Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Am An Amateur Vet

Dylan, who at age almost 11 is my next to oldest cat, is very thin. The others are extremely healthy and bordering on chubby but Dylan has always been frighteningly thin. In my honest opinion this is because he is a purebred Maine Coon. He was a rescue but he came with papers. Purebred anythings have lots of problems. Mutts and alley cats might not be the posh choice but they are sturdy and healthy. Also when they are rescues they know just how fortunate they are to find a loving home so they show it! When I was out of town last time the cat sitter left me a note and suggested that I speak with my vet about fluid therapy for him just in case it might help. I did so immediately and also consulted with my sister Page (the awesome vet who unfortunately for me lives in Cleveland Ohio). Page thought oldest cat Sonny (18) would also benefit.

I got trained on administering fluids and now have a little treatment center set up in my laundry room:
It's kind of amazing how fast Sonny responds. He immediately becomes bright-eyed and alert and after 18 months of not grooming himself he has begun to do so again! Dylan isn't responding noticeably so far but I am sure he will given time.

I'm not a total stranger to amateur vet care. Sonny has a couple of "old man" problems that I take care of myself. Both could be fixed with minor surgery but my vet doesn't want to put him under anesthesia at his age unless it is life threatening. These problems are a nuisance, but only to me. He barely notices. He has blocked tear ducts so his sweet little eyes run and the discharge gets brown and caked up so every few days I wash his face with a warm damp cloth and keep antibiotic ointment on the irritated places on his face. He also has a bump on the back of his head that gradually fills with fluid over time. I get this tested once or twice a year and it's benign and really it doesn't bother him but it can get very full and enlarged and it bounces around when he walks so every 4 to 6 weeks I suck it out with a hypodermic needle:

I've told a few people about this and they all think it's so gross and are amazed that I don't have a problem using needles on my cats. When I think about it that way I cringe but in reality it is just run of the mill and if I can care for them in the comfort of their own home without the trauma of a crate and a drive and the routine thermometer up the ass then it's a no-brainer for me. Far less gross than holding a vomiting human child's forehead as far as I'm concerned. For annual check ups and emergency situations I will always see my vet first but for simple maintenance that I can do here at home I think that's best.

Of course with the travel situation I immediately checked with my awesome cat sitter (Critter Sitters for those of you in the Atlanta area) and yes she has a lot of experience doing subcutaneous fluid therapy so I can continue to travel knowing my punks are getting exactly what they need and I don't have to quit my job just yet.

More about upcoming travel probably tomorrow. For now I have a knitting problem that needs to get resolved pronto!

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