Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Ishmael!

Today, March 20th, is our cat Ishmael's sixth birthday. We're really happy to have him with us. Just over a year ago Ishmael suffered terrible kidney failure. He spent over a week in and out of an emergency vet clinic, hooked up to fluids, undergoing tests. They shaved his belly and his poor little paws to look like a poodle. Things looked pretty bad for the guy. You can read about the whole ordeal here.

He was sent home with an uncertain prognosis. We fed him special kidney food, Pepcid to help steady his stomach, phosphorus blockers, and 200 ML of fluid under his skin every couple of days. At the outset, this routine sounded daunting and we questioned if putting a cat through such a rigorous medical routine was fair, but the vets told us that the necessary care would diminish if he was going to get better, and if it didn't diminish, we would probably know sooner rather than later. Ish was almost five years old.

Having your pet diagnosed with a serious disease is devastating news. Assessing the quality of your pet's life and the cost of maintaining it seem overwhelming. And you hear a lot of "maybe's," "possibles" and "only time can tells." So, while I understand all pets and circumstances are different, I'd like to quickly share out success story dealing with Ishmael's renal disease.

First off, his routine is greatly diminished since last year and it's been stably this way for about six or seven months. He eats prescription cat food and gets 100 ML of fluid under his skin twice a week. That's it. The fluids were definitely a scary thing at first. You literally poke the cat with a needle and pump fluid under it's skin. The thing is, this doesn't really hurt the cat too much because, unlike people, cats have space between their skin and muscle and bone. The skin is loose. Poking just feels like a pinch and then the warm fluid doesn't hurt at all. How do I know? Well, I can guess from the cat's actions. He might vocally protest for a second when he's getting poked, but he doesn't try to get away and after the needle is in, he just sits there and even purrs sometimes. Not his favorite thing, but Ishmael GREATLY prefers getting his fluids to getting combed, clipped nails, or teeth brushed. Ish is a pretty agreeable cat, so I understand others might be worse, but subcutaneous fluids aren't as bad as they sound.

Ishmael's energy has improved immensely. He's more energetic than he ever was before. We will always feel a little uncertain and wonder how long we'll have him, but his quality of life for this year has made saving him worth it. I hope sharing our story will help make someone else's pet health decision easier.
Ishmael in the Window

1 comment:

K a i t l y n said...

Now that's one cool cat. Glad he's on the mend. Haps Berf, Ish!