m asthmatic myself, but teaching me to use an inhaler was probably easier than it is going to be to teach Gilda. Still, we’re going to give it our best shot. Another new skill to add to my cat resume. Thank goodness for YouTube and videos – the method is pretty much what I was planning. If you want to see how it’s done, here’s a video.
I’m planning something much like this, but I’ll start with a little less force, and just leave the mask in her room for a day or two with tuna or treats in it to see if she’s start putting her face in it without being forced to do so, and we’ll build from there. Stay tuned for reports!