Thursday, December 25, 2014

Larry Almost Died!

Merry Christmas everyone!

You know the classic Christmas story of the family with a pet who gets sick on Christmas and they forgo presents in order to pay for pet treatment? Well, that happened to Larry last night (without the forgoing presents part because we don't get presents anyway). It was so terrifying, but I'm glad I was able to catch it in time to get him some help.

I had noticed that he wasn't eating or drinking, and he had been vomiting and leaving little accidents everywhere around the house. When I checked more closely I noticed that he was actually having bloody discharge from his urethra. I called the pet hospital, but everywhere was closed for Christmas. We ended up taking him to the emergency hospital in order to give him treatment. They gave us a very dire warning: Larry potentially has a blockage and needs to be catheterized or he will die a very painful death from his bladder bursting.

The problem was that the treatment they were recommending cost nearly $2000, which we couldn't afford because my dad's father was dying of cancer in China. The only other option they offered was euthanasia, to spare him the pain. In my opinion, the costs are ridiculously overinflated. The Prazosin tablets cost $21 on the bill, but looking online, they were only 50¢. Still, if it was an emergency, it had to be done. My mom wanted to just take him home and let him die.

Obviously, I wasn't going to let this happen, so after an eternity of fierce arguing, with both the momster and the vet, I was able to wrangle a half treatment, where they would catheterize him for two hours as an emergency drainage. This wouldn't solve the problem entirely, as there would be a 50% chance of the blockage reforming, but I was willing to take it if it was going to be better than a 0% chance at home. It was going to be about $450, which the momster still wasn't keen to accept, even if I was going to pay for it myself out of savings, but in the end, she finally accepted.

After the two hour catheterization, Larry was considerably more perked up. The vet showed us a sample of his urine and it was completely bloody, but they had drained all of that out and pumped in some saline fluid to keep him clean. We took him home and kept him in the bathroom so he could get some rest and try using the litter box in privacy. At first, he could only go a few drops at a time, but it was better than nothing. I did a bit of research online and read the vet report, and it seems that he has idiopathic cystitis (inflammation and a small plug) rather than a blockage, which means he has a higher chance of recovery. Overnight, he went a moderate amount, enough to be considered well and safe, and I have never been so happy to smell cat pee.

Here is Larry, looking as grumpy as usual, which is a good thing. I'm so glad he's better now, but I'm still monitoring him on the hour to make sure he's comfortable and not getting anything else stuck near his urethra. Luckily, with the lifestyle changes, chances of recurrence are far less. We also found out that he's only 2.5 years old, just a baby, and not the 4 year old middle-aged cat we thought he was (he's rescued from another family who was moving, so we didn't have a lot of information).

It's so sad that so much money is necessary to keep a beloved family member alive and healthy, and the ones who can't afford it can only opt for a humane euthanasia. If anything is to be learned from this, it's that it is so important to keep a close eye on a pet, and any behavior changes should be immediately investigated (oftentimes, if you call the vet office and describe the symptoms, they can tell you if it's normal or needs attention). If something is wrong, get help right away, in order to save your pet some pain and you the money.

Have a wonderful holiday season everyone!

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