For the past three weeks, I've taken Polly, Chester and Cara to see Dr. Larry at least once, some times twice a week. The kittens are just NOT “getting over the hump.” They get mildly better for a day or two and seemingly overnight they get very sick. They also don't all have the same symptoms at the same time. I've learned not to freak out when I see Polly's eyes all watery again or Chester sneezing, but...what can be done for them?
Last week, Dr. Larry and I had a long talk. He was very concerned that the kittens have FIP. For those of you not familiar with Feline Infectious Peritonitis, let's just say that it's a death knell for any cat who gets it. It's highly contagious, as well, which means I could have put ALL MY CATS, even Bob Dole, at risk for getting this incurable disease.
I did NOT want to think this is a possibility. I pushed back, saying the kittens were chronically ill, BUT they were thriving, in some way, too. They did PLAY, they ate well, they WERE gaining weight. Yes, they were sick with some sort of horrible URI that wasn't responding to MONTHS of medications, but could it be FIP? Oh no..PLEASE NOT THAT. Please don't make me have to EUTHANIZE MY FOSTER KITTENS!!! I could NOT IMAGINE A WORSE CHOICE TO HAVE TO MAKE. NOT MY LITTLE ONES. NO surely, not them. Granted my life sucks right now, but having to face this would put me over the edge and into a dangerous place.
That's why I couldn't write about it. I was too sick.
So we ran tests, even though Polly fussed and screamed, being the sickest, we decided to do the tests on her. We ran a PCR, which might tell us if she has Calicivirus, Herpes, etc. We ran a full blood panel, a stool sample, bartonella screening, re-snap tested her for FIV+/Feline leukemia. The tests cost $600.00 and many took the better part of a week to get results on.
While I waited for test results to come back, I spent time with the kittens, and their mom, Mazie, too. The kittens slept on me for hours. I didn't mind spending that time not working. My head was killing me. Having a headache for two months is not really fun. I loaded up on painkillers and we all took a nap. The kittens have grown fond of me, in their way. Once in awhile, I get a purr, especially out of Polly. Her coat is now like silk, from the grain-free food. I love to pet her while she snoozes. She sounds like a stuffed up duck when she breathes.
Cara tugs at my heartstrings. At 16 weeks old, she is only barely 3 pounds. She has so much mucus in her, if she eats too fast, she regurgitates her food, then hysterically tries to eat it back up, only to pass it out again. I have to feed her very slowly and still she is anxious to gobble up whatever she can. She is so tiny, with such big owl-green-eyes, I can't help but want to do whatever I can to save her life.
The test results started to come in. Bartonella-negative, Bloodwork, ok, but showed she is anemic, just slightly. Stool sample showed positive for a type of coccidia I haven't heard of and I will have to report on exactly what this was later since it escapes me just now. The PCR was inconclusive-probably because Polly has had so many antibiotics. Dr. Larry feels they have a heck of a herpes virus infection...DUH! We knew that going in! Would he take FIP off the table now? He said, YES, maybe, but he also insisted we snap test Cara and Chester for FIV+/Feline Leukemia. So we did that. Negative/Negative. Thank GOD.
Dr. Larry called a vet he knows in Arizona who works with shelter cats. She said she's seen this before. She suggested we hit this and hit it hard and that would get rid of what ails these cats. The problem is, there goes another $400.00.
Here are the meds...I am deworming them with Panacur, it's gonna blow out whatever parasites they've got. They are getting shots of B12, Zithromax, Baytril, Terramycin for their eyes. Most of this will take two weeks of daily or twice daily application. If the kittens don't hate me now, they will soon. I'd rather they hate me than have FIP any day of the week.
The other problem, as usual, is funding. I've asked so much of everyone that I can't even bear to ask now, so I'll just post this ChipIn and if you can help the kittens, that would be very much appreciated. If you can't, no worries.
These kittens deserve a chance at a healthy, long life. If I can get them over this, then I can start the happier task of finally finding them good homes. For kittens who've been sick almost every day of their short lives, it really would be remarkable to see them healthy-at last.
And if this doesn't work...I'm just not sure where that path will take us next. I won't let them down. I just won't, no matter what.
Even if I find out their Mom has RINGWORM...yeah...surprise! She's got it.