Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tube is Out, But Concerns Remain

Yesterday, we took Arthur to his vet Dr. Plotnick and we came into the appointment with concerns about Arthur's eating. As I mentioned in my most recent post, Arthur has been eating on his own, but not the 250 calories per day we had been aiming for so he was still getting a tube feeding or two every day.

We went into the appointment assuming that his feeding tube was going to be staying in for the foreseeable future and that we were going to have to keep shooting for normalcy. However, Dr. Plotnick was persistent in his belief that we should remove Arthur's feeding tube right away. He told us that, now that Arthur's liver has returned to normal, if Arthur eats every day but eats less calories he's not in immediate danger of going back into fatty liver syndrome. He also said he believes that the presence of the feeding tube itself might be holding Arthur back from eating as much as he should.

He said we don't need to obsessively count Arthur's calories as long as we see him eating consistently. We have a follow-up appointment next Friday to see how Arthur's weight and health do in his first week without the tube. If it's a problem, we can always move back to force feeding with a new tube or a syringe.

So we made the leap. The tube is out and, though Arthur has a bandage around his neck while the hole heals up (about 36 hours), he is now tube-free and we can see that he is much much happier. He was affectionate throughout this ordeal, but he is even more affectionate now. The picture above shows him snuggling on the ottoman between our feet. When we took this shot, we were sitting watching a movie and he came up and sat on Liz's lap and kneaded her and then sat on mine and then settled between our feet.

He has been eating, but the usual nibble here and there. However, to be honest, the amount he is eating might be equivalent to what he was eating before he got sick. It's hard to say because he always snuck into the kitchen and grabbed some kibble when nobody was looking rather than eating huge amounts right when we put food down (like his brother does). We have seen him going into the kitchen late at night to grab more food.

We are cautiously optimistic that he has turned the corner and will be eating enough on his own. As usual, Dr. Plotnick has made us feel really confident in what we are doing. He is an amazing veterinarian, we have a ton of faith in him, and we believe we can't really go wrong. He's done as much for our mental health as for Arthur's physical health.

If you've read about our saga with the old vet, you know that the old vet had said at one point that we shouldn't worry about how much Arthur was eating and we wrote that off as bad advice when Arthur's condition worsened. However, as Dr. P pointed out, there's a big difference between that time and this one. When the old vet told us we shouldn't be concerned about Arthur's food in-take, he was in the throes of intense liver disease. Now his liver is normal and Dr. P tells us that he will not go back into fatty liver if he has a few days where he is eating less than we would like.

However, you'll forgive us for still being a bit obsessive about how much Arthur is eating and still watching him closely. Hopefully he starts eating a bit more in front of us.

Another side effect of the tube removal is that, once we remove the bandage tonight, Liz will start sleeping in the bedroom again. She has been sleeping on the living room couch every night for the last month so she could keep an eye on Arthur at night and make sure his brother didn't wrestle him and pull the feeding tube out. With no more tube, we can both go back to sleeping in the bedroom.


Amy and The House of Cats said...

We are so glad the tube is out - we hope that it was the reason Arthur was eating less on his own. Our kitty Lola is like him in that she eats less then the other cats at dinner time but then eats the kibble when we aren't looking. We are sending him some get hungry purrs and hope that his next visit shows that he is eating, even if you don't see it.

Minemine et coe said...

Good news ! Thank you for sharing it with us. So please to khow that now you have a vet that you can trust and who cares for the cat. And BRAVO for your care and love. You two are remarquable people.

Linda (Minemine et coe.)

meredithp said...

Glad the tube is out. He may feel a lot more "normal" without it. Sounds like this is a great doctor. Glad you found that practice.

Anonymous said...

Awww I love those pics with him being so cuddly and I'm so sure you love him cuddling with you! Good news about the tube coming out. I'll just bet over the next few days Arthur will start eating better. He's probably quite relieved not to have that tube hanging off of him. And like everyone else and you too, lol, I'm relieved you found this new wonderful vet. As you noted, your own mental health is so important to your pets too. They can sense when you are uptight and that affects them. Much love to all of you (from socidoc)

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

We are glad the tube is out. Tiki is a stealth eater too. We hope Arthur continues to eat, even if it is while you aren't looking. Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

KattyCat said...

This is so good to read ! Well done Arthur, i followed everything and was very worried. Hopefully things will go back to normal and you get lots and lots of cuddles !

violentdayzie said...

Hi, my baby is having an e-tube put in today. I've read through your recent story, and it's very reassuring. Thanks for sharing it.