May 24, 1999 12:27 pm, pacific daylight time
Phil, [Max's House],
I'm in a bad way right now. I know you read the cats' stories. Well, Blackie, the cat we got within the last couple of months, the old long haired black kitty cat, with a stiff gait, is in the hospital. He just got finished with a two week course of baytril for his bladder infection (his urine was the color of red wine). He's always breathed a little heavier than the other cats, something I mentioned to Brian. Brian didn't think it was cause for concern because other than that, Blackie acted fine. His bodily functions are normal (except for the infection), he has a healthy appetite and he enjoys affection and rubs. He has never *acted* sick. I became concerned this morning because he seemed to be hyperventilating, but acting normal. I called the vet, they said bring him in. Now. Temp was normal and the vet checked his mouth (gums pink, oxygen still in his system, not turning blue), listened to his heart and did the chest thumping with the stethescope thing. Blackie had already been tested for disease before we brought him into our home. Needed X-Rays for a definitive answer. Not good news. Nothing as simple as asthma. He has fluid around the lungs. They are going to tap his chest to release the fluid, then send some of the fluid out for testing. Once that's done, we can go from there. I'm hoping for the best, I'm hoping that it's not something that can't be controlled. The doc said he may have an old injury (I know that he's been attacked by dogs before, one of the neighbors saw two dogs on him in the street one day and Blackie was just laying there, playing dead. She jumped out of her car and scared the two dogs off and Blackie limped away), could be heart (which I don't think the vet is leaning towards that because Blackie *is* between 8 and 10 years old and acts perfectly healthy, besides the breathing) or some other type of thing that does the fluid.
I'm scared, Phil. I'm really scared. And I'm sad to think that he found his onetruehome, only to die.
Please try to stay calm. You have to think very clearly now. Believe me, I know the fear and anxiety.
Hyperventilating and fluid can be a symptom of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Long term management of this problem is possible, if that's what it is. Did the Vet do an EKG or Ultrasound for his heart? Diuretics may help reduce the fluids in his lungs and a group of medications known as ACE inhibitors (captoril, enalapril) are often beneficial in long term management. Dianne, you know my heart so please try to understand this No matter what the vet says, get a second opinion. Many vets are not experienced in HC and to rule it out or overlook it. Hyperventilation and fluid accumulation are definite symptoms of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. If the vet knows what he looking for he will find it. Older vets tend to rule it out because it was not well known during their training. Some older vets do not stay current and become complacent. If your vet is over 40, get a second opinion from a younger vet 20's to 30's they are more aware of newer techinics.
I will check my sources as soon as I send this and try to find out more information for you.
Dianne, positive or negative, get a second opinion. Please. My deepest hopes and empathy are with you.
I have a gut feeling he'll pull through, my gut feelings are usually right, they kept me alive.
Please, please keep me informed.
My deepest hopes, and very best wishes,
May 24, 1999 1:25 pm, pacific daylight time
Luckily, I have a pretty cool vet. I would think he's late 30s. He goes to seminars and is always reading the latest in the vet journals (which he will read to me, if it fits the situation). When we weren't able to get Benny's cystitis under control, he went with DMSO, after I found information about it on the internet. He's since used it with at least one other kitty with great results.
Even though it looked as if he were hyperventilating, he was acting normal. I've seen my mom hyperventilate and it looked like she was going to pass out. Blackie wasn't anything like this. What the vet is doing this afternoon is tapping the chest to get the fluid out and relieve the pressure. He's then going to send a sample of the fluid out for testing. He's keeping Blackie overnight for observation.
A couple of the things he mentioned was a hernia (not just a plain hernia, but a diaphragm hernia, I think) chylothorax, a different type of *thorax (the fluid is puslike, because of infection, which the vet isn't leaning towards, because of the fact that Blackie just got off of a two week course of Baytril for the bladder infection), or a heart problem. And he isn't leaning toward the heart thing because, besides the heavy breathing, Blackie is acting normal. Phil, this old guy has had a tough life. Someone loved this cat very much, once upon a time. He deserves the best that we can give him.
I'll let you know what the vet says after I call him in a couple of hours. I think one of the reasons I'm so nervous is that last year, one of our dogs wasn't acting right, had labored breathing, seemed to come on awful quickly. Took her in and he took xrays. Turned out she had what he called "snowflake cancer" in her lungs. Not much healthy lung tissue left. We left without our Sandy. (She was mostly black lab with the most beautiful white blaze on her chest, in the shape of a bird taking flight.) We had her cremated and still have her ashes. When the time is right, we'll have a little ceremony for her.
Thanks so much for taking the time to help me out. It helps alot.
I feel much better knowing you're ok.
The hyperventilating and the fluid is what scared me. Sometimes it's wonderful to be wrong! I learned a long time time ago to be prepared for the worst but hope for the best.
These little guys can't tell us everything that's bothering them or if they feel something is wrong. Sometimes is so difficult to know there's a problem, and by the time it actually shows it a big problem.
I'm always feeling my girls (sounds terrible doesn't it?) and checking for little lumps or bumps. I even bought a stethoscope! If they see me with a tube of KY (no no no, not for that, for the thermometer) they take off to parts unknown. "Neurotic" is the applicable description, but "precautious" sounds nicer.
Other than cat stories and tales and mythology, everything that is known about cats can be found in two or three books. I have over 100; and they all say THE SAME THINGS!. If I see a new or different book, I think "oh, maybe it has something I missed" but it doesn't. Same stuff, just different words and covers and another $49.99.
I became pretty friendly with my vet (why not, I probably paid for half his house). He calls me once in awhile as a joke to ask me a cat question, or if I'm ok because he hasn't heard from me for a few days. Ain't that a kick in the head! I'm expecting him to start calling collect soon or adding it to my bill as a consultation charge. I'm kidding, he's a great guy.
I've been pretty lucky at separating the wheat from the chaff. Somehow I always manage to find the good people in a bunch...like you!
All my hopes and wishes are for Blackie's speedy recovery. I know he'll be alright.
May 24, 1999 2:35 pm, pacific daylight time
He died. Cardiac arrest.
the fluid was blood.
May 24, 1999 2:50 pm, pacific daylight time
I'm not okay.
He died, Phil. His soul has been freed from his diseased body.
I'm so so sorry. Try to think of the happiness and love you gave each other, and be thankful for the time you had together. His spirit will never die as long as you keep him alive in your heart.
I just got home and sent you a message before checking my email. I didn't know. Please forgive me.
If you need to talk, please call.
You have my deepest sympathy. He was so lucky to have you.
May 24, 1999 3:32 pm, pacific daylight time
You know, there was a reason he came to us after being on his own for so many years. And I'm glad that the final two months of his life were with us. In our home, he knew love and warmth. He knew comfort. His bowl was always full and, of all the cats, he's the one that got the Fancy Feast every day. Because we knew he was special.
I'm glad he died with us, instead of on his own. Phil, we only knew him a short time, but he made himself at home in our hearts. I'll always have the memories of the *breakthroughs* we had. The races to the garage for food. The purrs when I brushed him. Phil, he was a great cat. An old fighter and he deserved better than life gave him. I wish we could have done more.
I paged Brian soon after I found out. I was emailing a friend when the vet called me. I posted to her "he's dead" and sent it. As soon as I got off of the phone with the vet, it was my friend. She was in tears. And after I talked to her, I paged Brian and told him the news. I know he feels this as deeply as I do. You would have loved Blackie. A grizzled old cat. Fought in many cat wars. Survived dog attacks. Ripped up and scarred. He's about an hour away. My mom comes home tonight and I was going to decorate her house, welcome home. Brian told me to wait and he would help. He's a good man. I am so blessed with the quality of the people I know, even if it's only been a week or so.
Thank you so much for being there for me, Phil. It means alot. We'll be having Blackie Boy cremated and his body will be here. And his spirit will be all around. We'll miss him, but he's in a better place now. I truly believe that.
I truly believe cats have a definite and specific reason for every thing they do. They know when its time to leave us for a better place, where there is no sickness, hunger or suffering.
They have a psychic that we have not even begun to understand. Blackie found you for a reason; the reason is for what is in your heart. You gave him all he needed and all he wanted.
He fought his way through life just to find you; completing his journey and reaching his destination, he can now rest in peace. This is what he wanted.
Be thankful for the honor and privilege he bestowed on you by choosing you to be the keeper of his spirit.
God could not have created such wonderful creatures without preparing a wonderful reward for them. I believe, with all my heart and soul, that Blackie is in a wonderful place and would be sad to see you grieve.
You have indeed enriched his life as he has indeed enriched yours.
If there is anything I can do, please, please let me know.
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