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Bupdate? Updob?

Time flies when you're spending all your remaining credit on Vet bills!

The breathless anxiety I experienced has waned, thankfully. I had the worst outbreak of Eczema of my entire life. Stress induced? YES! I know, this is not about ME ME ME, but when one cat gets sick, we all suffer! I can't begin to guess at how much sleep I've lost or how many bottles of Eucerin I've gone through. I think I've gotten to a point where if I hear Bob vomit, a patch of eczema appears on me somewhere.

Can you believe it's been almost six weeks since Bob fell ill? It seems like a miserable constant that's been going on a lot longer. That said, Bob is now off Doxy, THANK GOD and I only have to give him the teeniest tiny-est bit of Pepcid AC and Reglan. By Wednesday, that will be it. Of course, that won't be it because as of this morning, Bob has a NEW symptom.

Check this out:

Bobs ear.jpg

Bob broke out in some sort of rash a few days ago. HIs scalp turned magenta and it was hot to the touch. He wasn't messing with it, but I certainly worried that he was going to begin having breathing problems on top of the rash. This looked like an allergic reaction to something. The next day it was gone. A day later, oops. It's back, but this time it's raised and bloody.

NOW WHAT?

I spoke with my friend, a Vet Tech named Deb. Deb is always calm. Deb never shows fear. I bet Deb doesn't have Eczema breakouts, either.

Now Deb tells me not to worry if Bob isn't scratching at it. Gee, I haven't SEEN him do that, but I don't watch him all day. He also started HIDING somewhere in the house, which freaks me out. I know cats go hide when they are going to DIE, so I'm not keen on not knowing where Bob is hiding. With all the crap in this house, it's pretty easy for him to melt into the spaces between the piles. He could easily be secretly scratching when I'm not looking OR he rubbed up against some box of itch causing bacteria or who knows what.

Maybe Bob has eczema now?

I'll Budate, Updob or fill you in on the latest news once there is some. Until then, I must go scratch myself and hope that Bob has the good sense not to do the same thing.

Hey! I know! Let's Enter a Contest that can Kill our Cats!

meow mix.jpg

Sure! You think you know your cat so well that you can actually Think Like a Cat? Shove your beloved cat into a carrier and head right down to the open auditions happening across this great country of ours where you and your cat can participate in a FUN (not!) Game Show! But hey, make sure you read the fine print! If your cat is DEAD you get disqualified!

Gosh, that just seems rough to me! Come on already! Where's the fun in that?

What I don't understand, is after reading the mountain of fine print, it never says anything about the "Cat-testants" needing to be properly Vetted before they are exposed to all the other "Cat-testants." Their concern? If the cat would harm or bite someone, not if, say, oh, it has a URI and is coughing all over the place or Feline Leukemia or anything else that is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS BETWEEN OTHER CATS!!!!!!

I hope I missed something in the legal tome that's part of this contest. I hope they have something that states clearly that not only must cats be in "good health" that that health must be proven by a signed document from a Vet. This is the only way to make sure you don't have an outbreak of illness from the one person who didn't bring a perfectly healthy cat to the audition.

My goodness, would YOU enter this contest? Would you want to subject your cat to enormous stress, possible illness, just to make a buck or, ugh, BE ON TV?!

Yes, the potential Grand Prize, which "may be awarded" is a million bucks, but what you and your cat have to succeed at doing for the money is very difficult, at best. I'd have to wonder if it's worth the risk. No thanks. I'd rather stay home.

What do you think?

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.

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