47636The mystery of Rhapsody
- Mar 31, 2013I'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
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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