Saturday, March 12, 2011

UKBB: Ketoacidosis Kitty

Part of the reason I've been so feline-focused lately is that we're worried about Uncle Kitty Big Balls.  The proverbial doodoo hit the fan last night and he is now safely ensconced at the vet's office, but is, in her words, "critical."

We were suspicious that he was developing diabetes -- something we've experienced before in a cat, and something that I deal with daily.

We're oh-so-informed, you know.

Every few days I would share what I had noticed with Fred, and he would do the same.  Somehow, though, we had a communication breakdown this week -- it could have been all the medical running-around we were doing on my behalf, also the building consensus that whatever else needed doing could just wait until stuff (see previous post on schtuff) settled into the semblance of a routine.

I didn't tell him about the couple of sweet-smelling urine offerings I'd cleaned up;  Neither of us shared our concerns over what we now know was profound lethargy;  Fred had wondered to himself whether there wasn't more... clumped material issuing from the litter boxes.  And so on and so forth -- thirst, weight gain, followed by weight loss, hunger.

Two ships passing in the night -- Fred was going to bed at 4 am, just as I was getting up.  Thank goodness, by then The Fredster was concerned enough about "Little Boy" to chat in those wee hours.

He -- the cat -- had projectile vomited all over the kitchen.  Neither of us could recall any such prior contributions.  After that, the little guy tottered over to the bed, climbed in, and quite literally fell asleep.  His exhaustion was palpable.

We don't mess around when our animals need care.  It's in their contract and it is the least we can do for insisting they share their lives with us.  It's the least we can do for the hours of affection and entertainment.

So, at 4 am, anticipating a diabetes (or pre-diabetes) diagnosis, we made plans to call the vet sometime today and go in with him maybe on Tuesday.

By 6:30, UKBB had moved from the bed to a recently favored rug and his strange little family was keeping an eye on him, as well as their noses.  Dobby and Marmy clearly found his smell "off."

That was what made it all click.  You probably saw this coming in the first paragraph. 


By the time we rushed him to the vet, his blood sugar was off the chart, off the monitor, as high as could be measured.  His eyes were dull, pupils wide, respirations shallow and fast.  He was kind of responsive -- to us, at least -- We who so much wanted a response that we were talking ourselves into seeing one.  He was dehydrated and his temp was low.

I don't like this particular vet very much.  She did not earn points with us when she cared for Sammy last summer, and when we first took in UKBB, she missed several abscesses and just generally seemed careless.  I am sure that opinion is not fair and is colored by our worry, as he was in horrible shape back then (errrr, as opposed to now?).

However, she was spouting textbook-quality plans of action today, and seems to know her way around a diabetic crisis.  We will have to transfer L'il Boy from the vet's office to a veterinary emergency room at 5 pm, as they plan to start frequent tiny fast-acting insulin shots overnight and he will have to be closely monitored.  Right now, they are trying to correct his electrolytes and just get him rehydrated.

The morals of this story, for you cat lovers and "owners" out there, are to share your observations of any aberrant behavior/symptoms and to never put off going to the vet when a concern does finally coalesce.
Also, ketoacidosis can happen like *that* -- very fast.  Get ready to move, to fly like the wind.

I am kind of kicking myself for not giving him a little shot of my insulin -- but I kept thinking, what if we are wrong and this is not related to diabetes... I could kill the little guy...

Anyway... please keep a good thought for Uncle Kitty Big Balls, right now better known as "Little Boy," that formerly homeless vagabond who looks like he should be gnawing on the end of a stogie and raking in the winnings at a mob-run poker game.  He is in critical condition, "may not make it," and deserves another shot at a life of leisure and wild fun.

Take a good look at your pet today... are there any health issues there that you've been putting off addressing?  Don't delay -- our time is not their time and they rely on us to figure all that cross-species schtuff out.         

What a face.  It's a rough weekend for Uncle Kitty Big Balls.

P.S. Virginia Tech doesn't have a prayer and I think Carolina will be seeing Duke in the finals, where Chapel Hill will, once again, show itself vastly inferior to the product out of Durham Town.

P.S.S.  Well, now it is Clemson that didn't get my memo.  They're blowing Carolina out at the half...  In other, infinitely more important news, the vet just called.  UKBB has warmed up to 99.5 from 97, now has a blood pressure of at least 60, whereas it wasn't palpable before.  His labs are not too bad, except for the obvious electrolyte imbalances in potassium and sodium.  He is getting a good amount of sodium from the large bolus and i.v.s they are using, and they will slowly raise the potassium.  He remains lethargic, not reacting much to even being stuck.  His respirations had improved but, for some reason, he is speeding back up again.  HIS BLOOD SUGAR REMAINS OVER 700.  They have yet to address that, and won't, until we move him to the emergency facility at 4:30-5.  I think she sounded more optimistic, as the labs came back better than anticipated.  She actually praised us to high heaven for picking up on what was wrong and not chalking it up to a virus or something.  Sorry, but we are not feeling too happy with ourselves... She said some cats begin their diabetic life by just hitting the wall -- and that's what our guy did.  So fast, just a matter of hours.  Thank goodness we knew a little bit about how things unfold, but we should have been vastly more concerned.  Please learn from our mistake.  Hopefully, UKBB won't pay too high a price for our tired reaction times. 

In the meantime, the basketball gods are going to punish "my" teams, and while I am really sorry for that, what did you expect would happen?

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