29 June 2010

Oscar's Vet Visit

As you know, Oscar and I had an appointment with Dr. Kurpel this morning. Last night, I had tucked Ocs in next to me, growing increasingly worried at his glassy, half-closed eyes. He was showing no interest in food or water, and I was pretty sure I knew how the conversation with Dr. Kurpel was going to go. I woke up nearly every hour, and I finally woke up just a few minutes before my alarm was set to go off, and started about my day.

To my surprise, Oscar joined me in the bathroom as I was getting ready to go. He had gotten off the bed by himself and walked down the hall into the bathroom. Now, as background, he almost always comes into the bathroom whenever I'm in there (typical cat - he must know what's going on at all times), but for the past couple of weeks, he's had no interest in anything going on. So this was two good signs - ambulating on his own accord and showing interest in old "hobbies." Then he wandered into the kitchen for some water. Then the trouble started. He tripped over the bathroom scale in the hallway. He stumbled in the living room. After he drank some water, he couldn't turn around (whether from sheer exhaustion or inability to manoeuvre, I don't know), so he just laid down in front of the water (which had the bonus of pissing Felix off). But his eyes were no longer glassy - they were wide and alert. He was holding his head up better (although it was still shaky), and he seemed generally perked up.

So, to the vet we went. And, this is when I want to sing the praises (not literally, because that would offensive to your ears) of Naomi who graciously put her day on hold to accompany Ocs and me to the vet today.

Dr. Kurpel checked out his vitals and checked his leg reflexes. She also watched him walk a little bit. He still stumbles when he walks, and he often splays his hind legs out, as if he can't hold them under him properly. She also noticed the same thing that I had with regard to his front leg also starting to get a little wonky. His right front leg is showing some weakness (but I'm wondering if that's because he's using his front legs to compensate for his hind legs), and he's been crossing his front legs when he walks. We discussed next steps. The options she laid out were to go see a neurologist, who she said probably wouldn't be able to tell a whole lot without doing testing such as MRIs, CAT scans, etc., which would involve sedation (read: much expense). And, of course, that would lead to findings, which would lead to, "So, here's what we can do about that." Which leads to more decisions, more procedures, etc. So, basically, it's a whole path I'd be taking Ocs down.

I told her that I'd given it a LOT of thought last night, discussed it with Wise Women (read: Mom and Ria) and decided that it just didn't make sense for a 14-year-old cat who has lived a long, full life and already has chronic health issues (thyroid disease and suspected arthritis). Plus, as Naomi mentioned, with an older cat, the anaesthesia alone is already an increased risk. And, as we all know, with an animal, you can't just explain to them that they're being poked and prodded for a reason and it's all to make them feel better. So, with all of that in mind, I felt pretty strongly against the neuro option.

She said she thought that actually made a lot of sense, and that she would make the same decision for her cat at home, given the circumstances. I felt SO relieved. I said, "Oh good! I was so worried I would leave and you'd talk about me to the other people here, like 'Man, I thought she was worried about her cat!'" She said, "Uh, you've MET me, right?" She said that she'd just told me about the neurologists at Penn because it's her responsibility to tell me about all of my options and let me make an informed decision. So, on to Option #2.

So said Ocs might have some kind of inflammation that could be causing all of this, so we could try a oral steroids. We discussed what the possible side effects of the steroids are, what could happen if we just do nothing, if the goal here is that the steroids help him or just make him not get worse (we're hoping for the former, but we'll settle for the latter), etc. If the steroids work, this will be another medication that he'll be on chronically. If not, we'll need to figure out what to do next.

She and I discussed quality of life indicators. Today, things for him are good. But yesterday and Sunday, they definitely weren't. (Oh, and I learned that purring doesn't equate contentedness. Sometimes, a purr can be a "pain purr.") The plan for now is that I will check in with Dr. Kurpel on Saturday, but sooner than that if Oscar takes a bad turn again.

Once again, I can't thank everyone enough for all the hugs, prayers, and thoughts you've sent our way. It means so much to me that you've been supporting Oscar, Felix, and me through all of this.

1 comment:

  1. Aw poor Ocs. If only cats could talk and tell us what they were thinking, it would make it so much easier for us. I send love and huggles to you and the little guy.