I called VCA Aurora on Monday to update them about Lars' newly discovered renal failure diagnosis because I figured they might want to know for their records for their ongoing care with his ongoing digestive issues they're still helping Dr. B treat. Told them his creatinine levels and that I didn't know his BUN, but that it was high end of normal, that Dr. B felt it was very early stage renal failure, that Lars had been prescribed Hills K/D, and to contact Aurora Cat Clinic for more information if they needed it.

Cindy from VCA called me back on Tuesday. She said Dr. M called Dr. B and they'd discussed the labs and, according to the one set of very specific guidelines for renal failure staging they go by, Lars was not in stage one renal failure, but square in the middle of the range for stage two instead. :/ Stage TWO?!!? Sweet Bast, there's only FOUR stages to this fucking disease and he's already halfway gone???

Sigh...

To say J and I are dismayed is beyond an understatement. Lars is only six fucking years old and shouldn't even be in stage one yet for fuck's sake!!

I talked to Cindy again today to double check to see if Dr. B's got Lars on the correct treatment and she surprised me by saying that Dr. B is actually going pretty aggressive--most of the time Dr. M doesn't start Rx food or any other treatment for the renal failure until the beginning of stage three. I found that to be interesting. And, no--we're not taking Lars off the Rx food! He actually *enjoys* the food so far and it can only do his numbers good. It's a balanced food otherwise, too, so he'll be fine on it.

I've joined the two feline renal failure groups on Facebook and have sought out more information on the rather popular layman's site--Tanya's Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease that I used to frequent when I was dealing with Jazz's and Diva's renal failure. Gotta get myself re-acclimated to the logistics of the disease and care for same...

What is it with us and Broken Cats? I tell ya, we fairly seem to attract them...:/
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Yesterday morning. J and I took both Lars and Dorene into Dr. B for blood work and urinalyses and for Lars' yearly exam and vaccines. It started off as quite the adventure. We've got several carriers, including three soft-side collapsible carriers. We decided to use my cutesy and questionably functional Laurel Birch carrier (I got it on clearance at PetSmart (go figure) and it's cute as hell...that's about all it's worth, as you'll find out soon), and a Martha Stewart carrier we got for free from the cat coordinator at the shelter. Lars got the Laurel Birch carrier and Dorene got the the Martha carrier. Dorene was fine in her carrier, but Lars managed to escape the not-so-surly bonds of his carrier in less than 2 minutes, LOL. So much for my cutesy carrier, LOL. We've decided to donate it to a charity we frequently use (AmVets); perhaps somebody with smaller and less frisky cats can use it for awhile...

Anyway, get Lars in a hard shell carrier, drive out to Aurora Cat Clinic, and start our appointment. Dr. B sees each cat in turn, palpates both of their bladders, and finds that neither of them has any urine in their bladders! :( In order to get the proper samples, we left them with Dr. B for fluids and observation for a few hours. Lars got his vaxxes and his exam, the fecal sample got processed, and bloods got drawn and started in the lab...

Fast forward to early afternoon when we pick them up. The results are back. Despite the fluids, there wasn't quite enough for a full urinalysis, meaning Dr. B wasn't able to test either cat for crystals (which we want to do for Lars, who's been squatting but peeing small amounts frequently lately), but he was able to get enough to determine there wasn't glucose in the urine or any white or red blood cells for either of them.

Blood work: Dorene's was fine. No surprises there. She's four years old, eats well, seemingly healthy as a horse--everything *better* be fine...

Lars' was not quite alright...

His BUN is high normal and his creatinine is .1 above normal. Both mean there is something amiss with his kidneys. And he's only 6 1/2 years old...

What does this mean? Dr. B didn't say specifically, and we didn't ask, but we know enough about renal failure in cats from our past experience to know this means that Lars is in the very, very earliest of the first stage of chronic renal failure. It's enough that Dr. B prescribed renal care food for Lars to get things under control, and we're to bring Lars back in two months for follow-up. We're to watch his food and water intake, and his urine output as well as his energy level for any changes with the new diet. He also wants another crack at getting a full urinalysis on Lars--we're planning on bringing Lars back in on Tuesday to spend the day with Dr. B and his staff for that, which Dr. B has offered to do for free, I might add.

I was gobsmacked. I thought renal failure was something that cats in their double digits had to worry about, not some half way to seven year old kitteh! But Dr. B explained he's seen this before in long-haired kittehs especially. He said something about the bits and bobs of purebred genetics found in most long-haired kittehs (who knows what it could be with Lars--we've tried guessing what his pedigree could be and gave up, LOL) cause some weaknesses/predispositions to renal issues. Something, something read some studies about same, yadda yadda. Still didn't make *us* feel any better, especially me, the former Mom of two CRF kittehs. I am a bit beyond sad and overwhelmed by this... :(

Sigh. So now, on top of digestive/downloading issues, we've got to worry about his kidneys. My poor, sweet, broken boy. :(
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We've, once again, got us an errant outside of the box pisser in our midst. Twice in the last week we've found large puddles of piss under the "sunning chair" which resides under the kitchen window, the second of which we found this morning. In addition, the last 2-3 weeks have brought lots more and larger urine clumps in all the litter boxes; one of which was so large our oversized litter scoop almost couldn't scoop it up. Verdict? One of our idiots likely has a urinary or kidney issue going on.

Our plan of attack is to take them in, one by one, in order of suspicion of guilt, for check-ups and blood work and urinalysis. Harlow's done by default, as he had his full work-up by coincidence last Thursday, and we'll have his test results back sometime this week hopefully. One down...

Next up will be Ulysses. At eight years old he's our most senior cat, so he's a good next "suspect". He had a baseline full blood draw done that came back all normal back in late April or was it early May? Regardless, I know things can change in a heartbeat with cats, so...yeah...He's also got a history of crystals in his urine that we think is controlled by his special prescription diet, but there's no way of knowing without another urinalysis. Interesting note on that--in the last month and a half we switched to a different brand of wet Rx food and he seemed to love it at first, but has been somewhat rejecting it in the last couple of weeks...Coincidence? Another reason to get his fat butt into the vet for a looksee...He'll be seeing Dr. Bajwa at Aurora Cat Clinic on Thursday morning at 9:30 AM. That oughtta be fun--he's a total beast at the vet and at his last visit totally cowed the timid substitute vet that took care of him. We're hoping the more steely, much more experienced, and "hardcore" hands of Dr. B will work out better on Thursday...

After that it'll be in order of age--Lars, then Dorene. We'll pin down who's doing all the pissings eventually, LOL, and if whomever it is needs treatment, they will receive it...

Sigh...It's always something in our house. The cats we adopt inevitably end up just as broken as their respective owners...
Our sweet Harlow's sinuses are A Hot Mess, have been ever since he happened into our lives when he came into the care of Humane Haven Animal Shelter back last summer. He'll get a sinus infection, get a course of some random antibiotic, be clear of any signs of infection for a few days to a week or so, and start exhibiting signs of sinus infection all over again. The vets at Brookville Animal Hospital have had him on a merry-go-round of Clin Drops and Doxycycline for the most part until we put up more of a fuss about wanting to try something stronger and different than what hasn't already worked longer. This time he got put on Azithromycin--250mg once daily for five days, then twice weekly for 6-8 weeks. We're currently in the midst of the 6-8 weeks part. So far, so good: his nasal discharge cleared of coloring and grew thinner after the first five daily doses.

Our issue with the way Brookville's vets have been treating his chronic sinus issues is they don't do much beyond giving him a basic physical exam and then throw the same antibiotics at it over and again. This is a great recipe for antibiotic resistance and it's not treating the root cause of what's going on. Time for a specialist, but who and where?

I called out to our usual standby for specialty vets, VCA Aurora, early last week. Internal medicine also handles issues with the sinuses. I brought him in last Thursday to see Dr. Medinger. He got a very thorough physical, I got asked lots of questions. Hell, they even asked about how concerned we were about Harlow's five pound weight loss since September; we weren't terribly concerned because we thought it was primarily related to diet and much more exercise, but...yeah, we could see why there might be a concern... Dr. M ordered pre-procedure blood work, urinalysis, and a thyroid check, a nasal CT along with biopsies and cultures. This cost Big Bucks, of course, but what can you do if you want to find out the Root Cause of what's going on? They send everything out of house to specialty labs for testing, so no results until at least the end of this week at the earliest. Preliminary findings were positive in that no polyps or growths were found in the nasal cavities or sinuses, but there was swelling in the nasal cavities, especially on the left side, lots of fluid in there, and signs of sinusitis.

Sigh. Our Cheeto Burrito kitty was such a good boy throughout--the techs and Dr. M all raved about how wonderfully cooperative and quiet Harlow was while they worked on him. :) That's our boy! :)

...And now we wait for the results, and any further action steps that may result from those results.

I will keep y'all posted...
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Got some plain yogurt from the Meijer last night; of course they only had the McLargeHuge size, so that's what I bought. Thankfully it was cheap at about 2 bucks for the McLargeHuge container of the stuff. Stir it up well, dish out a couple of tablespoons of it into Lars' gushy fud bowl and present it to The Prince...

...and he licks at it like three times, rejects it and walks away! :/ Mkay. I try a taste of it. Okay, it does taste kinda flat and gross. Perhaps if I doctor it a bit with some of the handy dandy bottle of clam juice I've got. A few more sniffs, a few more licks, then rejection and walking away.

Harlow, on the other hand? He LOVES both versions of the stuff--plain or doctored with juice, he's totally down with the yogurt. Figures, right? ;) That knowledge could come in handy if he ever encounters any tummy troubles, LOL.

So...

I had one unopened jar of chicken baby food left over, so I dished out about two tablespoons of that and mixed in 1/8 of a teaspoon of benefiber very well into that to see if Lars would deign eat same with that tiny amount of benefiber added to it. At first he was reluctant to eat it, but grew more enthusiastic after he got going and he finished the portion, licking the bowl clean as a whistle! So at least I might have that trick up my sleeve...

Another trick I'm contemplating trying in the dairy department is vanilla ice cream. I've yet to meet a kitteh in my life who did NOT enjoy a bit of vanilla ice cream. Every single cat I grew up with loved the stuff, as did every cat that owned me that came before the cats that own me currently. So I'm hoping the trend continues with Lars! That, and if he doesn't like it at least J and I can enjoy some vanilla ice cream, LOL.

Sweet Bast, this whole special food thing with Lars is SO VEXING!!! :( But hey--He's my Special Snowflake, my Floofy Floofy Little Prince, LOL. I expect nothing less from His Royal Highness... ;)
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The Doxycycline did the trick--the upper respiratory infection is finally gone! :) Took about 2/3 of the way through the bottle for him to really show improvement, but it definitely did the trick.

We're going to keep him on the Lysine to help keep his immune system stronger for the indefinite future; it works wonders on the cats at the shelter, so it's worth seeing how Harlow does with it here at home. 'Sides, he'll get gushy fud twice a day to deploy the 250mg of the stuff, which he most definitely won't mind. :)

He's also still on the Benedryl, which seems to be really helping with the sneezing and such. He hates the stuff, but it's seemingly a necessary evil for him. Learned the first day that we have to deploy it directly down his gullet rather than via "pill pal" or "pill pocket" as it's got a bitter taste and he can taste as he chews up either of those two vehicles, which he then spits out same before the pill goes down his throat. Poor fella. :/ That being said--he still takes that pill like a total champ. He's A Good Boy.

So yeah...much, much better. :)
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His personality is back full-tilt boogie--he's gone back to hanging out on the cat forts and to ripping ass down the hallway after his "siblings", two things I was really waiting to see before I declared him out of the woods. I still have him on the Mirtazipine for appetite every 96 hours, but his appetite doesn't seem to wane at the end of the dose, so I think I'm going to start tapering him off that med and see what happens.

So, the vexing part...

He's decided to reject any gushy fud that has the probiotics and/or the benefiber in it. Flat out, stone cold reject any of it, regardless of type, regardless of how I doctor it up, regardless of how hungry he acts. Tested the theory by offering him gushy fud without anything added to it and he gobbled it down with no issues. Little fucker. :/ Fortunately he's still downloading okay with the 5-6ccs of Lactulose we give him daily, so it's not totally an issue, but...yeah. He still needs at least something else to keep his guts moving...

Called VCA internal medicine about this new conundrum, and was told to try plain yogurt for its natural probiotic effects, or, if that fails, anything else dairy based that he'll deign eat. Alrighty then, we can do that. I know he likes milk a lot from my past learnings, so there's that at least. Was also told to try to try to at least try to sneak in one dose of the benefiber a day if I can manage it. I know the probiotic's straight away right out--he always rejected his feeds with it in it, but sometimes ate his feeds with just the benefiber, so that's pretty telling right there.

Sigh. Finicky cat is fucking finicky. Little shit. :/ Oh wells, a cat mama will do what a cat mama's gotta do...
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Well, my thoughts on the repetition causing food apathy came true--this morning's helping of Spot's Turkey Stew was largely a big old bust. He barely touched the stuff, at least the first go at it. I even left the can out on the counter for over an hour to warm up a bit before serving it to him. He showed some initial interest, but it waned quickly. Sigh.

In a little while I'm going to try zapping it in the microwave for a few seconds to see if a little bit of warmth will coax him into eating more of it. If not, then I'll have to dig into the selection of other gushy fuds I've got stashed and see if he'll eat some of one of those. He's definitely hungry--he ate all of his breakfast allotment of kibble with great enthusiasm, so it's not that his appetite is faltering at all. It's him being A Finicky Bastard.

Yay me? Yay us? :/

Sigh...again...

Back to the drawing board...
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Got a wide variety of gravy and broth heavy gushy fud selections between Petsmart and Pet Supplies Plus yesterday. Petsmart yielded Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers flavors I've not yet tried with Lars just yet (beefy ones) and some of the "classic" line of broth based packets of food they offer in fishy and chickeny flavors. Pet Supplies Plus had the Halo brand, which came highly recommended by a good cat owning friend, so I picked up some cans of Spot's Stew in a couple of different flavors, largely because the Stew part of the name seems to infer that it'll have a stew/gravy like quality to it...

Tried the Turkey flavor of Spot's Stew this morning and was surprised to find the consistency of the bulk of it was like a very thick gravy to a thin pate'. :/ Additionally, it came complete with a complement of vegetable matter mixed in with the gravy and meaty pieces as well, which I'd read on the ingredients on the can, but somehow pictured they'd be diced smaller or something. Lars isn't known to prefer pate' type food, and he's never had food with veg in it before, so I was sorta wary of giving it to him, but I figured since I opened the can and didn't want to just throw it away without giving it a good go, I mixed in the probiotics and the benefiber and set the bowl of the stuff down in front of him...

He absolutely shocked me by totally scarfing that stuff down like a mad man! :) He snarfed down the gravy/pate' and meat and even some of the smaller veggie bits and ate the gravy/pate' off the bigger veggie pieces that he left behind! It was a sight to behold! I haven't seen that sort of enthusiasm for gushy fud in at least a few weeks! It was a miracle!

Tonight for his dinner I served up more of the same; he didn't quite have the same enthusiasm but he still ate with pretty good gusto despite there being more and larger veggie bits in with this particular batch of chow. He, again, ate all the gravy/pate' and meaty bits for the most part. There were more leavings tonight, but I think that had more to do with the extra veg getting in the way than any problem with the bulk of the gravy/pate' medication vehicle.

He'll get the rest of the turkey can tomorrow morning. Hopefully his enthusiasm for it won't wane at all with the repetition. Next up after this can will be one of the brothy packets. Will keep you posted on how things go!
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He's not sneezing as much and he's not wheezing as much, but when he does sneeze it's still disgusting yellowish brownish gluey gack and he's almost done with his course of ClinDrops. Back to the vet with him this afternoon.

Dr. Lyn gave him the once over--he's exactly 11 pounds now, a good weight at last! :) Lungs clear, head still congested, eye still giving off discharge but it's now clear vs. the discolored stuff last visit, temperature normal. Switching from the ClinDrops antibiotic (which are almost used up) over to Doxycycline and adding 250mg of Lysine twice daily to help bolster his immune system a bit. Both are mixed in gushy fud, so Harlow will be in Heaven, let me tell you. ;) He's A HUGE FAN of gushy fud! :)

So far it seems as though the last few days on the Benedryl have helped stave off a goodly share of the sneezing, though we've had to pill him by hand rather than feed him a pill pocket--he can taste the larger pill when he bites down on it when it's in either the "pill pal" from the vet's office or the "pill pocket" from the Petsmart, so it's just been easier for J to give it to him straight the past couple of days. I'll get to giving it to him myself via the pill popper when J's not able to give it to him for me.

So, hopefully, Harlow will be back on the mend again shortly...Poor fella! :/
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He's now decided to, one by one, reject his formerly favorite flavors of Gravy Lovers gushy food. The other day he vetoed the turkey, and today he rejected the chicken. At least he's still seeming to want to bother with the salmon, which is good, but...yeah.

I need a gravy/broth laden gushy fud as a vehicle to deploy the powdered probiotics and the powdered benefiber that he'll at least eat the gravy/broth off of. I tried Friskies but theirs is woefully low on gravy/sauce, making mixing the powder(s) in a bit difficult. I know either Friskies or Fancy Feast has a line of broth oriented gushy fuds that I'm going to look into later today, so that's my next line of attack.

Internet Cat Hivemind--any ideas for gravy/sauce/broth bountiful gushy fuds I can look for??? Any and all ideas are welcome, and damn the cost!

Otherwise he's doing about the same. Still not quite back to normal either in personality or in the downloads department, kinda maintaining a status quo of sorts in the middle ground of things. This leaves us both hopeful for further improvement and frustrated that it's not forthcoming more quickly.

Sigh. He *had* to reject the Gravy Lovers shit. He just *Had To*...
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He's been on the ClinDrops antibiotic for just about a week now and he's still sneezy and wheezy. Eye watering is somewhat back under control with the help of the eye drops, discharge watery and clear. Nasal discharge is clearing up, too; only slightly colored compared to what it was when we started the oral antibiotic.

He should be doing better by now, dammit, but he's still pretty under the weather. We're hoping that things will turn a positive corner in the next day or two. If not it could be a trip back to the vet for him, poor fella...

Finally started him on the half tab of Benedryl this AM. He didn't mind--meant an extra pill pocket treat for him! ;) We'll see if it helps stave off some of the sneezing for him. Hopefully it won't sedate him too badly, either. Again, we shall see...

Ah, the joys of owning a cat with chronic viral herpes flares... :/ At least we're fortunate that the three other resident kittehs don't have active symptoms, despite having been exposed to the virus at the cattery...
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He's turning into a finicky eater, the big dumb floof. He's seemingly growing tired of his Gravy Lovers gushy fud, eating only the gravy off the top of the many meaty bits (which, frankly, is fine since that's where all the benefiber and probiotics live), so I decided to go out on a limb and try Friskies gushy fud "with sauce and gravy" type foods. Tried one can of ocean whitefish in sauce, which barely had any sauce whatsoever; I did manage to mix in the supplements and he did eat the gravy off the meaty bits, but very few meaty bits. Sigh. Damned cat--at least he's still eating a goodly amount of kibble so he won't completely waste away...

Downloads have been a bit dicey as of late; yesterday he took his time again and waited just over 24 hours to give me some litter box love. It was A Good One, though, so that was a good thing to see. It's just frustrating that I'm giving so much medication/supplements to get him to go and he's barely producing. I know, I know--Dr. M says it can take a few to several weeks for things to right themselves, but...yeah, mama's getting antsy.

His personality/affect is steadily coming back still, which is also nice to see. He's been a bit more feisty than we'd like to see as a result of the not-so-positive side effects of the Mirtazepine, but he still needs that for the appetite boost, so we'll keep giving it to him every 96 hours. His feistyness manifests itself in wanting to argue and promote fisticuffs with his other "sibling" cats, which is maddening to say the least. We've had to keep the water squirt bottle handy to break up the squabbles.

He's also picked up a new, rather annoying habit--kitchen counter surfing. He's up on the counters virtually every damned night, probably looking for food scraps which aren't there. Ra used to do that a lot throughout his life, so we think Lars learned that habit from Ra. It would be fine if our counters were clear of random stuff, but we get lazy and stash our recyclable cans and bottles on the one counter throughout the week rather than just bring in the recycling bin and put them outside, so when dumbass jumps up onto the counter, something inevitably falls off same, clattering to the floor. That's our bad, of course, so we should work on clearing our counters.

So yeah, about the same, really. Wish there was something more definitively positive to report...
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Still sneezing and wheezing, and me forgetting to purchase the damned Benedryl at the grocery store the other day when I was there picking up other stuff--and I was in the damned aisle it was in, too! :/ His nasal discharge is still lovely, putrid colours--takes about 3 days on the ClinDrops to get the infection to start to clear. It takes less time, however, for the other side effects to kick in, namely diarrhea. Poor fella left me some disasters in the litter boxes overnight, so he's on a few days' worth of Metronidazole to get that particular aspect back under control. Poor fella.

He was a bit more sleepy and lethargic than normal yesterday, which left me a bit concerned, but I have to remember he's fighting off a fairly nasty infection so he's bound to be tired until the meds start to work. Will keep an eye on him today and see how things go.

Meanwhile his appetite is perfectly fine, so that's all good. We've yet to worry about Harlow's appetite--he's so damned food driven it's not even funny. If we crinkle anything plastic he comes a runnin' to see what we've got to eat. ;) We go near the laundry room door and he notices--right there waiting for food. No small wonder he was McLargeHuge when he came to us--he was always eating whatever he could get his paws on! He's doing well now on the Science Diet Light kibbles we feed him--he's gone from about 15 pounds of cat down to about 12 pounds of cat and he's getting around the house a lot more spryly than he used to, which is good to see.

So, yeah. Waiting to see some improvement with Harlow, which should come in the next couple of days...
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He's been a total dickhead this morning, jumping back and forth from my hope chest starting before 0800, which is early even for him. He kept swatting/attacking Ulysses in the hallway, too, while he waited for his breakfast--that was more concerning and aggravating, as Ulysses was just hanging out in the hallway being himself and doing nothing wrong to Lars to deserve the fisticuffs. Lars be a jackass!

No downloads yesterday or overnight, so we're back up to 6ccs of Lactulose tonight. Getting the digestive tract regulated again is going to be a Big Old Bitch, methinks. I caught him in the open hallway box a couple of times yesterday afternoon, squatting for a minute or two, then leaving the box. He wasn't seeming to be straining, but no action, either, so...yeah. He still needs that extra 1cc of Lactulose to kick his guts into gear.

At least he calmed down after breakfast. He's chilling out somewhere, probably in his kitchen window or on Cat Fort Bravo. He ate alright--not as much of the meaty bits in the gushy fud as I would've liked, but at least he ate all the gravy off the meaty bits and that's where the meds live, so it's all good. I'll give him back the remaining meaty bits in a little while to see if he'll eat more of them before I toss it away. He ate his morning allotment of kibble like a boss, though, so that was good to see. He's so conditioned--he's so used to getting his gushy fud first, followed by a helping of kibble, that he'll eat less gushy fud so he's got room for his kibble, at least that's what I think that's how he's operating, LOL.

So, yeah--excitement a'poppin' in our house this morning! :/ Damned jackass cat, drivin' us nuts! Ever so glad to see the nutty behaviour, but it's still maddening as all hell!
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Harlow is, generally speaking, a sneezy and wheezy kitty most of the time we've had him in our house. Lots of head congestion, usually with clear discharge from his nose. He lives with chronic recurring herpes virus he caught at the shelter (pretty much all the cats at the cattery are carriers of it, only a select few have recurring problems with it and Harlow's one of them) and about a month ago he had a flare which turned into a bacterial infection which required a course of antibiotics as well as antibiotic eye drops for his one watery eye. He bounced back pretty well, but the sneezing and wheezing persisted, albeit with less eye watering and clear nasal discharge. Could Harlow be afflicted with seasonal allergies as well?

Time to find out, and J took Harlow to the vet for a check on that last Saturday morning. Dr. E checked him over and did indeed note that poor Harlow has a lot of congestion in his head; his chest, though, was mercifully very clear. She conceded it could be seasonal allergies and recommended we try to give Harlow a half tab of Benedryl daily to see if that would help. She also suggested we do another pre-emptive course of oral antibiotics because of how congested Harlow sounded. J took the scrip but decided we'd hold off on starting it until one of us noticed discolored nasal discharge from Harlow.

It didn't take long. Yesterday afternoon Harlow had a sneezing fit and a big old nasty grayish yellow loogie landed on my soda can. So much for drinking that soda, LOL, and so much for keeping Harlow off the antibiotics. He started the ClinDrops last night at dinner time; he's on a two-week course of that now. Last night we also noted that the watery eye was especially watery again, so we decided to resume the antibiotic eyedrops for a handful of days as well to get that under control again.

Poor fella--epilepsy, recurrent herpes flares, and seasonal allergies! He's our Special Kitty now...Ever so glad he takes all his meds like a total champ! :)
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Lars' digestive tract finally went into overdrive yesterday with all the tummy meds he's on to make him download--after breakfast he had a regular download followed by a somewhat squishy one, then followed by a liquipoo. /TMI This is exactly what we were trying to achieve with the max dose of Lactulose and we finally reached maximum velocity! This means dialing back Lars' Lactulose dose to 5cc per day (3cc in the morning, 2cc at night) and see how that goes. If we achieve standard soft poos we're golden again; if we still have maximum velocity ick then I'm to call back to see if we dial back the Lactulose some more.

The trial at 96 hours' interval on the Mirtazepine went pretty well--his appetite didn't flag until yesterday morning when he was due for his next dose, and picked right back up again once yesterday morning's dose kicked in a few hours after dosing. So that's going to be our go-to dose for the coming while. The goal is to see if he can eventually go without the Mirtazepine and still have an appetite without it, but for now...yeah...

This morning marked a very happy and somewhat aggravating milestone! Before he got sick, Lars would agitate me to get up to feed him his breakfast by jumping atop my hope chest, which is stacked with a goodly part of my tee-shirt collection. I hate it when he jumps up there because the stacks are not the most stable and, occasionally, his jumps upon them cause some of them to fall off the stack and also destabilize the rest of the stack(s) that remain. Yeah, I know--get another dresser, but there's no room in the master bedroom for another dresser, so that's where they live...Anyway, this morning Lars jumped onto my hope chest/tee-shirts' stacks like three times!! :) I was both annoyed and incredibly happy all at once!! A great sign that he's really starting to feel better!

He's also been a bit of a dick to the other kittehs in the house this morning--agitating and causing what we call "fisticuffs"--boxing at the other three kids and posturing and a bit of hissing. He's been corrected several times so far this morning. I think he was agitating because he was hungry, LOL, and the Mirtazepine's giving him the Cat Crazies in full force now that he's feeling a bit better. Gotta keep an eye and an ear out for fighting today and in the coming days...

The Monday update with VCA was a good one--Dr. M was pleased to hear that Lars was able to get through the 96 hour interval with the Mirtazepine, that his personality continues to return, and that he's continued to download on a regular basis (or even moreso as he found out after the call from Cindy the tech, LOL) As long as Lars maintains status quo or improves we're golden--no need for another evaluation visit or any more testing/endoscopy. If Lars starts heading backwards into illness again, then we'll have to re-evaluate at the very least. It could take 3-4 weeks for him to completely return back to normal from this bout of illness, so I'm trying to be a patient mama; daddy's perfectly patient, but not me, LOL. I want my boy back, dammit! :/ At least now things are slowly returning to normalcy! :)

Yay! :D
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Once the Mirtazepine kicked in later this morning, Lars was a bit closer to acting himself. Still a little flat, still a little lethargic, but the "cat crazies" that I anticipate him getting from the med were almost there full force by afternoon time. :)

He even downloaded a good one for me early afternoon instead of waiting all day and into the night to do so! :) Mama's a bit more of a happy camper.

I finally did get an answer regarding the ongoing lethargy; Dr. M attributes it to possible side effects from the Mirtazepine. Given that Mirtazepine is an antidepressant, lethargy could legitimately be a side effect. Thing is, though, it usually ISN'T with any of our cats who've taken it. They all have usually gotten the "cat crazies" and acted manic as all fuck while on it, at least for the first 24 hours of the dosing interval. So, sort of a non-answer. The solution is to give Lars 1/8 of a tab vs. 1/4 of a tab every 72 hours or to go to 1/4 tab every 96 hours. Here's the thing: the 1/4 tab starts to crap out and his appetite starts to wane about 12 hours before the next dose is due, so lengthening the dosing interval is probably not a wise idea. Nor, would I think, would cutting the dose in half be a wise idea, but I guess we'll try it the next time he's due for a dose, if anything to appease the folks at VCA, to show we're listening to and following their counsel.

So recap: more active and vocal and "Cat Crazy" today, even perching on the cat fort in the den for awhile for the first time in over a week that I've noticed. Eating pretty darn good, downloading earlier in the day. All and all A Good Day so far. Here's to hoping his days continue to improve!! :)
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He was quite lethargic most of the day yesterday and he didn't beg for food as much. The food thing didn't surprise me much as he was on the tail end of his most recent Mirtazepine dose, but the increased lethargy was quite worrisome. :/ All he really did was lay around, all meh, sleeping or just kinda staring into space when he wasn't sleeping.

Called VCA with the latest update--the concern about the increased lethargy, the finally achieved download from Tuesday, the somewhat not surprising lag in appetite. Was told by the tech that I need to expect to some degree that Lars will be "off" for awhile because his body is healing from the intestinal problem, that he's still behaviorally within the range of what a "normal" cat would be acting like--maybe not close to normal for Lars, but "normal" for cats in general, so to try not to fret too much but to keep them updated on any changes. Cindy the tech said she would let Dr. M know about the increased lethargy and get back to me, but she never called back last night so...yeah...

As far as downloads go, he was *really* late with his daily present yesterday--didn't deposit kids in the pool until around 2230. Thank Bast it was a sizable one, which put my mind at ease. I keep looking around the house at his old errant shitting haunts and find nothing, so he's using the boxes exclusively now, so...yeah...unless he's picked new places to deposit his shits, which is entirely possible. I simply do NOT think he's downloading enough for the amount of Lactulose, Benefiber, and probiotics we're giving him daily. Cindy from VCA says as long as he's giving one good download per 24 hour period we're pretty good, but...yeah, I worry big-time!

This morning was a Mirtazepine morning, so his appetite and affect should pick up a little bit in a few hours or so. He half-heartedly woke me for his breakfast again this morning, and ate alright for me in both gushy fud and kibble, so there's that at least. He's currently asleep in his usual post-breakfast spot. Another thing that concerns me is I've not caught him on either of the cat forts in at least a week, probably longer. That's unusual for him, as he's all about being up high and looking out the window. Sigh. Another thing to bring to VCA's attention.

The stress of him being sick is really getting to me. I'd just gotten past the stress of Ra illness and passing, long since gotten past the stress of Jazz's and Diva's illnesses and passings, and was coasting along, all blissed out that I finally had two healthy cats in my life. Now I'm back to sick kitty land and I'm a wreck... :( Sweet Bast, please watch over my precious boy...
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He was a bit more lethargic yesterday than I would like to have seen, but on the up side his appetite was pretty darn good, so there's that at least. Another day of mixed bag behaviors.

He put a bit of a scare into me by waiting to download until late afternoon around 1700 rather than his somewhat usual noonish he'd been doing in the several days before. I did put in another call to VCA regarding his lack o' poo, but they weren't terribly concerned as he'd had good output 24 hours earlier and even better output 48 hours before. So at least he *did* download for me, damned cat. :/

This morning he woke me up for breakfast, more politely than his normal, but he still woke me up for his breakfast so that's a good thing. J wasn't up at the same time as I was feeding so Lars got his half scoop of kibble to tide him over rather than his usual first being served his gushy fud with all the stuff in it because I'm not able to corral Lars to give him his Lactulose (tried that one time with only 1.5 cc, couldn't control him, and got bitten to boot, as you might recall). Lars was Unhappy about this development, but he managed to survive. ;) He's actually grudgingly getting a bit more easy for J to dispense with the Lactulose, which is very nice for everyone involved.

Once the Lactulose was down the hatch, I waited a few minutes and fed him his half can of Gravy Lovers gushy fud with the probiotic and the benefiber mixed in. Predictably, he scarfed down all of the gravy (which is where all the meds are, which is a great thing) but only ate about 2/3 of the meaty bits today. This could indicate that the Mirtazepine is starting to wear off as his next dose is tomorrow morning. :/ So...yeah. Mixed bag food wise this morning.

Doesn't seem to be nauseated, has not vomited at all since going on the Cerenia course last Thursday. But...I *know* he's not feeling well because he's so lethargic and extra sleepy. I worry that he's not improving quickly enough to avoid the endoscopy procedure. J says "don't borrow from tomorrow" and to take every day as it comes and wait and see, but I'm an overly anxious mama who just intrinsically knows when her best boy is Not Well. I know it takes time for the meds to do their thing, but on top of being overly anxious I'm an impatient mama, too. I want him back to his old self NOW. I want my peace of mind back that my beloved boy is alright.

Sigh. And so it goes... :/
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