Thursday, August 25, 2016

Roxanne Gets One Year Distemper Nasal Drops

Update on Roxanne: Rox will receive Azithromax antibiotic to fight bartonella (cat scratch fever.) The med is a once a day, oral liquid, antibiotic used to fight bartonella-cat scratch fever-and other illnesses. Ordered it from Wedgewood Pharmacy (mail order in NJ) and paid extra for next day, and it arrived today. She is expected to need only one course of a 21 day regime. Rox does not have a fever but since she seems run down, she only received the distemper Wednesday, the rabies and leukemia will be next week. The distemper the vet used is a nasal drop. She chose that because it's a one year vaccine. Since we do not know what vaccines she had as a kitten or when was the last distemper, a one year is safer than a three year. Next year, she will receive a three year distemper. And the added benefit is that the drops help fight upper respiratory disease/issues such as her conjunctivitis.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Roxanne Has Feline Bartonella-Cat Scratch Fever Illness

Roxanne, the neighborhood cat who we take care of, who sort of lives with us, has Bartonella-cat scratch fever illness. What is that? Not sure, even after reading about it. It comes from being infected with fleas, from getting flea feces on the cat and the cat ingesting it when it cleans its fur. It causes a range of illnesses/symptoms/complications from fever to sores on eyes, nose, mouth, in the mouth, etc.  You can see some horrible examples at this link.
It can be transferred to other pets and to humans from the cat.
Treatment is one or two antibiotics for six weeks. I read a study that recommended two antibiotics:…/…/2016/05/Treatment_Bartonellosis.pdf
I'll have to ask why. After antibiotics, she'll be tested again, which is about two months from now.
Yes, the others could get it from any infected fleas she's dropped or flea feces she's dropped. Luckily, we had her separated for awhile and I've cleaned. But still... I'll have three of them tested next month when they get their annual shots.

This is another example of why cats need regular flea and tick treatment each month.

Further note on bartonella: it can cause severe gingivitis in cats. What you may think is gingivitis caused by plaque and that a cat is in need of dental cleaning, can actually turn out to be bartonella. The vet should be able to tell the difference because all the gums in the entire mouth will be severely swollen. The cat will still need a test for bartonella but if the gingivitis clears up with an antibiotic treatment, then you know the severity is due to bartonella and not gum disease.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Update Calci Virus Vaccine and Distemper Vaccine

Corrections regarding vaccines: I was wrong. It's not that our vet doesn't recommend the calci virus vaccine. She may have said "We don't do that", or "We don't do a separate vaccine". The calci virus vaccine is included WITH the distemper vaccine they use. Your cat should get the calci virus vaccine IF your vet does not include it in the distemper vaccine. So, ask your vet what they use.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Myrna Died August 19, 2015-One Year Anniversary

Technically, per the calendar, today is the one year anniversary of Myrna Loy's death from HCM. Actually, it was on a Wednesday last year at about 1:20 a.m. when she died. I have been mourning the memory.

She had been in the ER Tuesday, 8/18/15 since about 9 p.m. due to severe CHF-not the first time she had ever been in the ER but the first time she wasn't recovering as well (following another difficult summer, the third year in a row.) Luckily, blessedly, I stayed there that night and waited. It took until midnight before they thought she was recovering. They asked if I wanted to leave, leave her there, or take her home. I said I would think about it and they brought her to me and I had her in the room with me while I petted her and talked to her. She was bouncy, anxious, happy it seemed to be in the room with me and out of the oxygen cage.

But after about 20 minutes she began breathing heavily again and it quickly got worse. I picked her up, took her in the back, told them she needed oxygen again. Then suddenly, as I put her in the cage, she gasped and struggled. She had a sudden heart attack. They tried to revive her and I didn't understand that she was dead. I thought they were trying to get her to breathe. When they told me they couldn't revive her, I told them to stop. She went quickly and I am so grateful to have been with her, that I didn't take her home or this would have happened in the car.

I miss her still. I saw her, talked to her in the house for months after her death. It's only been since May that I see her less. But her photos are all around and here at this page. I'm still working on videos, and photos about her, and her story. I want to write it. But this year-instead of granting me time to take care of her story-has been spent taking care of my father's death (funeral, estate process, etc.), and everything else that is my life.

We all believe our cats are unique, special, and we love them. She was so unique compared to our other cats. She had her ways of demanding food, of letting us know when she needed the litter box (coaching, coaxing, praise, and treats), of playing "cute"-rolling over and twisting her body into four sections at once; she could be very vocal and very chirpy; and she loved to play with certain toys.

I will never be glad that she is gone and now I have "time" to do other things; I will never be glad that I can leave the house and not have to worry (although it took me months to drop that feeling that I have to be back in time for her meds); I will never be glad that she's not urinating out of the box; I will never be glad that I don't have to process her meds. There's no sense of relief in her death.

But there are many, wonderful, joyful memories-she was the first kitten to use the litter box (ironic), the first and only to jump up beginning at 8 weeks to catch a mouse toy with both paws, the second one (to her sister Katharine) to be so vocal and demanding, and the third one to love waffles but the only one to grab it out of my hands as I'm eating it, and the only one to play "cute" the way she did. And more memories, of course.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Vaccines for Cats, Blood Test for Feline Diseases-Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Cat Needs

So, Roxanne, the cat that's not ours but needs our help, is so far, disease free. Still waiting on bartonella test (cat scratch fever) and she should be retested for one of them in a month or so just to make sure she wasn't infected before the blood test or between yesterday and the vaccine. This discussion of which vaccines are necessary for an outdoor cat, which ones the vet recommends vs. what vet websites list; testing for which disease; which disease does/does not get a vaccine, does/does not have a test, etc. is so new! And confusing. I thought HCM was confusing. Our indoor cats received a series of vaccines as kittens and annually the rabies and tri-annually the distemper. But what to get, test, and be aware of for Roxanne is what is new. (And she's responding well to her antibiotic eye drops to cure the conjunctivitis.)
When you have an outdoor cat there's much more to worry about than if you kept it indoors. An indoor cat needs flea/tick monthly med (we use Revolution) to prevent fleas from causing infection/infestations/tape worms; and to prevent mosquitos and heartworm; distemper 3yrs, and rabies annually (there is a three year but our vet doesn't recommend it.) An outdoor cat needs all of that and the feline leukemia (FELV) vaccine which is NOT the same as panaleukemia (distemper.) There is the FIV (HIV vax) that our vet doesn't recommend because it causes a positive test result and may lead someone to put a cat down (if you no longer owned the cat or it got lost.) There's the feline viral rhinotracheitis (herpes virus vax) which our vet doesn't recommend because most cats get the virus and how it affects them may change over time; it's not deadly but can make them very ill (which we've experienced.) There's FCV-(calcivirus) a severe and possibly deadly disease, a vaccine which our vet doesn't recommend (and I'll have to ask why and if necessary for outdoor cats). It could be that many of these are given by vets to kittens and that many adult cats do not need the annual boosters.
You should test an outdoor cat for all of these illnesses. Blood tests can be had for FELV, FIV, and bartonella. A cbc/chem panel test will show signs of an illness, allowing the vet to combine symptoms with blood test results to determine what is the cause and treatment.
Concerns about vaccines are that many have been linked to injection site sarcomas. This is why injection protocol calls for certain vaccines to be injected in certain areas of the body always, and never in a different spot each time the cat receives an injection (front leg for distemper, for example-I think. Don't quote me.) This way, if a sarcoma develops, the vet knows which injection caused it and can report it to the manufacturer, vet journals, whatever else they do with the information. Always check with your vet to make sure they follow a protocol.
Feline vaccines are easily the most contentious subject in veterinary medicine. So we consulted with Catster vet Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM to find the simplest vaccination guide veterinarians can agree on. According to Dr. Barchas, all cats –…

Visiting Cat Conjunctivitis and Other Issues

Rox has tape worms. Vet gave Profender, a med that goes on the back of the neck like flea treatment. Has herpes conjunctivitis in the eye and now receives antibiotic eye drops twice a day, for two weeks. Was tested for major diseases Bartonella, FLP, FLV, etc. and Cbc/Chem panel. Her other vet faxed over records: she hasn't had shots since 2014. (Owner said she was up to date.)

Rox is recovering well and responding well to eye drops. So far, blood work is normal, no heartworms. Waiting on infection test results. She does need to have her teeth brushed and eventually cleaned. We'll begin brushing after eye drops are done.So far, no adverse side effects from Profender (Google and you'll find a history of issues.)

Visiting Cat Has Conjunctivitis

This little girl, Roxanne, has been making herself at home lately. We had her confined to one back room but two weeks ago, began letting her into the living room for short periods but not when our cats were in the room (thank goodness for all of the doors.) However, she either caught a virus outside or inside because she's not well. She had watery eyes Sunday; and watery eyes (no discharge) but slightly blood shot in one eye Monday. Watery eyes can mean a fever. Sunday through today I gave her lysine in case it's the herpes virus. And last night and this a.m. I gave her some Buprenex (a pain and fever reducer, anti-inflammatory agent.) I couldn't get her an appointment yesterday at any of the vets we use nor her own (her owner gave me the info) but she has one today with our vet. She didn't appear sick enough for the ER (no diarrhea or vomiting.) Either she caught one and brought it in, or caught a virus from our cats (they have the herpes virus although it's mostly dormant.) If she caught it from our cats, that means the virus can be picked up indirectly through humans (we hold or pet her and our cats) or furniture or cat bedding-anything our cats have lain on that she came into contact. That's not how it's suppose to passed on. It shouldn't be through bedding that a cat hasn't touched in a few hours. It's supposed to be through shared litter boxes, and food and water bowls, or grooming/cat fights. She's not come into direct contact with our cats nor their litter boxes nor food bowls. We also don't share syringes with her and she has her own bottle of immune liquid. So, we will see how many tests she has today and what they confirm.
Let's see how today goes. I'm hoping her vet will tell our vet what shots and tests she has had. We will test her for everything today and get any further shots in the future when she's better. And I'll have to ask the vet if our cats now need other shots. Typically-if you have a cat when it's a kitten-a kitten gets all sorts of shots and boosters against FLV, FIP, leukemia, etc. If a cat is an indoor cat, it only needs distemper and rabies going forward as an adult. If you don't know if your adult cat has had any of those shots, you should get them for the adult cat if it's going out. So, we will see.
Of course, our HCM cats may only need rabies and distemper and should be indoor cats. And our HCM cats may not be able to get even those two vaccines if they are not doing well because their bodies and immune systems are already compromised (Myrna stopped receiving hers in 2013 because the cardio ruled against it when Myrna was having a difficult summer, a difficulty that would increase over time. So, it was never a good time to get them. But luckily, she never got sick from distemper.)
I'll let you know more later after the vet visit.