Aug 19, 2013

Emotional roller coaster

So the past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. Angel our 11 year old "Queen" of the house has been very very sick. She's always had a bit of cough but this time round she had difficulty breathing. Took her to a vet at Jalan Gasing on a friend's recommendation and after 15 antibiotic shots, she started feeling better and could eat again. She's all skin and bones now because of her breathing problems. :( Vet said it could be a lung infection but decided against doing an x-ray to check her lungs because he was worried she would be too stressed out. After she got better, she started asking for food and so we thought that the worse was over. A few days before Raya, Angel started having flu and was wheezing again. We took her back to the vet and he said it was a common cold.. gave us some meds and we thought it would be fine. On Raya day itself her condition relapsed. She was back to breathing through her mouth, wheezing, coughing and you can hear "crackling" sounds when she breathes. It was painful to watch. The vet was closed for Raya and we didn't know any other vets that can handle her. Angel is the "Queen" of the house for a very good reason. She's very temperamental, can't tolerate the other cats in the house, and gets very aggressive if you try to make her take meds. We used to bring her to an animal clinic/hospital in Taman Segar but they did not know how to handle her. The vets wouldn't dare go near her and they freaking used a cage to pin her down. The vet at Jalan Gasing had a helper who was very skilled at handling Angel with minimal stress. That's how we were able to have her get antibiotic shots the first time. This time round after her relapse, the vet switched to a different antibiotic. However after 3 days we noticed she wasn't getting any better. Thankfully my supervisor suggested bringing her to the Animal Medical Centre in KL. We brought her there and they diagnosed her with severe bronchitis asthma. Her x-ray showed white "donut rings" in the lungs (a sign of inflamed bronchial tubes) and we were told her lungs will never go back to normal. Blood tests showed she was positive for FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) and is a carrier. Needless to say, many tears were shed that day. On the vet's advice, we had her warded and placed in an oxygen chamber. ICU for animals. They also started her on medications to bring down the inflammation. 

The next day when we visited, she looked great. She was gobbling down food, breathing normally through her nose, even the vet said she was getting stable. He told us they would remove her from the oxygen chamber that night and see if she can breathe normal air. The next day, we went to the hospital thinking we would be able to bring her home and continue medications at home. To our surprise, her condition went back to the way it was before. It was truly disheartening and the vet said she wasn't doing too well. She started gasping for air after being taken out of the oxygen chamber. On his advice we left her at the hospital for another night to see if she would get better. That evening we went over to visit her again and found that they put her on drip and she had to wear a cone. It was heartbreaking to see. She still responded to us when we called her, but she was clearly in an uncomfortable state. 

The following day, she still wasn't getting better (gasping for air, teary eyed, looking very weak) but after talking to the vet, we decided to bring her home. Out of all my cats, Angel is the one who is extremely attached to my mom and hates being away from home. We put her in boarding one during CNY and came home to find that she had lost her voice from crying for us every day. We thought the best thing for her was to be in an environment that was most comfortable to her. Once we reached home, Angel started walking around (more like wobbling) and rubbing her body on my leg, on the wall etc. She went to her favourite spots in the house and then rested. Vets gave us medication for 3 days and we knew that he didn't think she would make it. We brought her home on Wednesday and tried "home therapy". Taking care of her round the clock, feeding her meds and diluted food through a syringe (hardest thing to do). On Friday, we decided to purchase an asthma inhaler and pump for her. Just so that it would help her breathe better. We called the hospital up around noon to ask about the inhaler and were told they have it in stock and that we could go pick it up anytime. I went over around 6pm, was told to wait, waited till 7pm only to be told that I could not buy the pump. The receptionist told me that because the pumps are with the vet (it's a very expensive item) and that he had gone home, I had to come back the next day to buy. One of the worse. feelings. ever. I felt so helpless and frustrated, tears were welling up in my eyes. I kept thinking what if tomorrow is too late. What if what if what if. Dejected I went home empty handed. The next morning we went to the hospital to purchase the pump and was told that the vet had indeed saved one for me last night in the store room. Speechless. Seriously. The staff and vet had an earful from my mom after that. 

There's two types of inhalers... one is a steroid and the other a bronchial dilator. 2 doses each, twice a day. The bronchial dilator can be given more often depending on her breathing condition. The pump is called the AeroKat which is meant to be used to administer the inhaler medications. So for the past few days we've been using the pump and inhalers for Angel. Together with meds given by the vet. Not an easy task as Angel will struggle and resist. Thankfully she's doing better than last week. Though it's been one day good, one day not so good. We're praying and hoping for the best but of course we also know that her still being alive is a miracle. It's going to be a long road to recovery but she's a fighter and we're not going to give up on her.



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