I thought it might be nice to give an overview of what has gone down with Claude so far with this illness. I'm hoping soon that future posts can be about what a beautiful, lionesque, graceful, intelligent, silly, and playful cat he is and not about him being sick.
On Tuesday, I posted on Facebook the following:
Claude cat is sick. Please wish him luck at the vet!
He's been lethargic on and off for a few weeks and not eating enough... and last night the most worrying symptom started. He was laying on my chest when all of a sudden his head started to turn to one side, it looked like he couldn't control it and his eyes looked unfocused. It stopped after a minute or so and he seemed really weak for about 5 more minutes, and his paws occasionally moved in a strange way, like barely pawing at the air. Then the head-turning happened again about an hour ago while I was brushing him.
I'm suspecting meningitis or seizures or both. He seems fine after awhile but rather tired. He would only eat a tiny amount of tuna and refused water, but has peed at least once so hopefully not too dehydrated yet. He gets really angry at Tyrion if he comes near (poor Tyrion has been so hyper and desperate to play that he figured out how to turn a laser toy on by himself!) and it seems he is uncomfortable with certain things touching his neck and back, but regular petting is fine.
I don't want to see him like that again (not in control of his own movements) but I sort of hope it happens while he's at the vet so they can see exactly what I mean. If it is a seizure at least it's not damaging him, just making him feel crappy.
If it is meningitis (which can cause seizures or ataxia, which I guess look similar in cats) then maybe we can identify the source and get rid of it (it could be a bacterial or viral infection that both kitties have, and in the case of bacteria I'd like to get some antibiotics for Tyrion too. He's been having a litter box issue, blood in stool that makes him really uncomfortable, that has been going on since we got him. Vet thought change of food would help but it hasn't really).
I just really hope it's not strokes, but to me they don't quite fit. He can walk fine afterwards and will still go to his food bowl and litter box or come to me if he wants attention, but he seems much slower and less enthusiastic about everything. I want my playful, happy, fluffball back! Tyrion needs a playmate, too.
Tuesday at 9:55pm via mobile
Update: Claude has a heart murmur that has increased from 1/6 to 3 or 4/6 in the past month. Vets agree his symptoms were seizure-like, but haven't determined causation yet. Blood tests will be in tomorrow. Blood pressure is fine... He's not in heart failure at least. X-ray showed possible enlargement of his liver but no other signs of liver failure or anything like that. So, he is just resting right now and we may or may not get him an echocardiogram/ultrasound. We shall see what his blood results are first.
Oh, and no signs of infection, so not meningitis.
Update for Thursday, Nov 1st
Posted November 1st, 2012 by Heather Hogan
Claude seems a little better today. He has been resting heavily all throughout the night, and only walking around a couple times during the day. He still hasn't eaten much (1/4 of a can of food yesterday morning and a few nibbles since then), but this morning he was looking out longingly at the back yard, so I let him onto the deck to get some fresh air, and he went and peed in my garden, like he loves to do. He didn't stay out long but I think it's a good sign that he wanted to do anything besides lying around.
Last night we discussed the results of his blood test with the vet at the emergency clinic and I'm waiting to discuss them with the vet who saw him at his main clinic, but I think we have a plan for now. His white blood cell count was very elevated, which points to an infection despite the fact that he doesn't have a fever. The emergency vet suspects toxoplasmosis (which is rarely symptomatic in cats, but when it is it can cause fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and seizures, among other things, depending on where the cysts are.) The test for toxoplasmosis would run somewhere around $160, but the antibiotic would only be around $25, so we are considering just giving him the antibiotic and seeing if he improves.
Hopefully his other vet will agree that this is reasonable. The ultrasound/echocardiogram of his heart is still recommended, but they said it could be okay to wait to see some improvements first and (hopefully) gather a bit more money before proceeding with that $300 test. Most likely we will be able to treat his heart cautiously with aspirin, but it's not guaranteed to help prevent heart failure or stroke if he does have enlargement of the heart muscle and/or clots, which would probably go hand in hand.
Thanks for reading and supporting Claude and family!