48568Daisy, April 1993 - 29th July 2013
- Jul 30, 2013Dear All,
My very special girl, my Baby Daisy, who celebrated her 20th birthday in April, left me yesterday evening to join her mum Smudgey at the Rainbow Bridge. I found out some time ago that euthanasia translates as "gentle death", something her mum unfortunately didn't have because of the then vet's actions. I made the mistake with Smudge of thinking all vet's carried out the procedure in the same way and learned the hard way they do not, probably something many people don't realise. I discussed this with her vet last December when Daisy was so ill following a heart attack as I needed her to understand I didn't want the same thing to happen to Daisy. Daisy did have a "gentle death", the last gift of love I could give to her. It doesn't take away the pain but makes it a little easier to bear. I hope you don't mind if I relate what has happened.
Daisy seemed to stabilise quite well after the series of breakthrough seizures in June (she had been on medication for epilepsy since August 2011). She had her monthly checkup and vitamin B12 injection on Sunday 7th July and her heart rate was better than the previous month. Daisy's breathing rate remained stable at 18-20bmp right up until yesterday. She had gained a little weight which was partly due to the extra she had eaten following the seizures, but I also felt she was retaining more fluid in her abdomen and Elly agreed. Her vet didn't want to raise the diuretic doses as Daisy was already on the highest for her weight and with her already having chronic renal failure giving her diuretics was a bit of a balancing act. I asked if it might be time to add the Vetmedin heart medication the cardiologist had said could be tried if the diuretics seemed to not be working so well any more. Her vet was concerned the extra medication might just tip
Daisy into heart failure but contacted him the next day to discuss. The cardiologist said it was worth a try and might just help with reducing the fluid build up so suggested we try it for two weeks and then reassess.
This coincided with the hot weather arriving, not good for heart kitties I was told, and I had a fan near her bed to help keep her cool. Daisy's appetite decreased and I was concerned about starting the new medication at that point, so decided to wait a little. She did improve and started eating more again, but she seemed more unsteady on her back legs and I noticed her head was bowed when she walked. These are classic symptoms of low potassium which also adversely affects the heart muscle, but it had been within range in January and at the last check up her vet did not want to stress Daisy by taking more blood because of the breakthrough seizures and so suggested waiting until the next check up which should have been this coming Sunday. I started the Vetmedin last Tuesday.
By Friday Daisy had the reduced appetite back but was still drinking and taking Liquivite (a liquid cat food very useful during illness/recovery periods which fortunately both Freddie and Daisy like), and some of her favourite Felix "As Good As It Looks" sardine in jelly. I ordered 24 tins of Liquivite direct from the manufacturer last Friday as my usual supplier has stopped stocking it, which ironically arrived this morning.
Early Saturday evening I took Daisy for a walk in the garden and we sat on the bench by the hedge together watching the birds and insects. Before she started having the seizures in August 2011 and at 18 years old, Daisy was still climbing up the trellis to get on the conservatory roof where she had a corner where she would snooze in the sunshine. We walked over the lawn, among the raised vegetable beds and sat for a little while on a bench under the trees. She seemed tired and sat for a little while on the grass before we came back, just before the storm came. There is a large, very old orange blossom in the garden which was planted by my gran many years ago. This year with the hot weather it has been the best it has been for many years, full of blossom with the perfume drifting right across the garden, especially in the evening. I've loved that orange blossom since I was a little girl. Now it will also always remind me of that last precious
time in the garden with my Baby Daisy.
On Sunday I was even more concerned over Daisy's unsteadiness on her back legs and how low her head was when she walked. I eventually decided the vet practice Sunday lunchtime for advice. Fortunately my vet was consulting and offered to see me at the end of her clinic at 2.30pm. I was half expecting to be told it was "time", but after examination she said Daisy's temperature was normal, respiration and heart rates reasonably good, so suggested trying to get some blood and doing an in house test to check the potassium level. Although Daisy's weight was the same as three weeks previously she was concerned there was more fluid on the abdomen. I also thought this was the case and with Daisy's appetite down felt the weight loss was not being reflected on the scales because of fluid build up. Although it was now past 3pm when they normally close, she offered to run the blood test straight away if I wanted to wait for 30 minutes as I would then be
able to take a potassium supplement with me to start straight away if needed. She also said she would give Daisy her vitamin B12 injection a week early, and a diuretic injection to try and remove the additional fluid build up. Daisy was brought back to me to wait for the results which turned out to be surprisingly good in relation to her kidney values, especially given her being on the diuretics since January. Because of this she decided it would be possible to increase the daily diuretic dose. Daisy's potassium was indeed down from January so a supplement was prescribed. The effects of low potassium can be turned around very quickly with a supplement so we were quite positive given the relatively good kidney values, but her vet did say she was concerned there might be something else going on with the heart as Daisy was noticeably quieter than usual. We were due to go back for another check up this afternoon.
Daisy had the first dose of the potassium supplement when we arrived home, lapped it off a tablespoon with relish. She had some water, Liquivite and a little sardine in jelly and settled down for a snooze. I looked in on her several times during the evening, but when I went to give her pheno at 9.30 found her in such a deep sleep it was difficult to rouse her. She went back to sleep afterwards and when I checked an hour later was again in a really deep sleep. At midnight her paws and tail felt cold but her breathing was still between 18 and 22 and she appeared to be in no distress, so decided against rushing her to the ER vets. I settled down for a long night. A one point I fell asleep and when I awoke saw she had changed position and was still breathing steadily, so felt a little better. I had decided if she made it through the night I would ring the vet first thing.
Morning came and she woke up slowly, drank some water and Liquivite, lapped up her second dose of potassium supplement, visited litter tray, and seemed a little better. I decided to wait a while. Morning medications were given around 11am and after a cuddle and a little walk she went back to her bed to sleep. I kept checking on her but by afternoon realised she was back in a really deep sleep from which I just couldn't rouse her. Her paws and tail felt cold, but her breathing, although a little faster than the morning was still under 28bpm. I knew my vet was consulting in the afternoon so rang to ask if she could see us. Daisy didn't wake when I lifted her into the carrier or during the car journey. We left just as another storm came across and at one point I could hardly see because of the torrential rain. The roads were flooded and it occurred to me that if it was too deep the engine might flood and the car breakdown.
My vet lifted a still unaware Daisy from the carrier on her cushion and examined her. She thought the heart had become weaker and was not pumping blood fast enough around the body, hence the cold paws and tail. She said this, combined with some dehydration and weakness from not eating enough, accounted for her semiconscious state. In a younger cat she would have cautiously given IV fluids, but felt with Daisy, as her heart damage seemed to be increasing, if she survived such treatment it would only delay the inevitable for us to finish up once again at this point. She had said to me some months ago that it is often the animal who makes the final decision telling us when the time has come and she felt this was the case now. I knew in my heart that Daisy's last conscious moments yesterday were before she fell into that last deep sleep while she was still at home, safe and comfortable on her bed. I wanted that to be her last memory. She was not
aware of the last journey or that she was at the vets. I did not want her to know, or go through treatment which might not work or kill her (her brother Felix died of a heart attack while having IV fluids for CRF in 2010). I did not want to risk her having another heart attack, or dying from getting fluid in her lungs in the middle of the night with no help available. I knew in that moment she was telling us it was time and that this was the very last gift of love I could give her.
Her vet was wonderful and gave Daisy the "gentle death" I had so wanted for her with, and surrounded by, love, tenderness and respect. She was wonderful with me too, offering me a tissue and taking one herself. She told me that Daisy was a very special and lucky little cat to whom I had given a wonderful life and care. That I had given Daisy an extra seven months of good quality life after a heart attack, which in cat terms equals several years of extra life and this was a testament my love and dedication to her.
Some years ago a dear friend gave me a copy of the poem “Footprints in The Sand”, the prayer showing how God is always with us, especially in times of need. It is a poem to which I always seem to return at difficult times and from somewhere I found the strength to drive my Daisy home for the last time. Today I have been arranging her cremation.
Freddie is very quiet today and keeps coming for cuddles. He is getting and will continue to get lots!
Today has been strange. No more arranging my life around Daisy's medications, no more sleeping for only a few hours a night with one open just in case she became ill, no more worrying about her if I had to go out and then rushing to check on her as soon as I got in. I would have done it for the rest of my life if only she could have stayed with me. There will be many more tears. I have feared Daisy's passing for many months now, ever since she became so ill in December. In the end it was probably the gentlest passing of any of my kitties and that gives me some comfort. My consolation is she that she knew no fear and only peace at the end. I also know Smudge will be waiting for her, finally together again forever. They were inseparable in life and when Smudge died Daisy grieved so much for a while I thought I would loose her too. I know animals grieve, I have witnessed it.
Thank you for listening to me. Some people don't understand, but I know you do. Life is a precious gift and so is love, human and animal. Something to be valued and cherished. Something to be missed when the inevitable happens. Something to celebrate having experienced, regardless of the pain of parting. Daisy, and the love we shared, will always live on in my heart and I will always be grateful to have been chosen to care for her, her mum Smudge and brothers and sister Felix, Freddie and Fleur. I only have Freddie left now; he was 21 on 2nd July and has early chronic renal failure. I make the most of every day with him. Would I do it all again? In a heartbeat.
Thank you all for the help, information and advice I have received to help with Daisy's care. She was my first heart kitty and without your help we might not have had those precious extra seven months.
If it's ok I will stay on the list to maybe help others with what I have learned while caring for Daisy. God bless you all and your kitties.
June and Freddie, and Angels Daisy, Smudge, Felix, Fleur, Scoobie, Tootsie and Simon
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