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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Medicating the impossible!!

You go to your vet and they prescribe a medication for your cat that you need to give X amount X number of times in a day.  Oh sure!! You have a plan in your head of how you can accomplish this.  You attempt that plan an it's a total failure.  Well, that was our scenario when we HAD to give Maya her medications.  At this point with her disease, her medications were her ticket to a longer life.

I knew ever since she was a kitten that when that day comes that she will need to be medicated, Oh Lord help me...and her! She was such a nervous cat.  She was also so incredibly strong.  Wrapping her up in a towel was impossible.

Maya was in heart failure and her vet insisted we give her about 3 different pills, twice a day.  We tried so many different ways of giving these pills that we were pretty unsuccessful.  We had many trips back to the vet office with Maya in which they put her in an oxygen chamber plus giving her meds via a shot to get the fluid out of her lungs.  Meanwhile, Sam and I would get scolded by the vet that she NEEDS to take her meds every day, on time.  Easy, they say.  Well, after a few of these vet visits back, they proclaimed that Maya was the most difficult cat they have ever encountered to give meds.  Yeah, no kidding!  Finally after a month of the many trips back to the vet, the many techniques we tried, they suggested getting compounded medications.  Why didn't they suggest this weeks ago??!!

I loved when after the many attempts we made to unsuccessfully medicate her, someone would always suggest to me, have you tried pill pockets?  Uh, yeah! That's like pill giving 101.

Here are all the techniques we tried.  These were suggested by her vet and the staff, and other things I found online.  Most were unsuccessful:
  • Wrapping the pill in a pill pocket and giving it as a treat.  She looked at it and walked away.
  • Wrapping the pill in a very thin layer of pill pocket and putting it in her wet food.  That worked for maybe a week.
  • Grinding the pill(s) and mixing in her food.  Again, maybe a week.
  • Grinding the pill(s) and putting it in her favorite tuna juice.  Worked 1 time.
  • Wrapping a pill and throwing down her throat.  Worked once after a MAJOR struggle.  Meanwhile we have to keep her calm b/c she has a heart problem.  
  • Grinding the pill(s) and mixing in a little Defurrum gel and wipe on her paw for her to lick.  Again, stressed her out and she flicked most of it off by shaking.
  • Grinding the pill(s) and mixing in a little butter and wiping on her lips,.  Again, stressed her out and she flicked most of it off by shaking.
  • We were so desperate once that we actually got the drill out and carved out the center of her favorite treats to put the pill inside.   That was of course unsuccessful.
Desperation at this point

Finally after a month of the many trips and overnight stays at the vet office, the many techniques we tried, the vet said "I can call in this medication to be compounded".  Why didn't they suggest this weeks ago??!! Having Maya on a consistent medication regime, could have helped her heart and resulted in less vet visits, less stress, and less occurrences of heart failure!

They called in her pills to a pharmacy in Arizona ( they offered many different flavors to choose from.  Tuna of course is the most popular with cats they told me.  Before Maya passed, she was on four different medications, which were given at different times of the day.  Very difficult.  Most days she took it in her wet food, some days she didn't.  By this time she was weak and dealt with being wrapped in a towel and given her meds via syringe into her mouth.  This still stressed her out to the point of heart failure.

So, I would say if you know your cat is difficult or want to give meds without stressing out your cat, spend the extra money and have the medications turned into a flavored liquid form.  Your kitty with thank you for it!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Maya's gift to us after her passing

Our visitor on that magical Saturday afternoon

I've heard the stories of people experiencing a visit of some kind from their beloved deceased pet.  After Orwell passed away three months ago, I prayed for some sign that she was still with us.  There was one time when I was by her ashes and feeling her fur that I collected from her favorite brush when I heard her meow.  It's hard to tell if I am just imagining things with wishful thinking.  In any case, it brought a smile to my face.

As for me, when a pet passes, it's much different than when a human passes.  There are words that can't be said.  You say them, but do they understand? Did they feel pain or were they disappointed in you somehow? It's all unknown, yet you love them so much that you only hope they knew that you wanted them to be safe and pain free.

Less than one day after Maya's passing, I experienced something that made me a believer that pets can and will be with us after their passing. 

Saturday was a gloomy day, which fit my mood perfectly.  It was the day after the horrible night we had saying goodbye to Maya at the ER.  Her death was extremely emotional in every way.  We ended her suffering after a very terrifying situation of her heart shutting down.  It was a situation that no one wants to see a pet go through and I felt terrible about not being by her side the entire time she was suffering.  With this, I wanted some sign that she was ok and forgave me.  In the morning, I sat outside on the back step with the overcast sky.  Something rarely, if never seen in a California summer.  Maya and I spent so much time together outside and I just wantd to feel that she was there with me.  Through the hazzy sky as I sat there, the sun peaked through and I felt this ray on me.  I felt her precence in this ray of sun.  It felt amazing.  Later that afternoon I went outside again to look at my garden.  This is always the point when Maya would come with me and insist on my attention as I play in the dirt.  She was not there and I felt such emptiness.  I then look in the bushes and I saw who I think is our neighbor kitty.  I have seen this cat everyday and Maya made she she kept a distance from our yard.  Once in a while I have seen this cat hiding somewhere in our yard.  I sat on the ground and I said "hi kitty!" and she immediatly comes over to me egarly wanting me to pet her.  It felt so good to pet her.  I was crying and Sam too was crying.  I truely felt that it was Maya with us.  When I started crying I felt rain drops landing on me and I knew right then that it was Maya.  She was crying too.  She knows how lonely Sam and I are and she allowed for this cat to be with us for companionship.  It was something that I have never expereinced before and for sure a very magical moment. 

Maya, always making sure I pay more attention to her than the garden plants

Since then, this kitty has come to me when I sit outside and who knows, maybe she's our new friend. 

Kitty was loving the lovin'

Until we meet again Little Maya

Maya in 2004 (1yr old) in her most favorite cat tree.

After a difficult two month battle with severe heart disease (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopothy) we lost our sweet little Maya August 3, 2012 at about 11:00pm.  We are comforted in knowing that she had a good day leading up to this evening and that we were with her when she needed us the most.  She ate well, took all of her medications on time, enjoyed some cuddle time outside and indoors.  This is a terrible disease and there is really no easy way out of it.  We miss her more than words can express.

I will continue to write more about her conditions (HCM & asthma) because I am hoping that I can help someone out there going through what our family went through with her.  We learned a lot along the way and I want to continue her legacy by passing along any information that will be useful.

Monday, July 23, 2012

My first sewing project. Can you guess what this is?

Ok, so some of you already know what this is.  This was the very 1st thing that I made and I was pretty proud of myself since I am certainly not the sewing pro.  Much credit to YouTube for the visual aids. Since this was easy and a success I made two more for my Mom and Sam's Mom. 

More sewing projects to come that I have made since.

Is your cat coughing? Don't ignore it!

Maya started coughing 2 years ago.  For quite a while we had no idea what a cough from a cat even sounded like and though it was a hairball issue.  Then we noticed that she would only cough when she would hiss at our late cat Orwell.  We were so confused by this.  We took her to her vet for her annual exam and mentioned this with no clear direction from them.  We did know that she had a heart murmur.  No connection though between the cough and her heart.  We just kept an eye (or ear) open to it.  We sill thought it could be hairballs so we were giving her hairball treatment in her food.  No help.  Back to the vet.  Still a murmur and this time they thought she may have polyps in her throat so they wanted to put her under anesthesia to perform the procedure to check.  This was risky because of her murmur, but the vet said they wanted to proceed.  After dropping her off for a day without her eating for many hours, I get a call from her vet saying her heart rate will not go below 200 bpm and therefore cannot perform the procedure. This was fine by me! I knew it was not polyps.  Instead they gave her an antibiotic in case she had an infection of her throat.  That didn't help.  We let it be for many months, not know where to go from here.  Then Orwell developed intestinal lymphoma which was a sad disease to watch happen to our dear friend.  After Orwell passed away 4/30/12, Maya's cough got worse.  After a few visits to her vet, it was determined she has asthma.  She was put on Brethine.  After the cough was not improving, they put her on prednisolone.  They knew the risks with her heart murmur, but they put her on a low dose.  The cough got much worse in which she was heaving all night long.  Took her back and they put her on more pred.  She then went into heart failure.  It was then determined she has heart disease.

This is just a general background of what symptoms we saw with her which determined her heart disease (HCM).  Moral of the story, get your cat checked out immediately if they are coughing! If you feel you are not getting answers or being brushed off, get a 2nd opinion and take care of this matter ASAP.

Here is a video I took of Maya coughing when she got upset with Orwell.  Notice how her neck is stretched out forward, how there are mucuous sounds with a lot of swallowing.