Sorry I’ve been lax on posting an update on Mr. Bob’s status. It’s been a real rollercoaster ride over the last couple of weeks.
When I posted last, we were still seeing the vet that had only seen Mr. Bob twice, and one I had a couple of reservations about. They’re nice enough, and the doctor is a good doctor. But the yellow flags kept popping up, and finally after feeling shut down on one visit, and not given a copy of the labwork, and not really given any good sense of hope, I started to look into different options. The final straw was when I took Bob is for a fluid treatment, and we were placed in a big open room with a huge window looking out at the street and the freeway, and the vet and vet tech were talking loud and slamming cabinets, even while Bob was visibly scared and upset. No, that kind of lack of sensitivity to Bob’s needs was unacceptable. The fact then whenever I asked about being able to give Bob fluids at home kept being dismissed, was upsetting, considering how upsetting it was to bring him in twice a week, how expensive it was to bring him in for a treatment, and how terrible dehydrated he was. I was also worried that they pretty much told me that it was hopeless if we couldn’t get him to eat the special diet wet food, which made Bob gag. In fact, they made me feel it was pretty much hopeless.
I sought out a new vet in the area just to talk about treatment options. The new vet we’re trying out is a local holistic vet, which promotes a raw, high protein diet with supplements and Chinese herbs. Plus, she gave me a bag of fluids and needles to give him fluids at home, as needed, as a matter of course. She just assumed that I would be treating Bob at home.
But, most importantly, she seems to think it’s still pretty hopeful that we can find a place of balance with Bob, even with his terrible numbers. She had an office cat that lived with kidney disease for most of its life, and only died last year at the age of 23. Of course, I don’t know if I can hope that Bob will live that long, but I have some hope that we can get him back to a healthy-ish, happy place and enjoy his presence for many years to come.
Interestingly, the treatment includes some things I wouldn’t have imagined. We’ve got a couple of probiotics to help his kidneys with the processing of creatine. Some powder to put on his meat-based food to bind with the phosphorus. Fluids, naturally, and all the equipment to do that at home. Some probiotics to help his digestion. Because he’s anemic, we have some EPO to help his liver make more red blood cells, and some vitamins to help him out in the meantime. Some “goop” to help coat his stomach to settle the nausea, similar to kaopectate. And some raw beef-based cat food to let him snack on. The weirdest thing she has suggested is to feed him canned pumpkin, to help slow down the digestion of the protein, give him some non-protein calories, and to keep him regular.
I’ll say he’s not happy about any of these items. He doesn’t want to eat anything because of the nausea. He gets stressed out whenever we come at him with pills or goop or fluid or needles. He starts to make gagging motions and immediately fights us, even if it’s something he ultimately will enjoy. And, frankly, it’s a lot of stuff we have to give him, and it takes a lot of time out of the day. It’s tiring for me, and it’s stressful for him. And that is really the most heart-breaking part. The fact that I’m upsetting my lover boy by trying to help him.
So, it’s been a trying couple of weeks. I feel like I’ve become a surrogate vet tech overnight. I’m practiced in giving sub-cutaneous fluids, shots, and whatnot. I’m learning that there are techniques to doing these things that make it a bit easier for both of us. But it’s still a learning process. I’m learning how to do things, and I’m also learning what Bob needs. He pretty much only eats in the morning and mid-day. I’ve learned that if I force feed him at night, he’ll just barf it up. I’ve learned that if I give him 100 cc of fluid twice a day, he absorbs it better than if I give him 200 cc at one time. I’ve learned that if I hold him and pet him while feeding him, he’ll eat more. And if I hold him and pet him near the back screen down and promise him to go outside afterwards, I can get him to eat even more, and not even barf it up. Of course, he still fights me, but not nearly as much.
I don’t know what the future holds. I have some hope that if we can find a way to alleviate the nausea and get him eating again, we can get the rest of stuff in balance pretty easily. His numbers are getting better on each visit. We’re not out of the woods yet, but I’m feeling a bit more hopeful.