Sunday, November 09, 2008

Please Send Good Thoughts for Parceiro

For the past few months, our cat Parceiro has suffered from crystals in his urine. He's been on a special C/D diet, but apparently it wasn't enough to resolve his condition.

Yesterday we woke up and I knew something serious was wrong with my boy. He was contracting constantly trying to pee, but no liquid was coming out. His pupils were dilated, and I could just sense he wasn't okay. I knew he had a urinary blockage. The worst part was when he started purring - the reaction of a cat in ecstacy, but also a cat in serious pain or close to death.

Thankfully, the vet we go to has limited hours on Sundays, so we were able to wait until they opened and take Parceiro. I couldn't stop crying on the way to the vet, and sat in the waiting room while Rico took the cat in for an exam (I can't stand to see animals in pain, and my reaction makes them more nervous, so if it's possible, I stay out of the exam room).

After a while, Rico came out and said the vet wanted to keep Parceiro for 1 hour and has asked us to return at 11am. When we got in the car, Rico spelled it out: according to the vet, Parceiro did in fact have a blockage, he was hypothermic and had blood in his urine. He said it was potentially life-threatening, and that the vet would do what he could, but Parceiro was definitely in critical condition.

I burst out in sobs, uncontrollable, awful wails from the bottom of my being. It seemed so surreal that we might lose our Gato Gray, our sweet boy-cat. It was also so frustrating to be in Maputo, where there is no 24/7 vet access, and it doesn't matter if you have money to pay for an emergency treatment...there is nobody equipped to do more than the basic vet services.

Rico reminded me that we must stay strong and hopeful for Parceiro. He is young, and other than the crystals, is a healthy cat. He will pull through. We drove around Maputo, along the seaside, to pass the time until we had to go back the vet. I prayed and cried and said mantras. I kept repeating "Everything's gonna be alright, love and light." I tried to visualize a positive outcome for our baby.

Back at the vet, the attending doctor said he'd been able to remove a few crystals using a catheter, but that Parceiro's urinary canal kept blocking up regardless. He said the cat might need surgery, and that the clinic wasn't equipped to do it, that we'd have to go to South Africa. His attitude was defeatist, and almost cold. I felt completely helpless.

Rico and I called all of our animal-loving friends here, and managed to get a recommendation for another vet clinic in Maputo that we didn't even know existed. We called the very nice female vet, and she said to bring the cat by immediately.

When we arrived, it was such a relief. The clinic had a completely different feel about it, and the doctor's approach was much better. They did a lab analysis of Parceiro's urine (bright red with blood at this point, to my horror), and took x-rays to see his bladder and if there were blockages. Due to the trauma to Parceiro's urethra at the first vet, the new vet decided it was too risky to do a flushing treatment, and just gave him some vitamins and an anti-inflammatory. At this point, his bladder was the size of an egg on the x-ray.

We went home and rested with the cat all afternoon, then returned at 6pm for another checkup. Parceiro's temperature was up (a good sign), and the vet thought it was okay to do the flushing treatment wiht a long catheter to push the crystal blockages up into the bladder, where they will hopefully be dissolved by another prescription food.

Poor Parceiro was exhausted at the end of all this, understandably, and when we got home he just lay still and rested. All night he slept next to us. He managed to pee a few times, but I don't think it was voluntary. The sheet under him was stained with blood and urine, but apparently less red than earlier in the day - another good sign. We made it through the night, fitful and mostly sleepless looking after our boy. My heart melted when I looked over at one point and saw Pria cleaning Parceiro from head to toe, playing a mix of Momma Cat and Nurse.

This morning, things look a bit less promising, but I'm confident Parceiro is going to rest and gain strength and pull through in the next couple of days. He is very lethargic, and keeps trying to pee again with no success, though likely it's because of a swollen urethra now instead of a blockage. We're waiting 45 minutes for the new vet to open, then we will go back for a checkup.

Please pray/think good thoughts that Parceiro is healing, that his temperature is back to normal, that he doesn't have a blockage again, that his bladder isn't too full, that he doesn't vomit again, that he gets good treatment and feels as safe and well as possible. Please pray/think good thoughts that he gets well, that he stays well, that we get our sweet gray baby back to normal.


We just got back from the vet, and things look okay. She was able to put a catheter in Parceiro and fully drain his bladder, with no need for a puncture. She also thinks that with continued catheters over the next few days, plus medication and an iv drip, there will be no need for surgery! Poor Parceiro is all drugged up now, but hopefully he will be able to rest some before our evening trip back to the vet.

On another note, being at the only vet in Maputo to have urgent care hours on a holiday (today is Maputo Day) is horrifying, though I'm incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to see a vet at all. While I was sitting on the porch meditating over the jacarandas and flamboyants, several people came in with critically injured dogs. One small dog had fallen from the 1st floor of an apartment and broke its spine; it had to be put to sleep. I saw the owner walk in with the dog in a towel, then walk out empty-handed. The next dog that came in had either been attacked or hit by a car; it incessantly howled in pain. Finally, a boy and his mother walked in, called the vet's assistant out to their car, then walked right past me to the back entrance of the clinic carrying their deceased German Shepherd in a sheet with the attendant's help. Apparently the dog had died in the car en route to the vet's, my absolute worst nightmare here in Maputo. At least the dog was old and had lived a good life, from what I overheard from the vet's conversation with the mom. Regardless, I burst into tears on the porch...

Update 2:

After his treatment this morning, Parceiro rested for most of the afternoon at home while we watched tv. He tried several times to pee, but no liquid would come out. We suspected he was still blocked. We returned to the vet this evening (we are blessed that they keep emergency hours from 11-12 and 18-18.30 on Sundays and holidays). The vet put in another catheter, and was able to identify several crystals blocking the front of his urethera. She wasn't able to get them out, however, and decided to wait until the morning. In the meantime, the vet gave Parceiro fluids, as he hasn't wanted food or water all day. While she was administering the iv, Parceiro expelled the crystals on his own! Rico had a look under the microscope and said they looked like grains of rock salt, clearly visible to the naked eye. Now that the vet was able to positively identify the type of crystals, Parceiro will go on an S/D diet, which we will have to buy in South Africa.

Now that our Gray Baby seems to be unblocked, we are hopeful that tonight will be a bit easier on him. Tomorrow morning we will return to the clinic for more antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and - lucky cat! - an enema.

Thank you all so much for your good thoughts and prayers. It has made a difference just knowing you are out there.

Update 3:

We made it through the night again. The highlight was soon after we returned from the vet, and Parceiro peed all over the blanket he was lying on! Lots of pee! That was amazing to see, and Rico and I laughed about how we never thought we'd be happy about a cat peeing on our blankets or our bed.

This morning, however, it looks like Parceiro may be blocked again. He has been trying to pee with no success. He is also mewling and even howling every once in a while in pain, which is awful, but sort of a good sign because it shows he is reactive and feeling strong enough to complain about his situation - much better than the total lethargy of yesterday morning.

I have to go to work, but Rico will take Parceiro back to the vet in about an hour. I hope they find more crystals, and that they are able to unblock Parceiro for good this time! Hang in there, my boy!!


Liz Butler Evans said...

Oh, Ali! You are all definitely in my thoughts. One of my (girl) cats had a similar problem earlier this year -- she had irritation in her bladder that just would not go away. I had to take her in for testing probably six times, but eventually we got it all cleared up and she is so much better now!

Do you have access to S/D food in Maputo? My vet had Mabeline on S/D until the inflammation was gone and then switched to C/D for maintenance.

I hope Parceiro feels much better soon!

NOLAGringa said...

Oh! Poor kitty! He's so cute. What a trooper, handling all this.

Here's to hoping everything resolves well and soon.

telfair said...

Ali -- you guys are definitely in my thoughts / prayers. I don't know what I'd do if either of my girls had to go thru what Parceiro has gone thru! Will be sending all the good vibes I have.

Anonymous said...

We are both thinking of the boy and sending our best thoughts.
Dad and Laura

Ali la Loca said...

~Liz - Thank you so much. We are going to put Parceiro on S/D starting tomorrow, so hopefully that will do the trick. Then we will go back to C/D for 6 months for maintenance. I'm glad Mabeline is crystal-free after going through that whole ordeal!

~Nolagringa - He's a strong boy. After all, his life started as an abandoned 1-week-old kitten tied in a trash bag and thrown in a dumpster outside the Indian Embassy, cruelly left to die. He and Pria made it through that, so I'm sure this will be just a bump in the road for him!

~Telfair - Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts. It is a truly awful feeling to have a sick animal, especially when you love your pets as much as we do (we being collective - You/GB and Me/Rico).

~Dad/Laura - Thanks. It was good to talk to you in the waiting room, helped me pass the time. Seems like we have good news for the night, so we are off to rest.

Marlton Jul said...

Hi Ali,
I have followed your blog for months.
I just started my own few weeks ago and right now with working full time and going to school at night my free time is spent studying etc. So I hope to keep up daily with updates soon. Anyway, I have prayed and will continue to pray for Parceiro. I myself have gone through the same thing with my cat Izzie. He is now 14 years old and healthy. It is both exhausting and so emotional to go through what all of you have gone through. We all wish we could go through this for our babies. I will continue to pray for Parceiro to St Francis of Assi. Our patron saint of animals. All the best! Julie (Marlton Jul)

Southern Goddess said...

Ali, my prayers are with Parceiro, you and Rico. I love my animals and consider them my children along with my son. I will pray, and I hope that everything will resolve itself in the best and healthiest manner. Poor baby. Prayers from Texas. SG

laundrygirl said...

Praying for you, Rico and Parceiro!
How unnerving all of it is! Sending thoughts of comfort and health your way!

Ali la Loca said...

~Marlton Jul - Glad to hear that things turned out well for Izzie. Thank you for praying for Parceiro.

I look forward to more visits from you here. Good luck with your studying!

~Southern Goddess - I agree, our boys are like children. I am so incredibly attached to Pria and Parceiro; I hope that love helps our boy through this though time. Thanks so much for your prayers.

~Laundrygirl - Your prayers are much appreciated. Thanks, my friend.