Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's a new day........

I'm sorry that I left you hanging like I did.  Let's go back to Oct. 14th for a moment.

After TK had not one, but two blood draws, he had a terrible time with bleeding from his right jugular vein.  The techs held his little neck for what seemed like forever to try and stop the bleeding, and eventually they got it to stop.  But, TK developed a rather nasty hematoma from it, and when we returned home he was in a serious amount of pain from it!  All that evening he just laid in my chair, and when he'd get up to move he'd let out a squeek of pain and collapse right back down again.  DH and I were both very concerned and afraid for him.  In fact, when we went to bed TK followed us to the bedroom but he didn't seem to have the ooomph to jump up on the bed.  I gently picked him up and placed him on our bed, where he stayed ALL night long!

By the next morning he seemed to be feeling a little bit better, but was so awfully sore.  He ate and slept, and whenever Radar attempted to play with him he'd again squeal with pain and run away.  Poor Radar, he just didn't know what to do.....he wanted to play and rough house, but TK certainly wasn't up to it.  Instead, Radar pestered me, play attacking me at the slightest invite. 

By Friday TK was on the mend, he definitely was getting over the pain in his neck, but he still didn't act like his normal self, like he just was lacking stamina.  He finally started playing a little bit with Radar, but again, even Radar noticed that it wasn't their normal wrestling.  This continued throughout the entire weekend.

On Monday I called our vet to discuss TK's situation, but she was busy and ended up calling me back later in the day.  Some very special friends had sent me a lot of information about hemobart, so when our vet did return my call I read some of the information to her.  She decided that maybe we should go ahead and treat TK for hemobart even though the test came back negative.  So, on Tuesday morning I went to the vet and picked up some compounded doxycycline.  I started giving it to TK Tuesday evening.

Well, let me tell Tuesday night TK was MUCH better, wrestling with Radar and running around like his little butt was on fire!  He played, he leapt, he climbed, he was his normal nutty little self!!!  And he hasn't looked back since.

We finally got both of the boys eating real canned cat food, although their choices are (of course) some of the more expensive foods........they really like Sheba chicken.  Bad thing is that Sheba will be out of business come January 2010.  Whiskas will be taking over for them.  Both Sheba and Whiskas are owned by Mars company, so maybe Whiskas will start producing a Sheba-like food.  The guys are also eating Whiskas, Friskies.....most anything in a pouch as long as it's a poultry flavor.  Get this, they're now eating 5 to 6 meals a day of REAL canned cat food!!!  Plus, neither of them will even give AD a look now.

We had to take TK back to the vet this past Wednesday evening for a recheck on his anemia, and thankfully his bloodwork is now perfectly normal!!  Oh man, such a relief!!!!!  My vet was totally impressed by TK's recovery and now agrees that he most likely did have hemobart dispite the negative test.  She has even started Radar on treatment for it too, which makes a ton of sense.  They've been together since birth, and Radar could have it in his bone marrow just waiting for a time when he has some other illness, then it could spring to life and threaten his. 

In fact, while we had TK there we also took Radar, for moral support to TK, and he had an ear bothering him that needed to be checked.  Seems that Radar now has a very slight ear infection, so we're treating that too plus giving both kittens their doxycycline. 

On Wednesday the 28th TK weighed in at 3 pounds 9 ounces, Radar 2 pounds 3 ounces. 

Hopefully next time I post I'll have some new pictures of these guys to share with you!
Until then..........

Sunday, October 18, 2009!

There won't be any pictures in today's post, I'm just not up to uploading any from my camera.  But, I wanted to share the news with you about TK.

I had to take Freon and Angel to the vet's this past Wednesday evening for their monthly bloodwork, and because TK had been doing some serious scratching at one ear I carried him along too.

After the blood was drawn from Angel and Freon the vet came in to examine TK.  Seems that he has an infection going on in that ear, so she prescribed him some ear drops and an antibiotic.  She started looking back at his chart and saw where he had tested slightly anemic a while back, so she asked if it would be ok to run a follow up on that too.  I really thought it unnecessary, but let her do it.

Well, sadly, TK is now even more anemic!  So more blood was drawn for two outlab tests, one for hemobartonella, and the other a reticulocyte count.  We got those test results back Friday.

No, TK doesn't have hemobartonella, and no, he's not making any new red blood cells!

This is dire.......a potentially life-threatening thing.  It can be something as simple as malnutrition from him and Radar relying too much on canned AD, to leukemia in his bone marrow, to FIP, to any other number of causes........and all but malnutrition means that there is a likelihood that we may end up losing our dear precious TK, and also possibly Radar.

Needless to say I'm devastated!  These two boys have gone through so much, first being born outside, to our decision to adopt them, to battling diarrhea, and eating problems, and now this.  My heart is breaking.  I watch them run and play, with sadness, because I know what the future (or lack of) means for them.  I feel as if I'm already mourning them, yet they're still here.

Anyhow, TK is now on antibiotics and ear drops, plus pred, LiquTinic, and just finished up another 3 day course of panacur (just in case he has worms).  I've bought some Tiki Cat canned food and am working hard at getting both boys off the AD and onto some real cat food.

I have to take TK back to the vet on Oct 28th for followup bloodwork, and if his anemia is still as bad or worse then the vet will want to schedule him in for a bone marrow biopsy.

Please, if you're reading this and feel so inclined, good thoughts/prayers/healing light will be greatly appreciated, I'm NOT ready to lose my boys, not now!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just a quick note.........

Sorry that I haven't updated in a while, but things tend to get chaotic sometimes.  I'm sure you understand! 

Anyhow, when we last left off Radar had completed his course of antibiotics, and I was waiting and hoping that things would be good for him.  Well, things were good for him for a few days, but by Tuesday evening he developed diarrhea again.  Grrrrrrrr...........  Oh well.  I continued giving him the kaolin pectin to try and stave off any severe diarrhea.  Wednesday he developed very loose, watery diarrhea, so I decided to go for broke and gave him a wee bit of Slippery Elm Bark powder.  A very dear person ordered this and had it sent to me!  It's in capsules, and so I've read on the internet that making a syrup would be better, but you can't really make a syrup out of the capsuled stuff because of additives that keep it from becoming syrupy.  I just opened a capsule of it and got a little of the powder out and into a syringe, added some water and mixed it up as well as possible, then syringed it into Radar's mouth.

Well, his diarrhea got a bit better!  WOW!

The next day (Thursday) he didn't poop at all (or at least what I saw) so I got a little concerned that I may have overdone the SEB powder.  I skipped giving him any until he pooped again, which was Friday.  It was loose again.  So, as you can see, I'm trying to figure out how much/how often he'll need SEB.  I've reduced the amount a bit and am trying to give it every evening.......and so far he hasn't gotten any real loose watery diarrhea again.  Hopefully things will stay calm for him, and for us.

In other news, I finally weighed the boys again.  As of October 11th TK weighed 1256 grams (2 lbs, 12.3 oz) and Radar weighed 926 grams (2 lbs, .66 oz).  See, they ARE growing!  And, either Radar is going to have another growth spurt soon, or he may just end up being a bit smaller than his brother. 

TK is almost entirely switched over to eating the adult kitty food.  Radar is still mostly canned AD, but he too will eat the adult kitty food, just not as much as TK right now.  But, get this, these two kittens are food hounds.......for all of our snack foods!!!  They'll eat popcorn, potato chips, donuts, biscuits, potato sticks, cheetos, and bread (just to name stuff off the top of my head)!  If we're eating, they want it!  I'd have to guess that at some point during their life outside they must have gotten into someone's garbage to survive.  Now I've been trying very hard to teach them manners, because TK will most definitely get right in your face to get whatever you're eating!  Radar seems to be grasping what "NO" means.  Although he'll give it a try, he'll stop after we say no a few times to him.  TK either doesn't understand no yet, or just doesn't care.  LOL!

Radar almost had me in happy tears Sunday evening!  I was in the bedroom watching tv and he climbed up onto the bed to spend some time with me.  He came over to me, climbed up into my lap, laid down, and started making bread on my stomach!  It literally touched my soul, this one little act.  To me it seems like he really knows how much I love him, care for him, and worry about him........and this was his way of telling me that he knows.  This morning I was watching ER on tv, and he once again came up to my lap, climbed up onto my chest, and started making bread on my neck (of ALL places)!  I let him......I sure didn't want to discourage my little boy.  Then he drifted off to sleep, and took me with him.  :^)

I haven't been able to get any pictures of them recently, maybe next time I post I'll have a few to share. 

The boys are still very much in love with their play cubes.  They spend about 2 or 3 hours a day zooming in and out of them, climbing up them, or trying to collapse them!  In fact, they enjoy them so much that the next time I went to Dollar General they had three more on the shelf, and I brought those three home too!  Hey, gotta keep my guys happy!

Talk with you again soon....................

Saturday, October 3, 2009

In searching for new toys

Well, things here are going great with Radar and TK.  They no longer get crated at night, and even though I've lost quite a few hours of sleep to their midnight play sessions, I'm so very glad that they have blended in so well with my furry family. 

I've been searching for new toys that they both would like, which is a bit hard.  TK seems to prefer to play with things that move, while Radar prefers to play with things that make sounds.........logical, eh?  Have you looked at kitty toys on the market lately?  Seems they tend to fall distinctly into one category or the other, and I haven't yet found one single toy that covers both movement and sound adequately enough to really entertain these two boys.........until I made a trip to my local Dollar General store.

Funny thing was, I didn't go there looking for kitty toys!  I often shop there for cheap supplies for my school bus.  I went there one day last week, and decided to see what they had for kitty toys.  I didn't see anything at first that I thought would interest Radar or TK, but as I looked I saw these kitty play cubes.  Now, if you happen to have young children you know what play cubes are.  I thought about it, and almost talked myself out of not buying any, I really didn't think these kittens would like them.  But, on the offhand that they might, I grabbed one and started walking through the store getting my other supplies.  Then I found myself right back at the kitty toys again, so I grabbed another play cube.  In the end though, I bought 3 of them.  They were only $4 each, and if the kittens didn't like them maybe one of my other 6 would.

That evening when I got home from work I went about setting up the play cubes.  Data, Freon and Speedy showed immediate interest in the cubes, but TK seemed quite frightened of them.  Radar didn't know what the ruckus was about.  After the adult cats left the cubes TK started investigating the play cubes, and by the next day both kittens seemed to think that these new toys were the greatest thing!  OMG, they LOVE them!  And their method of play changes daily with the cubes.  At first they used the cubes to hide in from the other.

This is TK hiding from Radar, just waiting for him to walk by so that he can pounce on him!  Look at those "bug" eyes.......he gets soooooo excited!!!

Then they decided that these cubes could be like wrestling squares, and the games were on!

Then they decided to change tactics and Radar climbed up the outside of one of the cubes, and got himself on top, while TK waited inside trying to figure out which cube Radar was on.  Once TK located Radar he reached up and grabbed the dangling toys on the inside top, pulled on them, and Radar went to bouncing away on the top, like he was on a trampoline!  They are so funny!

In that last photo you can see TK inside of the red cube pulling down on the top to bounce Radar.

Another thing they've added to their play cube games is they'll both jump onto the top of a cube to collapse it, then they'll wrestle on the top of the collapsed cube!  All I can say is that this was the best $12 spent on toys so far!

Other than toys, the boys are doing great.  They are still eating canned AD, but we are gradually transitioning them over to the adult cat food.  We're taking our time doing this so as to not upset Radar's tummy too much.  One thing I've noticed is that these two boys will eat just about anything, be it cat food, dog food, and/or people food!  They are so totally into "our" snack/junk food that I've practically given it up myself.  I don't know if at some point while they were living outside maybe they somehow got into someone's garbage and developed a taste for it, or if they were just so hungry while outside that this "starving" mentality has become a part of them.  Either way, we're working very hard at developing some manners in our boys!

Radar's diarrhea has nearly gone now, just a "soft" episode every once in a while.  I haven't weighed them in quite some time.......they refuse to be still long enough for the digital scales to get their weights.  That's ok though, I know they're eating and growing stronger every day, so weight isn't an issue right now.

Radar got his last dose of SMZ-TMP this morning, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he'll continue to do well now that he's off the antibiotic.  If you look closely at the photos you'll notice that one of Radar's eyes shows well.  He is indeed a micro-eyed kitty, and we think that the source of infection was there.  Since he's been on the antibiotic one eyelid opens well.  That one eyeball is clouded over and there is no sight.  The other eyelid doesn't open much at all, therefore I don't have a clue if he has an eyeball in that side or not.  But, if he should start acting ill again I know my vet will represcribe this antibiotic until Radar is big enough to undergo surgery to remove his eyes and close the lids.  He has to be at least 5 pounds before this can be done though, and I certainly don't want any infection to stand in his way of continued growth.  For now, I'll be watching him very closely.

More updates to follow............... :^)