I have friends who are going through absolute hell with medical issues of their human family members, so I feel kind of petty angsting about a cat. But I can’t help it. She’s a creature under my care, and she’s not well.
Ivy (those are her eyes in my header) has had a rough week. I came home last Tuesday night to find her huddled on the kitchen floor, hardly able to lift her head. Her gums were bone white. Mom, bless her heart, came with me to the after-hours vet, where they luckily had a “donor cat” on staff, because Ivy’s red blood cell percentage was at 5% (normal is 30-40%), and she needed an emergency blood transfusion.
We’re not 100% sure what’s wrong with her. The working theory is that she contracted the mycoplasma hemobartonella, which apparently tricks the spleen into thinking that red cells are foreign matter that needs to be filtered out. Whoopsie! It’s treated with antibiotics, so since her transfusion she’s been on antibiotics to kill the mycoplasma and prednisone to stimulate new red cell production.
The only thing is, the lab results came back negative for hemobartonella. The vet says it can be hard to spot, so that doesn’t necessarily disprove the diagnosis. The PCV (red cell) percentage has not risen as much as we’d hoped in the week since, however. So the vet sent a blood sample for further analysis to do some sort of reticulated platelet count (I think?) that will say more definitively whether or not she’s regenerating red cells. We should get those results in tomorrow. If she’s regenerating, great, a tincture of time (and continued abx) should cure all.
If she’s not regenerating, it’s likely a bone marrow problem. Which means she’s living on borrowed time. Fucking cancer.
Meanwhile, she’s been sneezing since Sunday night, and her nose is runny. I don’t know if she picked up a virus at the vet’s or if it’s an environmental allergen (something is blooming — I’ve been sneezing, and I’m usually pretty impervious to pollen). She clearly just doesn’t feel good tonight. Her eyes look… wrong… and she keeps letting her mouth hang open ever so slightly (maybe because of congestion?). The Bleeding Heart in me wants to take her back to the after-hours vet, but the Pragmatist in me has overruled it — there’s not much you can do for a virus, and if her PCV is dropping again, there’s really no point to another transfusion, even if we could afford it.
Which we can’t. We’ve already spent $1450. I finally got a clue and signed up for veterinary insurance yesterday. Not that it will cover an existing condition, but it can at least protect our meager savings the next time one of our pets pulls something new and bizarre.
I’ll be on the phone to Dr. S first thing in the morning.