So apparently Giuseppe felt left out of all the veterinary attention his siblings have been getting and decided to have his own emergency visit! He’s okay now, but wow, I’m feeling overwhelmed.
I unexpectedly spent the very early morning hours of Sunday at MedVet with Giuseppe after a sudden incident of acute ataxia. It started about 12:30 a.m. when I was preparing my enewsletter for Sunday morning delivery. Giuseppe jumped up onto the end of my desk and walked along until he was in front of me. I noticed he looked a little wobbly as he walked but I thought he was slipping around on the papers strewn about. But then he sat down in front of me in a kind of awkward position, then got up to step over the pencil cups and get into his basket and practically fell into the basket.
I picked him up and carried him into the kitchen to set him on the floor and watch him walk. He walked to a food bowl and crouched down and started eating. I thought maybe he had hurt one hind paw or leg with a little tilt in his gait. But when he got up again and headed back to my office I could see he was wobbling side to side a little more as he went, then stopped and crouched down when he was really swaying. I got a treats container and shook it to see if he would respond, look at me and follow back into the kitchen. He did but was wobbling even more. When he tried to make a turn he fell over sideways though he got back up.
I just put him in the carrier, which I keep right there in the kitchen, and called MedVet to make sure they had space. At the rate this was progressing I hoped I’d get him there in time to keep him alive.
They triaged him when we got there and his vitals were good. They said we’d have a long wait and they were right. But thinking it could be as serious as a saddle thrombus, stroke, acute kidney failure, none of them good, there was no way I was leaving. But he was alert and talking to me, enjoying pets. The exam and tests found that he has a heart murmur and also his blood pressure was about 200, where something between 130 to 150 is normal. Other than that they didn’t find anything in the blood tests or imaging aside from the fact that his T4 is marginal. They sent that out for a more accurate test to see which side of the margin it’s on which, if it’s high, may have been what caused the high blood pressure or it may be in addition to it.
I don’t remember mention of a heart murmur before this but Giuseppe is the only one of the four who hasn’t seen a vet in the past year. We’ve been following Mr. Sunshine’s and Mewsette’s adventures, and even Jelly Bean was at Rivers last September because he was coughing and gagging though they couldn’t find any reason for it aside from possibly some plaque on his back teeth was irritating his throat, and with the sound he made sounded absolutely reasonable.
The last time Giuseppe had an exam with my prior veterinarian was 2015 when she updated his vaccines and gave him an annual exam, and Dr. Michelle has seen him a few times since then too. He did see the house call vet in November 2020 and got the nasty rabies vaccine with no issue, but she did not examine them. So this may have been building for a while. I’ve seen a few changes in him over the past year or two, notably a lot more vocalization. He’s the one you always see with his mouth open in group shots in the kitchen because he’s always talking, but this new talking is loud meowing for no apparent reason, just standing on the steps, for instance, and meowing, something that might indicate the beginnings of cognitive dysfunction. A few smaller dietary issues that seem to have been resolved by rearranging feeding times and amounts. Because none of them seemed particularly critical and his appetite and movements and behavior have been pretty consistent I wasn’t too concerned. I guess he just couldn’t wait for his big senior exam!
Got home about 5:30 am, he ate well and all traces of any ataxia had worked away. I gave him his first dose of Amlodipine, the same hypertension medication Mr. Sunshine takes. I had been planning to confine him to the bathroom but I let him sleep with us instead of confining him. I noted that he started out with us, but left shortly after to lie on the landing. He was in one of his favorite napping spots downstairs a couple of hours later when I got up, and he has continued to just be his normal self since then.
He will have some followup tests to learn more about his arrhythmia and determine whether that was the cause of his ataxia, or if he may have had a stroke. Or he may have been having strokes, considering the vocalizations.
If you’d like to help us with the costs…
I had just barely broken even but an unexpected $1,000 changed that. Mewsette is doing better with our plan for managing her pain and appetite while we work toward her ultrasound at the end of the month, but the medications that go into that are a steady cost—I’ll need more cerenia today—and I need to get her another T4 blood test along with a general blood panel before that.
To think I had their exams all planned out last spring before Mr. Sunshine’s incident that led to a cancer diagnosis that was not cancer, took months and a lot of money Id’ saved for all of them that I would not have spent but for the time spent on the lost referrals and planning for a huge surgery he did not need. Each of them would have had at least an exam and blood tests and many of these emergencies may have been avoided. But that’s kind of speculative fiction now.
I still have two ultrasounds coming up—I’m so excited to have found that one of our shelters offers low-cost ultrasounds as part of their low-cost clinic! Mewsette needs an ultrasound and Mr. Sunshine still needs one from last autumn, and I can get these two done and hopefully find out more about both of their conditions. They will cost about $150 each plus a $50 exam for each, then follow up exams with my regular veterinarian. This along with all the visits for blood tests and veterinary checkups pretty much take up any extra money I have, but I’m just inching along with both Mewsette and Mr. Sunshine.
As always, if you would like to help me with veterinary costs, which still includes dentals for all four of them, and Jelly Bean hasn’t had his senior exam yet though he did have blood tests and imaging last September that count toward it. Morty still needs prescription foods until I can get him back to the veterinarian for some blood tests so we can find out more about his particular condition, and all of them need to eat.
- Consider a Custom Pet Memorial Votive for yourself or a family member or friend. Remember that they don’t actually have to be memorials—a votive with someone’s pet on it while they are very much alive is also a nice custom gift!
- Visit www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net. I am currently preparing my basement studio for handmade goods but it will be a couple weeks before I start stocking things, but look around in my Handmade Gifts Gallery.
- I have four Stained Glass Cats small votives which I now offer with string lights in addition to an LED votive for your choice of lighting.
- I still have plenty of feline garden flags, though I’m currently out of a few designs.
- I have one of each of the Tortie Girls block prints and one of Awakening, all are matted and framed.
- And consider even a small portrait of one or more of your fine felines!
If you have any questions, please let me know! And thanks for any help.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
It may look as if Giuseppe is planning something, really he’s just basking in that wonderful sun puddle that cats have enjoyed in exactly that spot since I’ve lived here. Read more and purchase.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Thursday: New Merchandise
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!