Harley the cat is very sick

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by gcvmom, May 26, 2010.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    He's got a urinary obstruction. I thought it might be an intestinal blockage because he was straining all morning and vomiting, plus his abdomen was hard. Vet said to get him in ASAP,
    so we rushed in and they said he has to be treated immediately. I was NOT expecting the outrageous bill they presented me to pay! :surprise: Talk about adding insult to injury. When I called husband to tell him the news, he said what about just euthanizing the cat, but I cannot in good conscience do that to a 5yo animal that is such a huge part of our family. :( Fingers crossed he responds to the treatment and can come home Friday (or sooner)!
  2. jal

    jal Member

    I'm sorry gcvmom.

    I hope he'll be OK soon. I have been there done that. I unfortunately had to make that painful decision in Feb this yr. It was the most devastating decision with-regards to an animal I had ever had to make. My 8.5 yr old orange tiger Abbott suffered through these for many years. husband & I put A LOT of $ into him. He got one in Jan and while I was still paying that bill it struck him again in Feb. With husband out of work I just could't afford it anymore. They wanted over $1000 for the sugery with-no guarantee that it wouldn't strike again. He was hopitalized around 6-8 times through his life with this. I even at one point had to learn to subcutaneously hydrate him at home with an IV.

    The special food never worked for him either...and it cost quite a bit. We tried everything. Hopefully, Harley will recover quickly and it won't happen to him again. Sending healing thoughts.
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Oh, I'm so sorry. That is awfully young.
  4. janie

    janie New Zealand

    Hi there,

    One of our cats (Muffin) had Urinary issues from around the age of 1. (By the way he was neutered at 6 months of age).
    He had his first surgery as a 1 year old. They unblocked him and kept him at the Vets clinic for several days with VERY strict instructions of the type of diet he would have to be on for the rest of his life.
    Funnily enough his 2 brothers who were adopted at the same by a friend of mine (when we adopted Muffin) went through the same issues - so possibly all 3 cats must have had a genetic pre-disposition towards a narrowed ureter (spelling?), and sensitivities to certain foods and the ph levels of those foods (which caused the blockages).
    The strict diet was of one type of dry food (could only purchase from the vet so it was pretty expensive).

    Despite being REALLY careful with giving him only the correct type of food he had 3 more blockages over his lifetime - each costing around NZ$1,000 in surgery. (I suspect that he used to occasionally sneak food from a neighbours place who fed his cats in a dish outside - Muffin was a little piggie!)

    We had him euthanaised 6 months ago when his kidneys totally failed - but he did live to the grand age of 12 - not bad considering the health issues he had :)

    So, I am just wanting to encourage you that Urinary blockages aren't the end of the world.
    But they are expensive to unblock, and the right type of food must always be given.

    If he did happen to eat the wrong food elsewhere and as a result get blocked up - it is so awful watching him "strain to pass urine when they have a blockage" - Muffin would almost make a noise like a duck quacking :(

    The Vet did say the last time Muffin was unblocked that he might have to surgically "make him a girl" - thus bypassing the whole blockage scenario. I felt that was too brutal.

    Best of luck with Harley.

    from Janie :)
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Well, the news just keeps getting better!

    They cannot get the catheter in to drain the bladder. So now they are calling in a $pecial$t!! :money:They said he needs a rerouting of his ureter and they are trying to reach a $urgeon that does this type of $urgery. They could not tell me the cost because the $urgeon bills separately from them.

    easy child is home now and knows about this and is very distraught, as am I. This is the cat who sleeps with me every night. Who greets me at the door when I come home. Who is like a fourth child (okay, fifth if you count husband).

    They said they don't use prednisone to reduce the inflammation because it takes too long to work and although they aspirated some urine out already, the cannot risk poking him repeatedly because there's a rupture risk due to the pressure already on the bladder. The longer he stays blocked, the greater the risk of permanent kidney damage... which could ultimately be fatal.

    What an agonizing position to be in.
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Surgery is scheduled for early tomorrow morning. The admitting vet is trying to trim some things off our bill to ease some of the financial pain, and I'm grateful for that. Hopefully everything goes smoothly tomorrow. :whiteflag:
  7. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Wishing you folks and Harley the best of luck. I've dealt with blockages in two cats over the years. One survived the surgery for several years but died early of renal failure.

    My current cat gets the occasional Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), but so far hasn't blocked on me. Our issue is that he associates using the litter pan with it hurting to pee. I have the let the little PITA out in all kinds of weather (gets bloody cold in the winter up here, too) or he pees in the house. He actually goes to the door and asks to be let out.

    If it is extremely cold, he runs out, does his business, and runs back in.
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry. Hope Harley comes through the surgery successfully. Poor kitty.
  9. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    What a horrible thing to have to deal with....on one hand it's just an animal, but on the other, the pet that is a major part of your family. I hope that this is just a one-time thing and you won't have to constantly be burdened with a financial issue with this little fur ball. HUGS
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Well, I got a call from the surgeon at 7:30 this evening as I was heading out. He changed his schedule to accomodate Harley TODAY, and he was calling to tell me everything went fine and he (the cat) was resting comfortably. There was a LOT of debris (protein, crystals, mucous) in the urethra contributing to the blockage. They performed a PU (perineal urethrotomy) so he will now pee from a new location which gives him a shorter path and larger opening. I was happy to hear they were able to do the procedure without opening him up. That should make for a shorter recovery. And hopefully he will never have to deal with this problem again, although they mentioned he'd probably go on a special diet... I'll have to find out for how long... I guess this was a pretty serious situation. I read more online about it:


    Thanks everyone for the good thoughts and prayers... My kids are tremendously relieved. I am happy about the outcome, but it is unfortunately tainted by the hefty credit card bill we now have. I s'pose it's still cheaper than years of therapy for potentially traumatized kids? :tongue:
  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    So glad the surgery went well-sorry about the bills though.
  12. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Well, the bad news is that he'll likely have to be on the special diet for the rest of his life. Be sure to get his kidney function tested regularly as well. Kitties that have blocked up like this, and remained blocked for any length of time like Harley, may have suffered some kidney damage and are more prone to it in the future.
  13. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    GN, they said his kidney function is great because this was caught so early, his pre-op blood work was fine, the urinalysis showed obvious signs of infection, though. They said he should have a good recovery, and yes, they recommended keeping him AND our other cat Whiskers on the special diet to prevent the struvite crystals from forming again. No idea what the cost of this food will be and if there are different brand choices out there. That will be my next research project I suppose!

    I got to peek at him this morning and he was VERY affectionate when he sniffed my hand and realized who I was (still a little doped up on pain medications). That was nice to see. He gets to come home tomorrow, and then he'll convalesce in my tiled bathroom since he's likely to have some accidents until his bladder muscles recoordinate themselves after recovering from the trauma. They showed me his new "exit" for the urine -- there was very little cutting done -- they did not have to open him up, so that should mean a faster recovery, too. He goes back in two weeks to have stitches removed under anesthesia. I have a credit on the account since they didn't use all the money I paid, so that should cover the follow-up visit.

    We are all relieved to be over the worst of this and that he'll be home soon! :D
  14. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    My current guy just gets the occasional bladder infection. No crystals. No blockage. He just gets UTIs and pees blood all over the house. On the diets: Hills makes a food called C/D for the crystals. I think Purina makes an RX diet for the same. Used to be a company called Felistar that made a special diet as well.

    Much as I dislike Hill's OTC products, the C/D is very palatable and most cats love it. Only problem I ever had with it was weight gain from the cats pigging out on it.

    The surgery, called a Penile Uresthostomy or PU, used to involve removing the penis and rerouting the urethra to a rearward location. I scrubbed in quite a few of these as a vet tech. I don't know if they still do them that way or if they spare the penis during the modern surgery. I'm talking thirty years ago in my case.
  15. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    That's exactly the surgery he had. They removed 1-2cm of the penis and then rerouted the urethra to a spot on the abdomen. So he'll pee like a girl now. :tongue: It looked like a very clean job.

    He never had any outward signs that he was sick until he started straining and squatting in unusual places with nothing happening -- looking back, he was doing that Tuesday night a little bit and it was VERY noticeable yesterday. I was feeling guilty, wondering if I could have prevented it, but the vet said no. Sometimes it just happens.
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm glad that he is doing so much better!
  17. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Glad things went well!