Thursday, April 30, 2015

Eat, Rosie, eat!

The vet decided to try Rosie on mirtazapine, an appetite stimulant. I gave Rosie her first dose about five hours ago. About an hour after getting it she became very alert and sought out some food. She lapped at it pretty well for a bit, and then backed away and smacked her lips more dramatically than I've ever seen. This time it was more than just a couple of lip licks, it involved her salivating far more than normal and throwing her head around and essentially biting and chewing at the air. It almost looked as if she was trying to get something out of her teeth. As the evening has progressed I can definitely tell that the mirtazapine is having an appetite stimulating effect for Rosie, and that itself excites me. However, each time she's finished lapping up food she smacks very excessively and sometimes even spins in a few circles before finally settling back down for a nap.

That being said, I have learned that mirtazapine can potentially cause side effects such as agitation. It can also cause drowsiness as well as lack of coordination and stumbling. Since giving Rosie this drug I believe I have seen potential signs of all of these side effects. I will certainly be keeping a close eye on Rosie, as these side effects could potentially lead to dangerous effects. If I become too concerned by what I'm seeing I'll contact Rosie's vet. From what I've learned they should, if need be, be able to give her an antidote drug to reverse unwanted side effects of the mirtazapine.

I also wonder, though, if I should really put all the blame for Rosie's current condition on the mirtazapine. Honestly, I've reached a point where I'm just stumped. Rosie obviously had (and perhaps still has) pancreatitis, given her initial symptoms last week as well as her bloodwork. But now, especially after seeing her sudden excessive salivation and smacking, it's as if she's suddenly also bothered by her teeth, which are not a new issue for her by any means (her age and other health issues had just previously caused any dental work to be put off). One new thought I've had came to me when I remembered a case from when I used to work at a cat clinic -- in this particular case, a cat presented with pancreatitis and concurrent severe dental disease. The vet at that clinic ultimately thought that perhaps the dental disease -- which included a severe infection of one of the canine teeth -- led to the manifestation of pancreatitis. Rosie's vet has not seen any obvious, outward signs that Rosie's dental disease involves any infected teeth, but now I wonder if there is a link between her dental disease and this bout of pancreatitis.

So, that's where we stand for tonight. Rosie is certainly showing more willingness to eat since receiving the appetite stimulant. But, whether or not it is a side effect of the drug or a sudden side effect of her dental disease, she also seems more agitated, especially after eating. Pretty much, I think both I and Rosie's vet wish she could tell us what's wrong and where it hurts. But she can't, so I will keep doing everything in my power to get to the bottom of this with my sweet old girl.

Still toughing it out.

I apologize for the infrequent updates, as well as for the lack of new pictures to share. I've still been nursing my sweet Rosie, while also trying to use her nap times to continue working a bit on preparing my new home. Things are just a tad bit hectic lately.

So, where does Rosie stand? Well, in terms of her behavior, she seems to be improving every day. She is becoming more like her old talkative self. She sleeps more comfortably now, and she stretches and bathes. Although she is still more dehydrated than she was prior to this bout of pancreatitis, her hydration level seems to improve daily, sometimes not even needing a second round of fluids. And, sometimes she even asks for her breakfast and even gets excited when she sees me approaching with her food bowl. But...

Rosie is still not really, truly eating. She used to slurp up her breakfast and often empty the bowl, and she used to ask for food throughout the day, and when I'd refill her bowl she used to almost always immediately eat at it. For the past few days, though, when given food she does one of two things: 1) She will sniff the food and then smack her lips and walk away without eating anything, or 2) she will take a couple or a few licks and then stop, smack her lips, and walk away. I can tell that she wants to eat, and she often tries to eat, but then she stops and acts as if she is nauseous or as if it hurts to eat.

I have been calling the vet daily with updates and for advice. They're probably getting tired of hearing my voice. Nevertheless, they always give me something new to try or suggest a new medication. Yesterday I went and picked up some pain medication (buprenorphine), as the vet was thinking that perhaps Rosie's dental disease was causing her pain and that pain meds would alleviate that and prompt her to eat. (My old girl needs a dental. If she would get better and eat, I would force myself to push past my fears and would schedule a dental so that her mouth can heal.) The vet noted that if the pain meds don't work then perhaps her teeth are not the primary culprit right now, and we would next try either an anti-nausea medication or go right for an appetite stimulant.

Long story short, after two doses of the pain meds (buprenorphine being a potent, fast-acting pain medication) Rosie's appetite has really not changed at all. She seemed so excited and eager to eat her breakfast this morning, but could only manage a few licks before backing away and smacking her lips. She even tried a second time, but did the exact same thing as the first time. Although I know her teeth are not healthy at this point in time, I still wonder how much her teeth are truly contributing to her current inability to eat well. As far as I can tell, she at times seems to be acting nauseous. She has not vomited (except for once after defecating yesterday, but that's her typical post-defecation ritual), but she acts like food just doesn't quit sit well with her right now.

I will call the vet again this morning in hopes that she will try an anti-nausea medication next. If the vet prefers to go right for an appetite stimulant (mirtazapine), though, I won't resist, as at this juncture I simply want to see Rosie eat like normal. One of the hardest things for me right now is that I can tell my old girl is losing weight. Especially for her 21 years of age, she had been doing great in the weight department, at least up until last week. Now Rosie feels so much more bony and lighter than she used to. Just one week ago today she weighed in at 9.25 lbs, but now I fear that she is well below that. She is eating some, and I am at least once a day mixing some food with her meds and thereby syringe feeding her (which she really quite dislikes), but neither she nor I am currently able to give her the nutrition that she used to get on a daily basis. Therefore, she is losing weight during this frustrating battle with stubborn pancreatitis.

I apologize for any ranting in this or previous posts, but, as I'm sure most of you out there have experienced, it is so frustrating to watch your furbabies struggle through times of illness. I think I'm most frustrated with the fact that Rosie in many regards acts so much better, yet something just won't allow her to eat like she used to.

As soon as I talk to the vet today I will post another update regarding the next step in this battle against pancreatitis. And I will certainly let you know how Rosie does with whichever medication she is given next.

Rosie and I will keep toughing it out in hopes to get her back to this happy, hungry state:
Thank you for all of your purrs, prayers, and patience! Rosie and I appreciate it more than we can describe!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hydrating Rosie.

I spoke to the vet, and she said that it sounds like it would be a good idea to give Rosie subcutaneous fluids twice daily. I will give her 75-100 ml's every 12 hours. If Rosie seems too stressed by this, or if she starts to look or sound like she is getting too many fluids, then I will go back to once daily.

I already gave Rosie her first round of fluids today. Before I did so she was starting to look a bit more lethargic and was refusing food, but after receiving the fluids her appetite picked up again and she made her way to her food bowls (which are roughly a foot away from her on her beloved couch) and lapped some up.

Of course, if Rosie starts to decline and the fluids stop doing the trick, I will take her back to the vet for more IV fluids and any other further treatment she might need. I hope that won't be the case, though, and I would love to see her return more and more back to her old self. I know that pancreatitis is a serious medical condition that can may take a cat (especially a geriatric cat) some time to recover from, but regardless I will continue watching Rosie like a hawk.

A little more on Rosie...

I'm sorry I didn't post an update over the weekend. I've been so consumed with watching Rosie like a hawk that I just didn't make it onto the internet much these past couple of days. So...

Rosie did get to come home on Saturday. The vet called me in the morning to inform me that Rosie's recheck pancreatic SNAP test still indicated that her pancreatic values were abnormal. However, because she refused to eat while being hospitalized, her vet decided to send Rosie (along with a couple of extra medications) home in hopes that she would eat and perk up a bit better in her familiar, stress-free home environment. In some aspects, that is what happened. Rosie did eat a little for me as soon as we got home, but only a very tiny, minuscule amount. She was still pretty lethargic, but that could also be attributed to the fact that she had just spent three days away from home with an IV catheter hooked up to her leg. So, Rosie rested most of Saturday, eating a couple of very small meals throughout the day. She did on occasion still smack her lips as if nauseous, but she never vomited.

Yesterday morning Rosie was a bit brighter. Even though it was a very small meal, Rosie did readily eat when I gave her some of her favorite Friskies food for breakfast. She also was a bit more of her usual vocal self. However, throughout the day Rosie started to decline. By the afternoon she would barely eat anything I put in front of her, taking a couple of licks at best. I noticed that her eye started to look dull and sunken in, her coat started to look very dry, and when I tented her skin it went back down very, very slowly. Obviously her dehydration was getting the better of her again. The vet had told me that, since Rosie was given IV fluids through Saturday morning, I should wait until Sunday to give Rosie her usual subcutaneous fluids. Well, by yesterday afternoon I felt horrible upon realizing that I might have waited a bit too long. So, I immediately warmed up Rosie's fluids bag and admittedly gave her a little more than the prescribed 100 ml's. Within an hour of receiving her fluids Rosie perked up. She ate a couple of small meals, her coat started to look far less dry, and her eye was brighter and less sunken in. She even took a little bath after one of her feedings!

This morning Rosie is still doing relatively well. She actually gave me my usual morning scolding when it got near feeding time, and she ate a decent meal of yet another of her favorite Friskies flavors. She is still far less active and alert than usual, but I am seeing small improvements now -- as long as I keep her hydrated. That being said, already this morning, roughly 12 hours after receiving her subcutaneous fluids here at home, I can tell that she's starting to dehydrate and slow down a bit again. I am going to talk to the vet today, and I will be asking her whether she thinks it is reasonable for me to give Rosie subcutaneous fluids twice daily, since going the usual 24 hours between fluid administrations obviously is not working ideally for her at this point in time.

The vet mentioned on Saturday that if Rosie is not improving by early this week then they would re-hospitalize her. The only problem with that is, as the vet has observed and is concerned about, Rosie simply will not eat away from home. Or at least she won't eat at the vet while hooked to an IV, which Rosie makes obvious that she does not like. Nutritional support is very important in treating pancreatitis, so her going on a hunger strike is not ideal. Therefore, if she can be managed with fluids and medications at home, where she will eat, then that would be great.

I'll make another update post once I talk to the vet. Hopefully I can soon get my sweet Rosie back to this (minus one eye, that is):
Thank for you for all of your purrs and prayers for my sweet old girl!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Another Rosie update!

First things first, when I went to visit Rosie at the vet last night she already looked better! The IV fluids, antibiotics, and overall TLC she's receiving at the vet had already left a brighter look in her eye (remember, she only has one eye). She was very affectionate and purred the entire time I was visiting with her. It pained me to leave her, but I know she is receiving the care she needs.

Rosie's awesome vet called me with a new update this morning. She said that Rosie did great on her fluids overnight and is doing well this morning. The vet informed me that Rosie looks and acts even brighter today, and she is now much more receptive to the attention and affection she's receiving at the vet.

Per the vet's request, I took them some of Rosie's favorite food last night. They did offer her some this morning and said that she was very interested in it, but that she still ultimately turned away from it without eating any. The vet asked that I come visit her again tonight (which I'm more than happy to do!) and see if she'll eat for me. I don't know that she will, though, as Rosie has a history of going on hunger strikes when away from home. Nevertheless, I will see if I can coax her to eat.

The vet will more than likely send Rosie home tomorrow. The vet will do a recheck pancreatic SNAP test first thing tomorrow morning, and if it comes back normal she will most definitely get to come home tomorrow, probably early in the day. If the bloodwork is still abnormal, the vet thinks that she'll still send Rosie home tomorrow, although she'll wait until later in the day so that Rosie can be on IV fluids for a bit longer. The vet hopes that once she's back in her familiar home environment she'll improve exponentially.

On another note, the vet boosted this momma's pride yesterday by saying that not only does Rosie hold the record for their oldest patient, but she also is the most robust geriatric feline patient they have. She indicated that their other feline patient runners-up are 18 and 19 years old, and they both weigh 5 lbs or less. At 21 years old, Rosie currently weighs in at 9.25 lbs.

Now, just to get this tough old cookie back home for some cuddles...
Thank you for all of the purrs and prayers thus far! I can't put into words how much Rosie and I appreciate it!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

It's time for a Rosie update.

I heard from the vet, and she did find a reason as to why Rosie has been smacking her lips, turning her nose up to her food bowl, and overall not acting herself. The vet first informed me that my old girl's renal values look good (they look great, actually), as does her thyroid level. So, after those tests came back normal, the vet decided to use some of Rosie's blood to do a pancreatic SNAP test, and that came back abnormal. Rosie has had pancreatitis in the past, and it seems that she's now having a flare-up.

Truthfully, as weird as it sounds, I'm considering this more or less good news. I'm thoroughly relieved that after three years of fighting kidney disease, Rosie's kidneys are still showing no signs of shutting down. It was also about three years ago that Rosie first had pancreatitis, and at that time it was a truly severe case that involved significant hepatitis. She pulled through that, and since this time we caught it very early and her vet seems optimistic, I have faith that Rosie can pull through again.

One of the worst things for me right now is that Rosie is going to be hospitalized for a couple of days, primarily because she is significantly dehydrated and because she could also certainly use some IV antibiotics and so forth. Although I can say that I'll try not to, I'm sure I'll be the worryingest worrywart during the entire time Rosie is away from home. My vet does allow humans to visit their furbabies during hospital stays, though, so I will be going to see Rosie tonight, tomorrow, and any other days that she'll be staying there. I'm sure I'll be calling them for updates as well, but luckily the staff and doctors are wonderful and patient people and have yet to block my calls.

Unfortunately, the vet did inform me that Rosie's dental disease has worsened significantly since her last appointment. Therefore, once she gets past this pancreatitis, it is likely she will need to undergo a dental. Since I can only stand to worry about Rosie's most pressing ailment right now, though, I'll worry about her teeth another day.

Any purrs and prayers you can spare are still very appreciated! And thank you so much for all of the purrs and prayers you've sent Rosie's way thus far!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Purrs and prayers please!

I'd like to request some purrs and prayers for my sweet Rosie please! I will be dropping her off at the vet first thing tomorrow morning, as she has not been acting herself today.

It actually started last night, when Rosie began acting a bit uncomfortable and did not want to eat her evening meal(s). At that point I pegged it to the fact that she was due for a bowel movement, and she always refuses food when she needs to defecate. She finally defecated late last night, after which she did seem to feel better. Then, although this morning she was a bit quieter than usual, she did eat most of her breakfast, was alert and watched me move about like usual, and purred when cuddled. Since getting home from work, though, I've observed that Rosie is only licking at her food, is frequently smacking her lips, can't quite seem to get comfortable, and simply does not look or act her usual bright self. Also, her usual rough, gravelly old lady's voice has become quite high-pitched in the past day or two, as if her throat is irritated.

So, I called the vet right after getting home from work and scheduled to take Rosie in the morning. There were no appointment slots available tomorrow, so I'll be dropping her off. It always breaks my heart to just leave my furbabies there, as I do like to be with them during their vet visits, but I understand that the vet is busy and Rosie needs to be seen as soon as possible. So I'll drop her off tomorrow morning and then proceed to wait anxiously by the phone until they call me with their findings.

Although I know it's not healthy, I'll admit that I have been a downright worrywart tonight. I know I shouldn't sit here and try to analyze what could be wrong with my furbaby, but I can't help myself. Rosie is one tough cookie of a 21-year-old who has been fighting renal disease for at least three years, and she also has dental disease. Given her symptoms (lip smacking, etc.), Rosie is surely dealing with some nausea. As I typed this Rosie also vomited for the first time in days. She has always been a cat who frequently vomits, but since getting her renal disease under control it has been far less frequent. Renal cats commonly have nausea and vomiting, as the toxins build up and can lead to gastritis and signs of acid reflux. To combat this, Rosie has been on Pepcid AC for years, but it does not seem to be helping her much lately. Her dental disease could very well be causing some of this, but given the sum of her symptoms, to me it just doesn't seem to be the root cause right now.

Rosie will be getting a full blood panel tomorrow, checking her renal values as well as checking for hyperthyroidism, as it seems as if Rosie has lost a bit of weight. Also, up until this past day or two, she had been more vocal and perhaps a bit more restless than usual, which could potentially be explained by thyroid issues.

Needless to say, Rosie is my priority right now. Although it was put on hold today and likely tomorrow as well, all of the painting, repairs, and moving into my new house is finally nearing its end. Luckily, though, I have not yet moved my furbabies to the new house, as I am waiting until everything is a bit more settled. At least that means Rosie is still in her familiar environment and is not being stressed by changing locations.

I'll go ahead and end this worrywart rambling of mine with a picture of Rosie that I took earlier tonight. It is not the best picture, but since my furbaby doesn't feel well I didn't have the heart to harass her for any others.
One tough little cookie.
Thank you in advance for any purrs and prayers you can send my Rosie's way! Your purrs and prayers worked wonders at the time of her eye removal surgery, and they would be much appreciated now as well!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It's someone's "maybe" birthday today!

Evan is (maybe) 2 years old today! I first met him in late May of 2013, when someone dropped him at the front door of the vet clinic where I used to work. A note attached to the carrier explained that a coyote had killed his mother and littermates and had left his hind limbs paralyzed. He was roughly 6 weeks old at the time. Soon after, I backtracked and picked this date to celebrate this tough boy's "maybe" birthday.

For his birthday, I bought Evan his very own tub of yogurt. He won't eat moist food, but he loves yogurt! He already had a little dollop this morning and scarfed it down! I also bought Evan a whole pack of his very favorite toy -- hair ties. He now has a whole rainbow worth of hair ties to play with!

In the hustle and bustle of moving I still haven't managed to dig my camera out, but I hope to do so tonight to get a picture of my furbaby on his special day. In the meantime, here's one of my favorite pictures of birthday boy Evan:
Happy birthday, Evan!!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Popping in to say hello!

Hello! It's been a little over a week since I last posted anything, when I told you guys that I'm in the process of moving. It was a busy weekend, as I spent roughly 99% of it priming and painting. I am painting the entirety of my new house -- as in, every wall, ceiling, door, cabinet, trim, and baseboard was primed and is now in the process of being painted. My family is helping me, but even with all of us it is taking a lot of time and patience. I'll certainly be glad when all of this is said and done!

That being said, I sadly haven't had much time to pull out my camera and snap any shots of the adorable furbabies in my life. But, I will leave you with this oldie but goodie, in which Trapper pretty much sums up how I feel on this Monday morning:
Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Awww Interlude...and an announcement.

This Awww Interlude is brought to you by a certain little corner-sitter...
Thimble likes to send herself to the corner.
Sitting in the corner is so much fun that belly rolls are in order!
Now for the announcement...I haven't been posting a whole lot lately, and I might not be able to for just a little longer. Why? Because I have been a bit busy buying my first house! I'll be doing a lot of painting, packing and unpacking, and putting my shoddy design skills to use over the next week or two. Of course, I'll try to check in and make some posts as often as I can, but if I don't make many appearances just remember that it's temporary. I'll be back!

Now, a little about my new house...First and foremost, I'll still be able to frequently visit with and post adorable pictures of all of the furballs in my life. My new house is very close to my parents' home, in the same neighborhood in which I loved growing up. Still being in the same area as my family means there will be plenty of pictures and stories of all the furballs -- Rosie, Evan, Astrid, Thimble, Toby, Talon, and Trapper. Of course, the move will be a big change not only for me but also the furbabies, and that makes this momma a bit nervous. But, I've already been formulating plans for getting my furbabies acclimated to their new home, so now all that's left is getting the house ready for them.

Happy Easter!