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47636The mystery of Rhapsody

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  • Jim Sinclair
    Mar 31, 2013
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      I'm bcc-ing this post to the Orphan Kittens group (which I first joined
      because of Cricket, April 2010-April 2011), Feline Heart (which I joined
      because of Clipsy, June 2001-July 2011), and Feline Asthma (which I joined
      because of Buttercup, March 2000-February 2012). I have blood work and
      ultrasound reports which I'm not up to posting tonight but will try to
      organize for later posts. I have an echocardiogram report with all the
      numbers in a PDF file and would like to know if the Feline Heart group
      accepts attachments or has a file folder where I can upload that for review.

      Short version: Rhapsody is a one and a half year old neutered male cat,
      born a third-generation stray to a momcat who was described as "skin and
      bones," rescued at approximately four weeks old at which time he weighed 18
      ounces. He's now a tiny adult weighing just over five pounds. He has a
      known history of liver and lung issues, has recently had one course of
      Clavamox and then another course of azithromycin with WBC going up the down
      then up again, plus is on cyclosporine eye drops which don't seem to be
      helping as he's still squinting all the time and having a dry rust-colored
      crust around his eyes, and was just diagnosed on March 18 with a grade 4
      heart murmur and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. There's also speculation
      about possible neurological concerns, and I also suspect there's something
      toxic in my house (which is old, dusty, drafty, damp, and I'm sure moldy).
      That's a lot of complications to untangle.

      Rhapsody has had two episodes in the past week and a half, and an earlier
      episode last year, of emergency hospital visits with weakness/ataxia, pale
      gums, and low body temperature (about 98F). The episode last night also
      included some open-mouth breathing. Additionally he had a brief (like about
      5 seconds) incident of open-mouth panting last week in between his two most
      recent ER visits. In both of his recent ER visits, March 18 and March 29,
      he was placed in an incubator with oxygen while diagnostics were done. In
      both cases no other treatment was given, but after a few hours on oxygen he
      returned to his usual condition (which is not exactly the picture of
      glowing feline health, but at least he's alert, responsive, affectionate,
      purry, and has a normal temperature, pink gums, and a good appetite).

      Blood work from last night's ER visit isn't back yet. They could have run
      it in-house but it would have cost a lot more and the vet knew my financial
      situation is pretty dire. When he saw that Rhapsody was improving on his
      own with the oxygen, he decided to send the blood work out instead. They
      did do in-house RBC, hematocrit, and PCV, which the vet said were "good"
      (sounded surprised when he said it) but I don't have a copy of the actual
      numbers.

      Pending results of the rest of last night's blood work, the ER vet
      recommended another one-week course of azithromycin, following up with an
      internist for an alveolar wash to see what's down deep in his lungs, and
      following up with a neurologist in case these episodes could be related to
      something neurological rather than heart- or lung-related.

      As mentioned above, my financial situation is dire (especially now that
      I've got a second cat with lung issues and a liver biopsy report suggesting
      possible chronic toxic exposure, and I'm afraid to keep my animals or
      myself living in that house). I don't know how I can manage to do *any* of
      the recommended diagnostics, much less *all* of them. Assuming I manage to
      do any of it, I need to prioritize what to do first.

      Question: What would cause episodes like this--extreme weakness, inability
      to walk or even stand up, low temperature, pale gums, sometimes open-mouth
      breathing, overall condition so bad that veterinarians have initially been
      quite pessimistic about his chances of immediate survival--that resolve on
      their own after a few hours on oxygen? Is this more likely to be something
      related to his heart condition, to possible asthma, to liver disease, or to
      a neurological condition as yet undiagnosed?

      Another question: If all he needs to survive these episodes is oxygen,
      where can I get the equipment to do that at home? My Care Credit card won't
      cover another ER visit. If he had another episode right now, I don't know
      what I would be able to do for him.

      Jim Sinclair jisincla@...


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