Posted by: Marie | December 19, 2011

(615) Here we go again

Post #615
[Private journal entry written on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 10:30am]

I guess I breathed a sigh of relief too soon . . .

When my vet arrived at his office, I showed him the worm in the ziplock bag and shared the good news. He opened the bag and took a close look at it . . . spread it out, poked at it . . . and he got a strange look on his face . . . a look I didn’t like.

He showed me that it was not a worm – that it doubled in length when he spread it out. He said he believed it was the inner layer of the cat’s small intestine – he believed that, for some reason, that the entire length of the inner lining had peeled off and then had passed through in one piece.

Photo by Martin Chen

He said one reason this might happen is as an infection with the feline version of “parvo” that usually shows up in dogs. There is no way to test for the virus other than to watch for symptoms . . . and a dying intestinal tract is one of those symptoms.

There is no treatment and it is always fatal. In fact, the dying process is so painful that it is more humane to put the pet to sleep before it gets that bad. The shedding of the intestinal layer would be a sign that it is time to put Bogey down – if, indeed, he does have this virus.

He told me that he needed to look at the “worm” under the microscope to confirm that it is intestinal tissue, but that he was pretty sure it was and he was pretty sure that Bogey would have to be put to sleep.

He headed off to his lab in the back of his office and left me alone with Bogey. I was in tears . . . for the second time in less than 24 hours, I was facing the serious possibility that I’d have to put him to sleep. After feeling the joy of relief this morning, this was doubly hard to swallow.

I called my housemate again. Fortunately, she answered this time. I told her what the vet had said and that I would likely be putting Bogey to sleep. Since she had hand-raised him, I knew she was very attached to him and I suggested she come to the vet’s office to say good-bye to him. She said she would be there in a few minutes.

A few minutes later, my vet came back into the exam room. He saw my tears (I was sobbing uncontrollably due to grief and the stress of the trying to deal with the cat and the recitals at the same time) and he said that I shouldn’t lose hope yet – there was still hope . . .

He said that it was, for sure, intestinal tissue. But, he still didn’t know the cause of the condition. The only way we can gain a firmer diagnosis is to let some time pass. If Bogey gets significantly worse in the next 24-36 hours, then we will know that he needs to be put to sleep. But, if he turns around and gets better, then something else is going on . . . but the vet has no idea what that would be.

It is possible that the cat got into something that was harmful, but he stays in my small suite of rooms except for the few minutes every few weeks that he escapes and runs around the rest of the house. But, my housemates keep their part of the house pretty animal-proof because they have so many animals. So, who knows . . .

If it is not the fatal virus and the cat shows signs of recovery, he said he could do surgery in a week or so from now to remove any parts of the intestine that might have died. He said, in that case, Bogey’s chances would be good.

The vet excused himself again so he could look over the cat’s x-rays taken at the emergency clinic and to do some research on what might be causing this condition. My housemates, Eric and Susan, arrived about then. I filled them in on all that had happened and told them I was getting overwhelmed with all the conflicting information. I asked Susan to help me decipher everything and to help me make wise decisions.

Both my housemates and I are of the same mindset about the suffering of animals . . . it is better to put them to sleep sooner rather than later and to not allow them to suffer. I don’t want to put Bogey through a bunch of pain just so I don’t have to face putting him to sleep. Among ourselves, we decided the best thing would be to put him to sleep, given the odds of what was unfolding.

When the vet came back into the exam room, Susan asked him to summarize what was going on. She knows my vet well – this is a very small community – and has consulted with him before in her capacity as a vet tech. They conversed back and forth. At the end of their exchange she said she agreed with his suggestion to give Bogey a day or two to either get better or get worse.

The vet also asked me if I would leave Bogey with him for a few hours so his wife, who is also a vet, could do an ultrasound on him with her portable ultrasound machine (which is not currently at his office). That would give us a much better idea of what is going on inside of Bogey. If his intestines are dying, she will be able to see that on the ultrasound. I agreed to that plan.

I headed out to my studio sans the cat . . . and now I’m sitting at my desk, eating a little bit of breakfast (lunch?) so I don’t pass out from hunger. I have no idea how I’m going to get everything done in the next four hours . . . deep breath . . . whatever happens happens . . . the kids will do fine . . . it will be okay . . .


Responses

  1. It’s amazing the hospital confused intestinal tissue with a worm.

    I hope the recital went well.

    • Hey, Evan –

      It was buried in a mass of bloody poop . . . their confusion doesn’t surprise me . . . they just scooped it up, put it in a baggy and gave it to me. If they had done more than that, they would have had to charge me a big fee. I’m glad they handled it as they did.

      – Marie

  2. oh marie, i’m so sorry…

    • Hi, Catherine –

      Thanks for the sympathetic thoughts . . .

      – Marie


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