Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween from The Fishes


What's Halloween? -Flounder 

Halloween is when you go trick or treating and get treats in your pumpkin

There aren't any treats in this pumpkin! -Flounder

That's debatable little one.  No, you need to put on a costume and go tricker or treating

Out? -Flounder

Okay, maybe not out.. but you will need to put on a costume.

I don't think I like this.

I can see that.

Mr. Pumpkin can wear the costume!! -Flounder

Where are the treats?? -Flounder

Okay, who dragged me into this? -Puffer

Don't you want treats?

I like treats!  wait.. what's a treat? -Puffer

Something yummy to eat. Would you like a treat?

Treats are in the pumpkin? -Puffer

No sweetie, you have to put on a costume for treats

I am wickedly cute!

Wicked! now give me treats! -Puffer

I think you need a flying monkey.. 

Treats!!! -Flounder & Puffer

I'm a pretty flower, treats please! -Guppy

I'm not sure I like this -Trout

Don't owls eat trout? -Trout

I don't want to eat me! -Trout

Oh, Trout! You aren't actually an owl, you are just pretending.

Now what? (Trout, Flounder, and Puffer)

I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself, you guys are just so cute!!

Are we going to get treats now?!?!
(this is actually a photo of three kittens)

Trick or treat!!

What the heck is this *deploys paw o' doom*

*whap whap whap*

Well, these are kinda fun, but we were kinda hopin' for something to eat!


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Kit - the second opinion



Whenever I am faced with possible life ending diagnosis, I like to get a second opinion. Even if the doctor says the exact same thing as the first, I find it very helpful... it puts an end to second-guessing, wondering, and a lot of 'what ifs'.

The second vet, Dr. F, was nice and helpful and personable. I liked him a lot and when I'm back on my own two feet I am going to look into seeing if going to this clinic is an option.  He took another fine needle aspirate to see what he could see and, unfortunately, he is also of the belief that we are not dealing with an abscess. I was fairly certain the first vet was right but having the second look solidified it. My vet had called me about an hour before the appointment and told me that Kit's blood work all looked fine including her thyroid. Except for the great big lump on her throat she's in perfect health.


Sadly, these cells look abnormal and are not puss so we are still looking at something serious. Dr. F also suggested the biopsy, but he was willing to talk to me about the treatment options for anything we might find - something my current vet is unwilling to do, she is not willing to treat what she has not officially diagnosed.

He said there were a number of things it could be. There were two types of cancer, each type has two types, aggressive and benign. If it is aggressive, then we are looking at life ending events. We could do surgery and then chemo and radiation, but with a 30-40% success rate the chances of remission there is a very strong possibility that her last days would be miserable, and neither my husband nor I want this. He is adamant about not putting her through a lot of car rides. If it is benign, then there is a chance that having surgery will give her some extra time, but it too will come at her expense.  The treatment for benign cancer would be steroids, prednisolone in particular.

Then there is the chance it is an infection. The treatment for that is prednisolone and antibiotics.

I know my husband does not want a biopsy. He barely wanted me to take her out of the house for a second opinion... so finding out exactly what we were facing appeared to be off the table. We discussed our options and what removing that diagnostic tool from our toolbox meant. The treatment for any of the options that the biopsy would show us turn out to be the same, except in the worse case, we have opted not to pursue treatment. So we decided to go with the steroids and antibiotics and hope for a reduction in the tumor, hoping that it isn't a tumor but an infection.  Once we made that decision we found a message on the answering machine from Dr. F offering to send the slides of the aspirate to IDEXX to see if they could determine what we were dealing with. This appealed to both of us a great deal, because we would like to know what we are facing, so I took them back to the clinic to be sent off.


So she is on prednisolone twice a day and antibiotics once a day and has been since Friday evening. This morning I examined the lump and I thought it felt smaller... I (and the doctor) used the word golf ball to describe the size and I am fairly certain it is smaller than that now, but I am not sure if it is because I really really want it to be smaller.  Time will tell.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Kit



Kit was born in 2007 in our house. Her mom came here pregnant along with another. I am actually not sure who her mother is as the two cats that showed up were a mother-daughter pair turned into the shelter when whoever had them before realized things were out of control. I had dreams of keeping them separate so I would know which kittens belonged to which nursing mom, but they were having none of that, sharing the duties.  Each cat had four kittens and very quickly that room became overrun with ten very active cats. Kit was extremely slow to put on weight and when she was two pounds many of the other kittens were hitting four. The room was chaos, so I sent the entire family back hoping they would neuter her despite being under the 2.5lb limit the vet required. They did not and sent her back to me where she promptly continued on her mission to wrap my husband around her little paw. By the time she finally made weight, it was painfully obvious she wasn't going anywhere. She is now seven pounds of pure adoration for my husband.


Being a multi-cat household, we occasionally have scuffles and both Kit and Twee have come out on the losing end of those before, ending up with abscesses that need treatment. Fortunately, it hasn't happened often.

Kit has also had some issues with congestion lately, having a lot of coughing and sneezing that we cleared up earlier this year and I have been keeping an eye on her hoping it wouldn't come back. Tuesday I heard some sneezing and when I looked around I only saw Kit in the room. I went and took a closer look at her and she seemed fine, so I wondered if Skippy or Eli might have been somewhere I could not see as they also sneeze from time to time. Wednesday morning I made a point to look at Kit again to make sure I didn't see any nasal discharge. I saw a small speck of something dark and I immediately thought it was blood.  Em's first sign of the cancer that took her was a bloody nose, so I wanted to make sure that I wasn't being jumpy. I looked again and I was fairly certain it was blood, but I couldn't be positive. I went to work with the idea I would check her nose again when I got home. I know that a cat can have a nose bleed when they sneeze a lot, just like humans do. I see it in sick kittens all the time.

When I got home I found a larger speck of what was I was pretty sure was blood on her nose. I wanted to flush her nose out with saline, because if she was just dry or irritated from sneezing I knew it would help, and it would force her to sneeze and I would get a better idea of what was up there. This is when I found the lump.


The lump was on her neck. The implications were not good. It was a fairly recent development, I was sure of that.. no more than a couple of weeks ago and it was easily the size of a golf ball. I wanted it to be an abscess but I could not justify that diagnosis with the blood coming out of her nose. I called the vet in the middle of the night begging for an appointment the next day.

I could not go to the appointment as I was unable to get off of work due to half of the staff being out of the office at an event. My husband took her in, so I am not 100% sure what happened. They ran some blood and they took a fine needle aspirate looking for pus.  There was no pus, so they are pretty sure it is not an abscess.. but as to what it is, they do not know. They want to do a biopsy and the estimate is over $400 for that alone. My husband believes they can not do the biopsy and take it out at the same time.  The vet will call me in the morning with the bloodwork and I will ask for further clarification.

Since Kit does not travel well, we are both very cautious and want to keep her vet visits to a minimum. I am seriously considering taking her to another vet for a second opinion, but my first choice to do so has no appointments for today. It was suggested I call in the morning and see there are any cancellations which I intend to do.


I still want this to be an abscess because anything else is unthinkable. The more I think about it the less I can believe it is because I can't imagine a scenario where an abscess gets into the airway. I seriously fear we are facing an end of life event for her, and that kills me. She's only nine years old.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The unbearable cuteness of kittens


Puffer would like you to know she is very cute.


Guppy just wants to make sure you don't call her late to dinner.



On a personal note, I found a lump on Kit last night. I am hoping that it is just an abscess but she will be seeing the vet sometime today.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The kittens tryout a KONG Naturals Cat Scratcher #chewyinfluencer



This month we were offered a Kong Naturals Cat Scratcher as part of the Chewy.com influencer program where they send bloggers free products to blog about. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it because I've had them before and they are always a hit with kittens and this time was no different.


The scratcher comes with a packet of catnip to encourage your kitty to use it, but it is unnecessary with kittens, who generally do not react to catnip until they are older.


The scratching surface is removable, so you can flip it over if your cat is aggressive and pulls it apart. It is also replaceable.


There are also holes on each side so the kitty can reach in with their paw and bat at the crinkly ball that is suspended in there. The holes are actually kitten sized so the kittens can climb right inside.


Trout absolutely adores this and I have a feeling it will be going home with him because he really loves it. If you check in on the webcams (1,2) you will most likely see them playing on it.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Catching up with the kittens


Things have been going well with the kittens. Trout is doing better. He is up to 1lb 3 oz and has surpassed Guppy in weight. I wish they would put on more weight, but they are eating well and I'm sure in time things will get better in that department.

Guppy and Trout are the snuggliest but I think that is because Flounder and Puffer are just busy playing.

Guppy 

Trout

Puffer

Flounder
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