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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
26th-Jul-2012 12:46 pm
Jack has liver disease and pancreatitis and maybe gall bladder stuff; the name for this is apparently triad disease/syndrome. We've ruled out diabetes and thyroid. He may need to be ultrasounded to see if he has any growths or blockages. For today, though, he'll be getting antibiotics and pain meds, and the vet will be teaching us to give him fluids. Yay needles.

Vet: "Are you comfortable giving him fluids?"
Me: "Well, I'll get comfortable."

Because the alternative is to spend a shit-ton of money hauling him to the vet daily. So yeah, I'll learn to give the injections.

I'm still not certain how much he's going to cost, so I'm holding off on launching the auction until I have some idea. Don't want to take more money than we need!

Yes, the house concert tomorrow night is totally still on! Jack loves house concerts. If he wanders over to you during it, give him a little love. I've locked the invite on Facebook down to friends-only so I can post our new address. Please RSVP! If you want to bring a snack food, you can, but you don't have to. Again, suggested donation is $15-$20, and this will be the only place you'll be able to get Becca's new album until September!
26th-Jul-2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
My cat had what sounds like this issue. We're treating him every day with topical steroids, and he's made a full recovery.
26th-Jul-2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, our Sarah's probably-IBD (which can progress very easily to triaditis, and shares a lot of the visible symptoms) responded beautifully to steroid treatment. She's now at the point where she just gets half a small prednisolone tablet every morning, motility pills twice a day and lactulose in wet food, but it was touch and go until we nailed down that combination as the right thing for her.

26th-Jul-2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
I nearly fainted when my vet showed me how to give fluids, but doing it every day I got used to it, and it made me feel better to know that it was making the cat feel better too. After a while, she'd bug me to do it.

The vet gave us 18 gauge needles, which were real harpoons. I bought a box of 20 gauge needles from thrivingpets.com (much cheaper than getting them from the vet, too) which were so much less painful for the cat. Even though giving her a unit of fluids took longer, it was worth it.

Edited at 2012-07-26 05:21 pm (UTC)
26th-Jul-2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
Doing it at home means you can do it in smaller, and thus more comfortable, doses. I'm horrified of needles, but when our Athena needed it, I took a deep breath and tried, and it turned out not to be nearly as bad as I thought, and it got easier with practice. Having two people helps, though, since it leaves someone to pet, and we did it on top of the chest freezer both for height and to keep her from having any traction to attempt to make a break for it.
26th-Jul-2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
Also, treats afterward, if your cat is treat motivated, work wonders.
26th-Jul-2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
We used our kitchen table for much the same reason. It's useful if you have a floor lamp or chandelier you can hang the fluid bag from (we got bags of fluid that we could use for a number of doses because it was cheaper -- this was something like 15 years ago, though, and in a different state with a kind of crappy vet, so I'm not sure the experience applies).

Sub-Q injection is relatively easy, particularly on cats, who have a lot of loose skin (and when they lose weight, they have a LOT more loose skin). One thing to watch with sick cats, though, is that their skin can become fragile and doesn't heal as quickly from the injection. Thus a) smaller needles are better and b) changing the location around helps. (We used 31 gauge short needles for Perdita's insulin, but 31 is waaaay too small for fluids. Still, if you can get "short" needles, it's more comfy.)
26th-Jul-2012 05:29 pm (UTC)
*hug* I'm sorry to read about all this. I hope Jack's expenses are low.
26th-Jul-2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
Ooh, triaditis sucks. Good luck with him.
26th-Jul-2012 05:56 pm (UTC)
We gave Sabrina fluids two to three times a week for the last 15 months of her life. The first week we hired the vet's assistant to come to our house and help us out, and within a couple of weeks, we had it down. Usually I held her while Rachel put the needle in, but we both soloed more than once. And yeah, it does get easier after a while.

Edited at 2012-07-26 05:56 pm (UTC)
26th-Jul-2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
One piece of advice [I don't usually offer unsolicited advice, but I wish someone had offered this to *me*, back in the day].

You can make the experience slightly less traumatic for Jack if the fluids are warmed up. What feels like room temperature in the bag feels very cold to a cat whose normal body temp is higher than a human's.

Once we figured that out, Michael and I would submerge the fluids bag in a tub of hot water for half an hour before. We also would have towels warm from the dryer to wrap our kitty in while we were holding him to give the sub-Q. Phinneas the kitty never LIKED the procedure, but he became much more accepting of it when he could bond with mom or dad in a warm snuggly towel while it was going on.

Good luck.
26th-Jul-2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
How could I forget that? Yes, this. She never liked it, but she hated it less.
26th-Jul-2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
Sub-q fluids are actually pretty easy to give, and most of the cats I've known who've had them haven't particularly minded them.

One trick is "give them a delicious treat, like low-sodium turkey breast slices, while you're giving them the fluids, and they'll associate the fluids with the food." To the point that they'll complain if you're too slow giving them the fluids and treats.

And with our cat, we didn't even need to bribe her. She just learned that, "Oh, they do this thing, and then I feel better," and had no problem with it.

It's very disturbing for HUMANS who have needle phobias. But the CATS couldn't care less. I mean, except for the, "Really, mom? I have to stay IN ONE PLACE until this is done?" part.
27th-Jul-2012 01:03 am (UTC)
My diabetic cat was my aversion therapy for needle phobia. I still need anti-anxiety meds when I have blood drawn or IVs but I don't faint anymore watching the vet poke the pets.

Thank you all in the thread for the tips on sub-q fluids. We're considering it for our eldest cat with renal disease.

Continuing the wishes for Jack's speedy and inexpensive recovery.
27th-Jul-2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
Pre-cooked meats might be problematic. Many have gluten or soy injected (no good contaminating the human), and some will have onion or garlic seasoning as well (these can give the cat anemia).

Roasting small amounts of poultry might be the way to go here. When our cat is having trouble, I'll roast a couple of chicken thighs ($1.50-2) with a bit of salt rubbed over the top, leaving the skin on. Cook, stick in small container or ziptop bag, break chunks off as needed to entice cat (or mix into wet food, once the cat is eating). Two thighs will serve for about a week.

If one makes one's own stock or broth, leaving onion or garlic out of it, that can also serve as cat encouragement.
27th-Jul-2012 12:48 am (UTC)
Much love from this cat-house to Jack and the whole family.
27th-Jul-2012 01:59 am (UTC)
Love to Jack, and all of you.
27th-Jul-2012 02:24 pm (UTC)
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