Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Please Pray for Arthur (an Update)

I don't want to spend too much time rehashing everything that has happened to Arthur (and us) over the past week, but I'll point to a forum thread on About.com where I've been discussing the whole thing under the user name geekinchief23.

Here is where we stand right now. Arthur came home from the hospital last Thursday (2/25) with some prescriptions and an order to get back to eating. As you may know by now, he has fatty liver disease, a condition which is curable if the cat gets the right amount of food into them fast neough.

Over the weekend, we got Arthur to eat and he has eaten a bit every day, but we were concerned that he was not eating enough. By our count, he is a 13.5 pound cat and has been eating maybe 2-3 ounces of food per day, if that. However, his behavior has improved, though he is traumatized by being force fed the beyatryl antibiotic pill every day (he'll get a skin solution for it soon). My wife Liz and I have been whipping out a can of his favorite food, Solid Gold Blended Tuna, maybe 3 times a night and maybe one of those 3 times, he will actually want to eat and will eat maybe 1/3 or 1/4 of a 3 oz can. In between he will have maybe 5 to 10 pieces of kibble, though a lot of the kibble crumbs are falling out of his mouth.

So my wife Liz and Iwere concerned: Was he eating enough? Unfortunately, nobody would give us a straight answer about how much he was supposed to be eating. We called the internal medicine specialist who saw him at the hospital (which nearly wiped out our savings by conducting $3k worth of tests) and they said "we can't really tell you how much is enough. Don't worry about it."

We talked to our own regular Vet who said "if he's eating anything at all, he will be fine." Call us worry warts, but neither of those answers inspired confidence in us. Today, we took him into the vet and where normally Liz goes by herself b/c I'm at work, I left work for the afternoon so I could go with her. I talked to the doctor and demanded some answers about the amount of food he should be eating.

Again, she reiterated her extremely vague response. "If he's eating at all, I wouldn't worry," she said. I said "he's eating about 2 ounces of food a day. Isn't that too little?" She said "maybe that's normal for him."

She weighed Arthur and indeed he had gained weight since his last weighing. He was now 13.5 pounds where he had weighed in at 13.2 when we brought him in the day before. She said "I think he's doing great, but if you really want and it would make you feel better, I'll run a blood test on him now while you wait to check his liver values again." I said, "yes, please run the test."

Liz and I sat in the waiting room for about 20 minutes and then the doctor came out with a sad look on her face. She said that his liver values had taken a significant turn for the worse. Where his liver number had been 4.2 when he left the hospital, it is now 7.0 (higher is worse).

She said to us: "Hmm, maybe he isn't eating enough. I called the hospital and they suggest putting in a feeding tube." A feeding tube is something we had been asking about and suggesting ourselves (against both the hospital's and her objections) since he was diagnosed.

So tomorrow, he is going back to the hospital and will get a feeding tube installed, probably at an exorbitant price that will really hurt us. We are praying that he will now be ok, but of course, the hospital and vet are not inspiring confidence with their vague and incorrect answers.

We thought about taking him to another vet and we were considering an appt with one at the ASPCA, but right now I feel like I don't want to start over with a new doctor while his condition is declining like this. If we get the feeding tube in and he starts to improve, maybe then we can take him to some place that doesn't know him or maybe this is just a lesson-learned that we need better people to care for him and Beowulf in the future.

I will tell you candidly that this illness has been very very hard on Liz and I. We are not eating or sleeping. We have constant stomach aches. We are distracted and we're not ashamed to admit that, even though we are not religious people, we are doing a lot of praying lately. Please send your best wishes, positive thoughts, and prayers, not to us but to Arthur. He's going to need them.


Leslie Kaufman said...

Poor, poor Arthur. You are doing everything for him and more. I know how trying this is for you and Liz, Avram. It is extremely emotional when your pet gets sick and you feel like you have no control, especially when you don't have the confidence in your vet. I just posted something on my blog about ensuring one has a great vet. You know my opinion on who I think is an excellent cat specialist if you decide to go that route. Please be prepared that feeding Arthur via the tube will be very trying and time consuming. It's very tricky. Please, please ask the vet to tell you everything you need to know about force feeding through a tube - there are many factors involved in succcessful feeding. I know that all 3 of you will get through this, whether it's through prayer or innate strength. Thanks for keeping us posted.

You are in my thoughts and prayers!

Leslie Kaufman

Anonymous said...

purrs for arthur! i hope that beowulf has his bro back to himself soon!

mizzyN said...

sad to hear about arthur. i hope he will eat more.

Anonymous said...

I'm not religious either but my prayers and thoughts are with you all. And once Arthur gets better you do need to find yourselves another vet. (((((Arthur))))) (from socidoc)

Anonymous said...

You asked how much food per day, I am told one 5 1/2 to six ounce can per day. A good group to join, Feline assisted feeding on yaho. You are all in my prayers.

Tiki & Kirby (& sometimes Kesey) said...

Poor Arthur! Have they had you give him an appetite stimulant? Plain chicken baby food (no onions) is supposed to help sick kitties as well. When Kesey couldn't eat, the vet gave us a high calorie wet food that helped him get enough calories. Sending you many purrs. Feeding tubes are scary.

Junior and Orion said...

We saw about Arthur on the Cat Blogosphere and wanted to come over and let you know we will be purring and praying for Arthur to start eating and get all better!!!

ML said...

I's so sorry to hear about Arthur.
I maked a grafik and put it up on the Cat Blogosphere.
Me an mine six brofurs and sisfurs are purring really hard fur him to get better.
Wish you haded a better vet, we know how bad it is when you don't communikate wif tha vet purrson.
Maybe later you could put up a ChipIn button so we can all leaf a dollars or two to help out wif him's bill?
Let me know iffen you need help wif an aukshun or sumfing.
Love & Purrs,

ML said...

BTW, Mommy ML said to try Hills A/D food. It's in a can and furry stinky. It's got a lot of fat in it. They used it fur me when I was too little and wouldn't eat. It is yummy.
It can also be put in a biggie syringe fur force feeding... still yummy. That an chicken baby food saved me.
Love & Purrs,

jimbo said...

oh dear, it makes me very sad to hear about Arthur..We always believe in the power of prayers, nothing can beat 'em..Our prayers are with you.. Be strong!!


"The Boys" and Karen said...

We were checking out the Catblogosphere just now, and saw where Arthur is in need of some prayers and good thoughts. Then here, we read your story and can tell how much you love him. Just wanted to let you know we'll keep all of your in our prayers.

Eric and Flynn said...

We are sending our purrs and prayers for Arthur. We hope that he will soon start to eat on his own.

Jan's Funny Farm said...

We are sorry you are all going through this. It is frightening when a furry is sick and we get vague responses from the professionals. But you need to take care of yourselves too.

We send warm purrs, tail wags for Arthur and {{{hugs}}} for his humans.

The Island Cats said...

We are purring very hard for Arthur and hope he starts improving. We are purring for you and Liz as well. Our mom says she can totally relate to how stressful it can be when you are dealing with serious health issues with your kitties.

Wally, Ernie & Zoey

Franny said...

{{{Avram and Liz}}} You know that Arthur has been in my prayers from Day 1, and will continue to be until he is completely out of the woods. I think you also know my opinion of certain vets and hospitals.

If you'll DM me once Arthur has the feeding tube inserted, I'll phone you again. We'll get through this together, dearest friends.

Love and hugs all around, and skritches to Arthur and Beowulf, who must be worried too about his brother.


Charlemagne and Tamar said...


We know you may not feel like eating right now, but you really need to so that you can get better.

Sending huge big bunches of purrs for Arthur to get better!!!

Charlemagne and Tamar

Shaggy, Scooby and Scout said...

Avram, we used to visit long ago, when you first got the boys but have lost touch since. I was saddened to hear about dear Arthur on the Cat Blogosphere update page.
Please know that we are keeping all of you in our thoughts and definitely our prayers.
Be strong little guy!

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Oh, we is purring and purraying hard fur Arthur. Yup, any stinky, high calorie wet food and chicken baby food. Chidken baby food appeals to even cats who won't eat anything else. Dem vets sound kinda dumb, not answering yoor kwestchuns, a good vet should know how much food is needed fur what size da kitty is even if dey hafta think about it fur a minit! Our vet can even look at da ingredients on da label and calculate da amount wifout using his fingers!

Niko and Cloud said...

I know you don't want to start over with a new vet while he is still so sick, but I think his illness being this severe actually means that you should. You need a vet that will answer your questions, be supportive, and most importantly, knows what they are doing. And it seems that this vet is none of the above, unfortunately.
We are praying and purring for you all!