Monday, September 29, 2014

Goodbye kittens...

Tucker hit weight yesterday pretty much on schedule and this morning one of the shelter workers who lives in this area is going to pick them up and bring them back up to Portland for their neutering and vaccinations and then they will go up for adoption. I had planned for a fun retrospective of them from wee little things to the fun kitties they are now, but my heart isn't in it as I am still so worried about Jack.

Garp has a home with a woman who knows the woman who adopted Baby Maxwell and Baby Faraday (now known as Duckie) so I should get some updates once he is home. It is looking like Tuesday, if not he'll wait till Thursday to go home.

I am not sure if I am going to take any more kittens until I get home from Barkworld in November... and then only if there are any for the fostering.. I have little doubt that I'll cave sometime next week and go begging for kittens, but we'll see.

There is one thing I'm happy I finally got a photo of so I can share it all with you, it is a photo of Tucker's belleh.  It is one very happy belleh..

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Jack and Eli and the horrible no good day

Drunk Eli
 Last Wednesday my two eldest boys went to the vet to have their teeth cleaned.  Eli's mouth looked bad, but I had a feeling it was fairly structurally sound.  There was one spot where he cried out when I tried to clean it, but on the whole he looked good - well when I say looked good, I mean covered in tartar and really needing a dental, but I wasn't worried.

Jack on the other hand..

Jack.  What can I say about my sweet sweet, obnoxiously adorable loving boy who likes to lick my nose and rest his head on mine when I wake up in the morning... lets just put it this way, he is delicate.

When brushing their teeth I have noticed that one of his lower canines had a pretty big caries in it. I really really hated the idea of his losing a canine, but I figure it had to be bothering him.  So caught up in the mess that was his urinating in the house then the thyroid, I had been putting it off for a while. It didn't help that I had a very hard time finding a veterinarian I was willing to put my trust in enough to go back to more than once.

So off I went on Wednesday morning with my two boys.. Jack travels very well in the car.. Eli - not so much.

The plan was to drop them off and then pick them up and take Fleurp in to make sure her seasonal late spring anemia has cleared up.  I got a call half way through the day. Eli had one tooth removed. Jack had five.



I really hate the idea that his teeth were that bad and I didn't know it. He lost all the remaining teeth on his lower right side as well as his canine and one from the left.  I asked about antibiotics and they said he didn't need any. They were given a extended release buprenex that lasted for three days.  Both came home drunk out of their minds. Poor Eli's eyes were so dilated all you could see were black.

Jack tends to get very restless on buprenex, and this was no exception.  He wandered around aimlessly never able to get comfortable. I was afraid to pill him, so I tried to hide his thyroid pill in some baby food. Eli, being a very affectionate drunk, came over to see what was going on. I offered him a little baby food too, and he took one lick and then headbutted the rest so the food was all over him. He then rubbed his head all over Jack and the two of them were covered.

So Thursday they were still loopy, not walking as straight as they normally would, but eating. Jack still hadn't groomed all of the food off himself, and when I got home at the end of the day his mouth seemed like he had been drooling. Eli was now back to his normal self, but my sensitive boy Jack was not. He still seemed restless and drunk. I just assumed he needed more time, so I gave him his thyroid pill in more baby food and went to bed.

Friday.. Jack still seemed off. He was happy to see us, purred affectionately when we patted him, but he was staying very close to the living room and had not yet come to sleep in the bed since the surgery. He also seemed to have had a little diarrhea, which I emailed the vet to report. I tried patting his chest and ended up touching his chin and he flinched pretty badly.

Saturday. Now it is obvious that Jack's mouth is bothering him. It looks like he might have been drooling, or something is going on because the fur around his face is off. He is very interested in the treats I gave him when I pilled him, and he is still interested in everything and affectionate, but still 'stuck' in the living room/kitchen (we have one great room with living room/dining room/kitchen) That afternoon I examine him a little closer and smell something foul in his mouth, and it looked like there was a line of white on top of where his teeth should have been. I saw it when he had the teeth removed, and that was not there. Since I have antibiotics, I decided to give them to him since he had just had five teeth removed, I figure it could not hurt. However, to make it easier on him since I also had a thyroid pill and some more buprenex to give him I grabbed a bag of pill pockets and put the thinnest amount possible around the pill to cover it to entice Jack to eat it. And eat it he did.. and he loved it and asked for more.

I am an idiot.

Because this morning Jack is doing the pee pee dance. Figuring the small amount of glucose/carbs/plants/magickillerjuju that set him off this time couldn't be that bad, I gave him some l-methionine to acidify his urine to break up and crystals that might be there and soothe his bladder and some corn silk to help soothe his bladder as well as his thyroid and his clavamox and some more buprenex.  He continued to dance about, unable to settle.  The question was was he not settling because he was having a urinary issue (not possible I tried to convince myself, there was not nearly enough there to set him off) or because he was uncomfortable about his teeth / the buprenex which tends to make him very restless.  About 15 minutes later he settled down and laid down and seemed to be trying to go to sleep, so I left him for a while.  I wanted to give him some time to let the supplements and medications do their job.  Since he was reluctant to eat his supplements as well as treats offered, I gave him some fluids.  He was not happy about getting them and I only got about half what I would have liked into him. (Interesting aside, he ran way when I said 'Okay, we are done' but I hadn't yet taken the needle out of him. It flung out of him and hit me in the thigh making me bleed quite profusely before I had even realized what had happened)

By 2 PM he wasn't getting better and was laying on his side with his leg up in the air - his sign for his belly hurts - so we packed him up and went to the only emergency clinic in the area that hasn't ticked me off..  (this one was quite lovely and at this point has a five star rating from me) and low and behold he is blocked.. and they want to give him a catheter to help him.  We waited around for the procedure and the vet came out and said he did very well and they flushed a lot of crystals out of him and his bladder was quite spasmodic. So we left, and now I'm home, Jackless..

I have work in the office on Monday, and he will still be at the eclinic until then anyway, but I have a feeling I am going to take a few days off from work. This past week was rough on me to begin with - not sleeping well at all for some reason (it started on Monday) and then knowing my boy was not feeling well didn't help, and now this.  It will be good, because I would like to work on my fundraiser. I want Jack to have I131 treatment for his thyroid condition, and we have had a number of expenses one after the other pile up, and now this.. I'm not broke and we can cover them all but my reserve is getting thin and I worry about what will happen if something else comes up.. I figure if I can provide something that you would like to pay for and it makes you happy, I'll feel good about asking for money from you.  I have a number of cat related items that are just taking up space in my house, and I was thinking of making some cat toys that you might be interested in. I know fundraising is difficult right now, especially going into the holiday season, but hopefully something good can come out of this for everyone :)

My plan (oh like those ever work out for me) is to have Jack have his treatment over Halloween while I am away at Barkworld in GA. I will feel MUCH better about leaving the house for an extended period of time if Jack is in a vet's care, but it is coming up fast and I still need to get my ducks in a row..   Well at this point I have two of my cats in a row...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Baby Sparkle

Tucker, can I have Happy Bear?
and let that be a lesson to you
what? Happy Bear is mine! ~Tucker
That's okay, I'll just nom on the man's knee
What? you don't like that?
can I nom your finger?
wif my itty bitty teef?
Sparkle is all go go go.. and she is a little mouthy, but she is very gentle now with it, and it is really cute and sweet... well once she learns to be gentle with toes..

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Will he or won't he?

What do you think? will he keep his baby blues?  He's is at least eight weeks of age, and he still has fairly blue eyes.. in this picture it looks like you can see some green too, so maybe they are turning.. I wonder if he'll have the same light colored eyes that Muffin has..

Monday, September 22, 2014

Morning Mews

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What I know - Seresto for fleas and ticks, is it worth it?

I have been seeing a lot of advertisements on blogs lately for Serestro, mostly because they have been sponsoring posts on blogs I read.  I am always pretty leery of new products for cats, especially when they are made for both dogs and cats, and I wanted to hold reserve judgement for this product until it had been 'out in the wild' for some time.

Having seen yet another 'blogvertisement' for it recently, I thought it was time to look into it and see what kind of reactions it is getting.  A quick trip over to and a click on the reviews is eye opening.

Before we get into that though, what is Seresto?  Seresto is a collar you put on your cat designed to kill fleas and ticks for eight months and costs anywhere from $50-$80 (there is also a $20 rebate on it if you go to their website). It is made and distributed by Bayer, and according to their website includes two insecticides Imidacloprid (to kill fleas) and Flumethrin (to kill ticks).

Imidacloprid has many brands and formulations for a wide range of uses, from delousing or defleaing animals to protecting trees. It is currently used in Advantage - also made by Bayer. In doing this research I've come to find out that Imidacloprid is one of those most toxic insecticides when it comes to honey bees.

Flumethrin, according to Wikipedia, is used for both fleas and ticks, and is actually used to help control mites in honey bee colonies..

You are supposed to put this collar on your cat and it is supposed to safely and effectively kill fleas and ticks for eight months.  This means the collar slowly releases these insecticides over an eight month period.  Sounds good doesn't it?

Well back to those reviews.  I went to the Bayer website and read the reviews posted there and according to the reviews there, it has a 4.2 out of 5 rating.  I have always maintained I learn far more about a product from the 1 and 2 star ratings than I ever would from the raving reviews, so I asked the site to filter me the 1 star reviews.  There were 152 of them, and most of them were from dog owners claiming the product did not work. Fleas and ticks abounded in these dogs. One cat owner said the collar came off after a few short days. Another cat owner said the collar did not come off when the cat got it's jaw stuck in the collar and had harmed itself trying to get it off.

However, Amazon reviews are vastly different. Granted these reviews are on the cat collars only, but most of the reviews there talk about hair loss, sores around where the collar is, lethargy, neurological issues and in a few instances death.  Talk about scary!  Now granted, even Frontline and Advantage have some cats and dogs who have very bad reactions to them, but one reviewer said two of her cats that were not related had issues.  How many people have issues who do not report them?
If your pet EVER has bad reaction to a medication or insecticide, PLEASE report it to your vet, and ask them to report it to the FDA This is the only way we can protect our pets. A lot of people consider a mild reaction not worth reporting, but it is.
So Seresto has a 4.0 out of 5 rating, with 210 five star ratings and 50 one star rating, but the 1 star ones scare me. If it were just a matter of continuing to find fleas and ticks on the pet, I would be much more open to giving this a try if I had an issue with fleas and ticks, but neurological issues and death? I would be hard pressed to say those risks were worth it.

Might these side effects be from the fact that counterfeit products have made it into the supply chain? Sure. This would not be the first time that counterfeit flea products have made it to mass market. Reading the reviews it seems that many people wrote that they purchased the collar from their vet, which makes this a bit less likely.

So.. Is Seresto worth it? I'm going to say for my cats, who are indoors and never get fleas and ticks, absolutely not. We have gotten fleas in the past and Frontline Plus works well for us when it happens. Fortunately I haven't seen a flea in several years. When I went to the clinic, the vet found it odd that I don't regularly apply it to my cats, and even did a flea check when I said no. I do not believe in using product unless there is a direct need for it. Would I consider it if I had a flea infestation and Frontline or Advantage (purchased from my vet because of those counterfeit products) weren't working? I am glad I do not have to go there.  At a 20% (66 negative reviews out of 316) risk of a problem, to me, that is just not worth it. To you it might be, but now you know to keep an eye out for any lethargy or any negative symptoms.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sponsored Post - Petnostics

A while back I ran across a company called Petnostics. I was floored by the idea and really wanted to a) try out the product and b) share it with all of you, so I contacted the company and asked if they would be interested in sending me a sample to test out.  They agreed.  The delay in my post is because I had a few complications while using the product which I will share with you below, but all in all I still love the idea of the product, and they seem to think my situation was a fluke.  Maybe it was, maybe it was my phone being older, I don't know, but I still support the company.

So Petnostics is a home diagnostic test kit. You collect a urine sample and use their test kit along with an app on your phone to take a photo of the results and do the diagnostics.

Can you understand why I love this? I am a HUGE fan of anything that puts more information in the hands of the pet owner to help them understand their pet and get a handle on what is going on with them. It started out for me when I learned years after the initial diagnosis that I could test my diabetic cat with a human glucometer to find out what her blood sugar levels were instead of having to trapse her down to the vet every time I wanted to know.

I originally contacted them back in May and Stephen was very receptive to my inquiry and sent three samples out to me via FedEx. In each box is a collection cup, a pair of plastic gloves and the diagnostic cover. The cover comes with a multi pad strip on it that once the urine touches it will give you a diagnostic result - much like a PH strip (and urine PH is one of the things measured on here). The app allows your phone to use a photo you take of the cover - you need to line up the squares on the cover with the squares in the app - and it interprets the findings.

The box with everything in side
the diagnostic cover, sealed tight to keep it from being contaminated.
My phone and the app
I was so lucky that Jack just gave me a sample.
waiting the 60 seconds after exposing the strip to the urine.
The app even does the counting for you

I had a bit of an issue getting the squares on the cover (see the ones with the black outline and black square in the middle?) to align where they needed to go in the app, but it probably only took me 10 seconds. Once I got it right, it took the photo automatically for me, and then gave me the results.

Each results is three images long, so I'm keeping the images small so you can see them all together.

This initial result freaked me right out. I was testing Jack because he is my boy with the urinary issues and was peeing inappropriately. I had recently given him a supplement to lower his urine, so I was concerned but not overly so about the very low PH. Ideally it should be somewhere in the 6 range. When Jack starts peeing around the house his PH is usually up near 8. (7.0 is neutral)

What I didn't know was why his bilirubin was 'large'.. and not only large but with three +++'s.. arrgh! So I had to put on my big girl pants and find myself a vet. I know 'too much' and really have severe issues with several vets I have been to in the past, and trusting someone was hard, but I picked one finally and got Jack in. We did a urinalysis on him and his bilirubin was fine. I asked the vet if there was any way he got the above reading (after explaining to her what it was and what was going on) and she did not think it was likely.  Jack was still having issues though, he was still peeing on the bathroom floor so I had the vet do a full work up on him and it turned out my boy is hyperthyroid!

So who knew that being hyperthyroid could cause a cat to pee inappropriately? (doesn't raise hand) well I do now.. cause except for a few incidents that are all mostly or partially explainable, my boy has been pee free since I started him on medication.

But, this is about Petnostics.  So I wondered why the result was off. I wrote to Stephen and told him what was going on, and he asked me which version of the app I was using because they did have some issues with an earlier version of the app. I checked and I was using the current version. See one of the technical aspects of this product is that it can accurately read the results no matter what the lighting situation is. So wondering if that was a one time thing, I set about getting another sample from my boy who will not pee in a box if he is locked in a room with it, but who will apparently pee in a box he doesn't think he is allowed to use, so using the same trick the first time I got a second sample.

This time I got this first result, and I thought it odd. So to see if it was the test, the app, or the urine, I immediately set about getting another photo of the diagnostics on a different surface - the black of the stove - and then I went and took one in direct sunlight on a white painted windowsill.   As you can see I got three pretty different results.

I wrote to Stephen and explained what happened, and at first he thought I waited several minutes between diagnostics, but once I explained it was mere seconds, he was at a bit of a loss. Maybe it is that I have an iPhone 4s and the colors were a bit off because it is older, I do not know. There have been a lot of people who were very happy with the results and who then went to their vet and got similar results from the professional tests.

I still recommend this product. Anything that can get more information into the hand of the pet owner and help them make informed decisions about their pet is a good thing.  I do not know why my results were so far off from the norm, but I am glad they occurred because this test does not test for hyperthyroid and I might have gone on for who knows how long lamenting about what was going on with my boy and freaked that I could not fix it. I still have two more test kits, and I can't wait to try them out once I upgrade my phone.

Would you like to learn more about Petnostics?  Check out their website, their Facebook page, their twitter feed, or their blog. They even have an Instagram account! :)
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