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The Terrible Case of Mysterious Tummy Trouble

Bob's been off his anti-nausea meds for a week and the vomiting has returned. At first, I hoped it was due to a tiny hairball that he expelled, but later in the day he vomited again and this time it was all his food. My heart is broken. I'm frustrated and angry and tired. I so want Bob to bounce back and stabilize, but perhaps his belly didn't get enough rest or perhaps I allowed him access to too much of that tempting high fat dry food? I blame myself, but in my defense I've been trying so hard to get Bob to eat an adequate amount of food that I will let him have just about anything he wants, within reason.

My search for the low fat canned food that he will LOVE continues. I'm at the point of ordering a case of food, just to try one can. I stopped myself, but you can see I'm struggling. I add baby food, I warm up the food, I try a bit of this, a bit of that. Bob eats a little, then goes away. If I have to feed him 6 times a day, then I would do that, but I just worry he's not getting enough overall.

Bob is thinner and his coat is not so great. I brush him so he looks nice and I do see him cleaning himself, still. He enjoys some play time and he seems to go to Nick or Nora to be comforted by their friendship. Bob's still Bob, but for how much longer? He slips along this slope on a downward track. I know where the bottom will take him. I'm endlessly sad. I can't cure old age, so I take it one day at a time and try to enjoy every purr and take some comfort in every mouthful of food I see him eat.

I could opt to do exploratory surgery on him, but I think it's too much. We don't know how old Bob really is and he may be well into his teens. Is that fair to do to him? I think not. I think he needs to just enjoy a quiet life, with all the supportive care I can give him at home.

Bob never would have lived this long without me adopting him after my Mother passed away. He would have long ago died from neglect-the shame I carry with me. My own, dear, Mother, truly could have been labeled as treating her animals cruelly. She never took her cats to the Vet, even to be neutered or get basic wellness exams. She said it was cruel to frighten them and put them under a knife. She let one of her cats die from a blockage. Once I found out, I stopped speaking to her for months. We always battled each other about this.

We were such polar opposites, I often wondered if I really was her daughter. For someone who would feed any and all animals that came near her home, when those animals needed her most, she turned away and claimed it was "Nature" and to just let them be. So they would die. She would have hated all I've done for Bob, claiming it a foolish waste of money. Just let him go outside until he didn't home one day. That would be her answer. I can't do that. I'm not going to give up, but I sure wish I knew how to cure this mysterious case of Bob's tummy trouble.

Off Meds

Bob's list of medications is down to only taking Doxy to kill off that haemobartonella parasite. Other than that, the meds to keep him from vomiting are long worn off. From what I can tell, Bob has been successfully keeping his food down this week. He's had a bit of that nice fattening dry food and kept that down, too. I'm VERY glad!

Bob's appetite has been all over the place. His love for dry food really keeps him going, but I can't offer it to him all the time. I just can't. It's too much fat. That said, at least he's interested in eating most times and even if he doesn't eat a lot, he eats. He'll pick at the other cat's bowls, too, so this is all good to me. In the last two days, Bob's been a bit more frisky, as well. He was playing rather spritely and he was laying belly up for the first time in well over a year. He looked very content.

Although he's still very thin, Bob's still hanging in there and that's what matters to me. It's also been two weeks since he's been to a Vet, which I am VERY grateful for—more than anything else. Keeping Bob home to relax and recover is the best medicine I can think of and it seems to be working.

Are we all done talking about Bob? Nope. Still don't know what was WRONG with him, but he'll have a blood test in a few more weeks to check some of his levels and perhaps that will tell us more OR perhaps I should stop wondering and just enjoy the boy!

The Jury is Still Out

Bob continues to pass the days without much change. As of last night he is off Flagyl and now I will begin to worry again. Will he be able to keep his food down? This is a big week for Bob. If he can continue to eat, at least small meals and not vomit, I think he'll be all right. He still has one more Cerenia to take, which will keep his belly quiet, but by later in the week, the true test will come. This is where I'll start to know if Bob is slipping down that slope or if he has recovered enough to suffer more simply from "Old Cat" ailments, than from anything in particular.

Bob's PLI test came back SlIGHTLY elevated. Well, gee, they FINALL did the test AFTER he'd been getting IV's for 2 weeks, so sure, the results are not remarkable. They suggest to repeat the test in two weeks. Really nothing has been found so far, other than the haemobartonella.

Bob's appetite fluctuates and I'm complicating things by continuing to try new foods to encourage him to eat and eat more than just a lick of broth. This morning he ate really well for me and that was great. He'll also happily eat that nice fattening grain-free dry food. He ate so much of it that he vomited it all back up. A big fist-size blow out. After that I've been more careful, letting him have access to small amounts and he's been keeping that down. He only gets the dry once per day and at such a small amount, I'm not going to sweat it.

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Napping Buddies

Napping Buddies

Nora and Bob enjoy dreams of happier days to come.

Three Weeks Ago Today It Began

I've had a hard time getting myself to put words together about Bob's mysterious health problems. It might be due to just being tired of the worrying, the runs to VREC in Norwalk, the waiting for test results and the constant search for something Bob will eat that's NOT high fat, grain-free dry food.

Bob had his endoscopy done and the biopsies taken. The results came in just this morning. Nothing remarkable was found. The toxoplasmosis test came back negative and the results for his PLI test are pending. Bob's ALT values, which have been notoriously high for over a year, have dropped way down to 170 (from over 500, previously). I don't know what's causing the improvement. I'm grateful for it but it still makes me wonder how a cat with crappy Liver function get that to turn around? He's basically been getting IV's and not much in the way of meds until after he was released last Saturday evening, so why are things improving?

Bob continues to be on Doxy, Cerenia and Flagyl. His appetite sucks. He has waves of depression and lethargy, followed by purring, jumping up on the bed (which is very high up, so it's great he can still make it), grooming himself and will even chase after an occasional toy. He has interest in food, but I've been experimenting with different foods and most of them do not appeal to him beyond just a few test bites. I know the Doxy can give him an upset stomach and the Flagyl might be killing off his appetite as well.

Oh and by the way, Nora has become Bob's best friend. They nap together all the time. I'm really glad Bob has some feline support.

Sleep the Day Away

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Haemobartonella Felis

I'm not sure why the Vet is not more interested that Bob's Bartonella test came back positive for Haemobartonella Felis or Mycoplasma.

This effects Bob's red blood cells and can really make him sick, even die. He's being treated with Doxy, as mentioned in my last post, but I wonder how much this is putting a strain on Bob and if the treatment will help him feel MUCH improved?

Bob's night in the hospital passed without much incident. He vomited once. Is on his IV. The re-checked ultrasound showed some improvement in his pancreas. At noon, Bob will be sedated, the scary part of his day, and he will have the endoscopy done and biopsies taken. Hopefully, he will wake back up from sedation and be ready to come home later today.

All this has been like reading a mystery novel that's slowly beginning to reveal a thrilling conclusion.

What IS making Bob sick?

All Aboard the Bob Dollercoaster!

Bob is back in the hospital.

We're still trying to get at the bottom of what ails him. They did find out he has an infection that came up in his Bartonella test, though he does not have Bartonella. I'll post that finding when I get the details, but I do know the result of this infection is anemia and he will need to be on Doxycycline.

Bob is having his ultraound repeated and will have an endoscopy done tomorrow. Will this determine anything? Probably not, but I'd rather do this, than have him chopped open. Bob is an old man. Surgery will have to be a last resort for him, plus, I think he's getting a bit better. Even though his vomiting continues, he hasn't vomited his food for 3 days and when he does vomit it's a small quantity of foam or rarely, bile.

I also got so fed up (pardon the almost pun) with Bob not wanting to eat that I decided to go with my gut and pulled Bob off his "prescription" diet and put him back on his regular food. I feed him low fat, single source protein already, so it's fine as it is. Yes, Bob is off eating RAW but only because Bob is a senior and he has FIV. If, for some reason, I didn't handle his raw food properly, I would not want him to get sick and it IS a bit rich for him to handle. I would feel fine giving my other cats the raw as they don't get raw exclusively and they're all young and in fairly good health, knock wood.

Lastly, here's to Dr. Larry for whipping up a firestorm so Bob can get more focused help from the vets at the hospital. I really appreciate Dr. Larry's passion and determination not to let me, and especially, Bob down.

I also want to thank you all for your supportive words, your helpful advice and affection. This is a rough road. My friend, Deb, calls it the Bob Dollercoaster! I couldn't agree more.

And now for something completely different

A few months ago, I was contacted by Anne, a very nice lady who works for Yahoo. She asked for permission to use a photo I took of my kitty, Petunia, as reference art for their new series of animal themed emoticons. The series; Emoticats™ went live today!

Tunie is Famous!! "Talk to the Paw" Emoticat™ Icon released today!

To view the page on Yahoo, just visit HERE

Here's the original photo

I know!

Fed Up

I wish to God the f-ing Doctors would stop over-diagnosing Bob and get down to what is wrong with him before he dies on me. Now they say he has slightly elevated thyroid so he's on thyroid meds now. Of course the second he went on the meds, he stopped eating. He won't eat the food he is supposed to eat. He won't eat it warm, with tuna water on it. No. He might eat the grain-free dry food the other cats get, but he can't handle that!!!!!! I am watching Bob waste away on me while these Vets tell me to just take it slow and it's ok that he vomits then doesn't eat for 12 hours or more.

If someone doesn't figure this out soon, Bob is going to DIE. I don't have the expertise to know what to do for him. All I do is fumble around, clean up his vomit, treat him with loving-kindness as much as I can and try to get him to eat what he is supposed to eat, when he is supposed to eat it. I am TIRED. The stress and anxiety is driving me to the brink.

It's been 16 days. When am I going to get some answers that aren't guesses and that start showing me that Bob can turn around from this???!!!!

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