Critter Care and Lovin’

What we are thankful for: there’s so many things, you know? But this Thanksgiving we are especially thankful for the wonderful veterinarians we have. Charlotte Street Animal Hospital is a great group of folk.

We took Annie Oakley (cat) in to the vets Monday night. She’s always been a finicky eater and her missing a meal here and there is nothing unusual. But it had been several days and she’d not eaten much at all. Saturday she took herself outside for a bit, Sunday we think she went outside to do her business but that was it. But Monday during the day, she just stayed in a lump and didn’t move.

We took her in and nothing really seemed obvious except she had a high fever (104F, normal is 101F), very very low blood pressure, and inconclusive blood work. They gave her dose of fluids (cats get it under the skin vs in a vein) and we were all surprised at how quickly her body absorbed it. She didn’t seem dehydrated by boy she sure was!

We decided to leave her there overnight so they could give her an I.V. of fluid and medication. That’s always tough to do, you know?

The next day, Dr. Knepshied (our usual vet) and the one from that night (Dr. Amber) tried to figure out what was up with Annie. It could be this, it could be that, it could be something else. Her fever was still up but the blood pressure was getting better. She had started eating but only a little. We got three phone calls during the day, updating us on her condition and what they were doing. She hadn’t seemed painful that night but after the fluids and getting the fever down a little, she was reacting to pain in her abdomen and lower spine. They did x-rays which were normal. No foreign object, no bad disk, no obvious anything. Silly, weird Annie. We went to check on her that late afternoon and to talk to the vet (Dr. Peters), trying to figure out what the hell was up with her. She had eaten some more (they had actual cooked, shredded chicken for her) but as soon as she saw us, she dove head first into the dry food they’d left out and was eating like she was starving. This is not unusual for cats. We took off the soft ‘cone of shame’ they use for cats so she could reach the food easier. She ate a lot and the techs and vet were happy. We were too! We left her there a second night, hoping the continued fluids would help with her fever and blood pressure.

Wednesday morning, the vet called (Dr. Amber) and they discovered that she was reacting more to the abdominal pain than spine. As she was getting better, she was reacting more so they could tell where she hurt and all that. We agreed to an ultrasound. A few hours later, bingo. We had our diagnosis. Pancreatitis. It was a diagnosis that was one we were looking at but had ruled out because the blood work didn’t reflect that. Nope, the little shit tricked us. The gall bladder was normal but the pancreas was enlarged and dark (infection). But the ducts from the gall bladder to the pancreas was huge. Dr. Knepshield had done the ultrasound and said it was the largest she’d ever seen.

The good news is the treatment we’d been doing (antibiotics, I.V. fluids, pain medication) was the typical treatment for what she had so it worked out. Because of the holiday, we brought her home last night. She is acting MUCH much better. Kinda slow still but she’s eating. She’s skittish which is to be expected. Damn it’s good to have everyone home!

Now, to back track a little. We saw Dr. Amber Monday night. They’re open until 9 every weeknight. She called us at 10pm that night to tell us how she was doing. Then, she called us at 8am and 9am to give updates. She’d come in on her day off to help with Annie and a dog that had also come in that night. Dr. Knepshield does surgeries on Tuesdays but she checked on Annie between each one. Then when she had an emergency surgery that afternoon, Dr. Peters stepped in. All of this for one little cat. Then the cooked chicken, then the multiple techs and front desk people that went back to pet and talk to her in efforts to get her to eat. Then Dr. Knepshield doing the ultrasound in between all of her other duties. And then and then and then….This is why we love our vets!

Granted, we sure paid for it! Holy cow, we’ve never had to pay out that much money before. Let’s just say we are on a payment plan. Not as bad as we thought but higher than we’d hoped. Worth every penny. Because there’s no cost you can put onto the obvious care and concern and extra mile these vets went to.