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Weblog of Dion Kesling. Designer in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

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Getting Joey the cat better 9Feb11

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Last week I had a serious case of the flu and was out for about a week. At the same time one of our cats, Joey, our male 10 year old British shorthair cat began to behave differently. We noticed he wasn’t his usual self and we could tell something was wrong.

Yvonne took him to the vet for a checkup. Turned out he had 40C / 104F fever so the vet gave him some antibiotics and a painkiller and told us to come back 3 days later, to take some X-rays, if his condition didn’t get better.

During these 3 days we didn’t see any progress, looked like it wasn’t getting any better. So Yvonne went back to the vet. Someone else was on duty that day. That vet didn’t want to turn him inside out just yet so she gave him another painkiller and we should give him food semi liquid food with a syringe because he didn’t eat.

When Yvonne returned home with him I saw Joey wobbling on his legs of this shot. Having been stuck at home for the past days I got very worried about him cause I could see there was something really wrong with Joey.

The next day there wasn’t any improvement, even after having fed him with the syringe a couple of times, it actually looked worse. I really pushed the vet to see Joey again and examine him thoroughly with X-rays. Still took a long time until we were scheduled in. This worried me more and more. When Yvonne returned home she was alone! They kept Joey for a second exam and X-rays because they found something. But this second wouldn’t be until late in the afternoon.

That message got me really pissed of so I called the vet to tell them I wanted Joey at our house and not in a tight vet cage over there while being sick until it was time for his exam. I also asked what she found that triggered a second exam. Turned out the secretary didn’t let me pick him up because that wasn’t convenient for the vet and that she didn’t know what the vet found!

I thought my blood vessels were about to burst, I was so angry with that answer. I got my sick ass dressed, took a load of pills and drove immediately to the vet to take care of things. Enter human adrenaline rush…

Luckily Yvonne already consulted with another vet at the animal hospital in town what to do. They told us that if he had a tumor they could operate on him right away, that same evening. But at that time we didn’t know what was wrong with him.

Eventually we got to speak to the vet sooner then later. She told us, looking at the stays Joey had a bacterial infection in his left chest. The left chest side was filled with large amounts of puss. She tried to get it out but wasn’t successful because it was to thick!

She told us the puss sample would have to be examined to determine which specific antibiotics would be necessary to cure the infection. But, that would take 3/4 days to get the test results. At that moment I decided we needed to get out of there and go somewhere else to get the shit out of Joey.

In the car we immediately phoned the hospital what to do, luckily they recognized the seriousness of the situation and told us to come straight away and look at Joey.

When we got there the doctor listened to what we had to say and examined Joey again. She told how serious his condition was and that we needed to make decision if we wanted to cure this infection immediately. If we didn’t act now the puss would have pushed his lungs, which it already did, further away and he would suffocate.

We had 2 options to go to where they would have the equipment and knowledge to take care of him. One was Utrecht and one was Gent (Belgium). Utrecht turned out to be full and not willing to take hime (because they are more difficult here in holland with any admission), so our only hope was Gent.

Still had 2 hurdles to take, if they would admit him and if his blood pressure would be ok to take him for an 1,5 hour drive. Fortunately Gent would take him and his pressure was just good enough to drive him. The doctor gave Joey an IV with fluids to get him through trip which Yvonne had to monitor in the back of the car while I drove.

So off we went to Gent with a sick cat and a sick driver at the wheel.

The drive to Gent was quick with no traffic, we had a little trouble keeping the IV attached to the clothing hook in the car due to all the bumps in the road but we managed. The IV didn’t clog up either. Getting to the Gent University faculty for small pets, they were waiting for us to immediately take over the care of Joey and start his treatment. At that same moment another doctor talked to us and wrote everything down what had passed the last couple of days which let up to this moment. I was very impressed at the thoroughness of this care, made us feel comfortable that it would turn out ok.

The doctor made clear to us the seriousness of the situation and that the coming hours and days would be critical if he would make it or not. While the doctors took care of Joey (by setting a drain to get the puss out) we couldn’t do anything for him at that moment so we checked in at the nearest hotel (HI Express) to get some rest and sleep. The doctor told us she would call us immediately if Joey’s situationed changed. Fortunately we didn’t get a call until the next morning, so he made it through the night.

The doctor told us that the puss could not be removed with the drain because of the thickness. They needed to oporate on him to get the whole infection out. They also told us he would need a probe to artificially feed him for the coming days to keep him strong, because he didn’t want to eat himself.

We waited the whole day in Gent to hear from the doctor how the surgery went. Late in the afternoon we got the call that everything went according too plan. They removed the puss and the infections but his left lung was encapsulated (the body does that to protect it self against intruders) and they couldn’t risk removing that too due to excessive bleeding if they would remove it.

Joey was strong enough to survive the operation and had to be kept in an incubator to recuperate, his blood pressure was to low, his temperature to low and his breathing and heart rate were not what it should be. He was now on a feeding probe, a drain to remove the chest fluids, and antibiotics.

update …

I will write more later ... too tired now.

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