The Famous Hemidactyl

28 Feb

Okay.  So I know that I have been slacking on my posts for the past few weeks and I mentioned on Monday that I was handling issues with Hemi and I would let you know later.  So here it is.

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Before I left for vacation at the beginning of the month, I told my mom that I thought Hemi looked skinnier.  It was like all of a sudden one day I noticed it out of nowhere.  We thought that maybe it was because she was getting a little bit more exercise now that we are letting her roam the whole house while we are at home.  I asked my mom to try to watch how much food she was eating and just keep an eye on her while I was gone on vacation.

When I returned home, mom let me know that she noticed that she wasn’t eating very much and at the beginning of the week she thought maybe it was just due to Hemi being weird because I left.  Then Thursday of my vacation, she threw up her food by her food bowl, which she never does…she has a designated spot in my room where she gets sick.  So Mom made a vet appointment just to be cautious.  Our vet’s first opening was Monday afternoon so by then I was back in town.  We took her to Dr. Hartke and she ran blood tests and a urinalysis and, unfortunately, we did not get good news.

Hemi had issues with her kidneys and they were not functioning properly.  Dr. Hartke couldn’t give us much information without an ultrasound but she said that nothing concerning kidney issues in cats is ever good news.  So the next step?  Ultrasound.

We took her back to the vet and dropped her off Tuesday morning to have an ultrasound by a technician because Dr. Hartke did not do them at her office but had someone come by one day a week if she needed ultrasounds done.  They saw that her kidneys were inflamed and usually that means infection.  Infection was the best of the bad scenarios that we could hope for so Dr. Hartke was going to do a urine culture to test to see if it was for sure an infection but that would take a day or so to see if cultures appeared (meaning it was an infection) so she wanted to start pumping her with fluids and antibiotics to get a head start if it turned out to be an infection.  So Hemi had to stay at the vet clinic for a few days.  Luckily they let me visit whenever I wanted so I got to see her everyday.

Visitation Wednesday

Visitation Wednesday – Buried under a towel (because she loves being covered) and with her IV in

Now, apparently Hemi is not the best patient…imagine that.  She ripped out her IV 3 times from Tuesday through Thursday night, and hissed and swatted at the vet and her assistants.  I don’t think she has ever hissed at me.  Swatted, yes, but not hissed.  So that means she was super stressed out.  On Thursday Dr. Hartke told me that Hemi was also not eating and had thrown up her oral medication that they tried giving her earlier in the day.  I went up there on Thursday after work and noticed she had just pulled out her IV. Again.  She was also laying in her litter box because she threw up on her bed and the IV leaked everywhere in the litter box, causing litter to stick to her and everything else in her cage.

Poor Hem hunkered down in her litter box (don't worry, it was clean at the time)

Poor Hem hunkered down in her litter box (don’t worry, it was clean at the time)

So we had to get her out of her cage to clean it, which meant I got the chance to hold her so I wasn’t too upset with Hemi that she was being difficult. 🙂  They had a wet food can in her cage and I told them that she doesn’t really like wet food and asked if they had any crunchy treats because she loves those.  Dr. Hartke brought me a small bowl of about 15 treats.  I grabbed a few while holding her and she ate them from me so the vet said she would walk away (because Hemi was tense with her around) to see if Hemi would eat the rest.  I put her back in her freshly cleaned cage and hand-fed her a couple more then pushed the bowl to her and she practically inhaled them.  They said it was a good sign that she ate with me because it meant she was just stressed rather than not eating for medical reasons.  She kept that food down and Dr. Hartke decided that she wanted to send her home with all of her oral medications because Hemi only behaved with me and she thought she would do better at home.

So we scheduled a check-up for Monday to run her blood work again to see if any of the medication was helping and I took her home for the weekend.  She immediately relaxed once we got home.

Hemi cuddled up with me on the bed and was happy to be home

Hemi cuddled up with me on the bed and was happy to be home

It wasn’t too difficult to give her the medicine at first (She started getting smarter later though).

Monday I took her back to the vet and we got more bad news.  Her renal levels weren’t dropping and no cultures appeared in her urine sample meaning she wasn’t getting better but it wasn’t due to an infection.  She was getting to the point of chronic kidney disease which leads to kidney failure if the levels can’t be dropped.  Dr. Hartke recommended I take her to a vet specialist in Spring so that’s exactly what I did yesterday.

I left work early because the specialist told me the quicker I got her there, the better.  We waited for the internalist (fancy vet specializing in internal medicine) for a while because she was the only one there yesterday due to the other one being out for the day.  The assistant was very friendly and loved on Hemi when she was in our exam room while we waited for the vet.  She even wrapped her up in a towel because she thought she would like it, which she did.  Hemi was surprisingly calm for being somewhere other than at home.  She even fell asleep at one point.

Hemi all swaddled up in the towel

Hemi all swaddled up in the towel

The vet came in to check her out and after looking over her charts said we can do one of two things:

1) leave her there under their care for a few days while they pump her with fluids to basically detox her kidneys in hopes that it lowers the renal levels and keep pumping her with fluids until she hits a plateau which would mean her levels are as low as they would go.  If they plateau low enough, we could try to control them by putting her on a special diet and she could live up to years but if they didn’t lower very much we were talking about weeks to months depending on how much they lowered, if they even lowered.

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2) send her home with me and keep her on the oral medications she was already on but add an appetite stimulant and nausea medication to see if she would eat more and if her renal levels could lower that way.

The first one was exceptionally more expensive but also a lot more effective than the latter method.  It was a tough decision because I had already spent quite a bit of money on her the prior week but I also wanted to do everything I could to try to save her because she is my baby.  After talking to my mom and Joseph, I decided that Hemi was worth more to me than my money and that after this I would know if there was something we could do to save her and prolong her life or if we would just have to make her comfortable for the rest of her time with us.  So I went ahead and selected the first treatment and left her there with the specialist.

Last night on my way home, I was talking to my friend Gina.  She had to go through very tragic times a while back with her dog Baron that she adopted.  I told y’all a little bit of her story in this “…pure randomness.” post.  She made a very good point last night when we were talking about how expensive it was getting.  She told me, “You either love your animals or you love money.  You can’t love both.”  And it’s so true because I know I would pay whatever I could in order to help my pets.  It definitely helped me feel confident that I had made the right decision to leave her there even though it was pretty costly.

I will keep y’all updated on what I find out.  Hopefully, the specialist can lower her levels with this method and we can save her.  I just can’t imagine my life without her.  I mean, just look at how precious she is…

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3 Responses to “The Famous Hemidactyl”

  1. cassansone February 28, 2013 at 1:36 PM #

    Praying for sweet Hemi, Blairbear… loveyou/missyou!

  2. mauricia February 28, 2013 at 2:47 PM #

    Anyone and everyone that has ever met Hemi would have to admit that she is the coolest cat ever, even if they are not cat lovers. She brings companionship and love to our crazy household. She is also very entertaining to say the least. I feel confident you made the right decision. Love you and love the “Hems”

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