Friday, March 8, 2013

A Sick, Elderly Cat

Well, I feel terrible about not blogging for a while. I don't have an excuse other than that I spend too much time on Facebook - to my credit, this time is often spent sharing fascinating (and not-so-fascinating) web articles about various aspects of cats and cat health. Ok, I confess: Grumpy Cat, Simon's Cat, and Henri pics and videos, too.

Meanwhile, back at the clinic (oh yeah, I have doctor responsibilities), we had an interesting case today. Little old Charlotte, an elderly female domestic medium-hair who a loyal longstanding client of mine adopted a couple of years ago. came in with a complaint of eating ravenously but losing weight, accompanied by chronic vomiting. On exam my most remarkable finding was a heart rate of 280.

Lest you be trying to faint on me, you should be aware that 280 beats per minute is not the highest heart rate I've ever observed in a cat - that honor goes to the elderly Siamese nearly 20 years ago who topped out at around 320. But 280 is bad enough.

This particular set of symptoms, along with the cat's age (16 years or more), makes me highly suspicious of hyperthyroidism. Feline hyperthyroidism is not rare in older cats, and is fatal if untreated. I proposed a diagnostic workup along the lines of a blood panel and complete urinalysis including culture and sensitivity if indicated. We also cleaned the cat's teeth, which were still remarkably solid in spite of a heavy accumulation of calculus (yes, I know that I am always calling it "tartar" in casual conversation, but the correct term is calculus - so sue me).

This particular client has fallen on hard times lately, but he has a long track record with us and always tries to do as much as he can for his kitties. When he leaned toward declining the dentistry and urinalysis due to cost, I took the opportunity to offer covering whatever he couldn't with funds in our Cat's Meow Veterinary Clinic Charitable Fund. So Charlotte got the whole shebang, and her owner won't wind up on the street.

We created our charitable fund with this sort of situation in mind, along with using it to help the occasional homeless or about-to-become-homeless-and-needs-fostering cat - we've had more than a few of the latter come through here over the years. We accept donations in any amount - you can add a small amount to your bill when you check out, or you can just come in and donate, or mail us a check. We are always looking for suckers aka kind, generous cat lovers to pitch in and help the cause.