Today is a month since we got Astrid back.
The past month and a half has been a roller coaster of high hopes, emotional letdowns and very slow healing for Astrid. Once we got to Kansas City, Jim called a friend of his from high school who is a veterinarian here and Jim told him the whole long story on the phone. Her eating was erratic; it got to the point where she wouldn’t even eat shrimp! That’s serious. She acted like her mouth was very tender and sensitive and of course she wouldn’t let us look at it. The chin abscess was healing but her foot was tender and she yeowed big time when we tried to apply the antibiotic ointment to her messed up claw.
Astrid and Dr. Steve
We took her into his Brookside Animal Clinic the next day and Steve exchanged pleasantries with us before he got down to work. We had told him that both the Minnesota and Iowa vets had given her an antibiotic shot and the Iowa vet sent us home with a two week round of oral antibiotic tablets. We took her bag of medicines with us and he looked them over. He said, “I like to identify the problem first, then figure out how to treat it.”
When he looked in her mouth, he discovered that her teeth were not perfect as the Iowa vet had said. Not at all. On each side she had FORL lesions from her gums growing down between her teeth and the teeth were crumbling and rotten. He said it was very painful and that explained her hesitance to eat and pawing at her mouth. She would walk over to the food bowl, look at the food, try to eat some and drop it from her mouth. Even shrimp.
He did bloodwork again since it may have changed since the Minnesota vet did it and declared it perfect after we got her back on August 8. That came out fine this time too. As Jim told him, besides the not eating, she didn’t act like a sick cat. She was still grooming herself and going outside on leash and supervised. On the first day of the appetite stimulant she even played her favorite game, paper ball. That slacked off after the three day window was closing.
His recommendation? Do oral surgery, extract the bad teeth and clean the rest, remove the lesions and put her on a liquid antibiotic, much easier to administer to cats.
And her claw needed to be surgically removed. He said it would grow back and that “Kitty will take care of it.” We brought her in the next morning at 7:30 AM and picked her up at 5:00. We were worried about the anesthetic especially since a friend in Texas took her little dog in to have his teeth cleaned and he died on the table from the anesthesia. Steve texted when she was out of surgery so we could enjoy the day with our friends during trailer pickup, which was the same day.
Steve shows how to administer the antibiotic.
When we picked her up he showed us BEFORE and AFTER pictures they took during the surgery on his iPad. He showed Jim how to administer the liquid antibiotic and we took her back to the bus.
Her eating improved a little but she was still lethargic. Except for that, again, she didn’t act like a sick cat. Jim and Steve texted back and forth about her continued lethargy and Jim thought it might be a reaction to the antibiotic, which Steve said could be likely but we needed to give it to her for at least five days, twice a day.
We were still exhausted and very nervous. What cruel irony it would be to get her back from the woods after 13 days and then have her go downhill after that. We were determined to see things through to the end. No more Xanex either. We made an appointment for Tuesday in case she needed it and took her back to the bus for the weekend. Steve texted us and we let him know that she was still lethargic. He said the next thing he wanted to do was to X-ray her abdomen and make sure nothing was going on there.
We wondered if she could have PTSD and when I posted the last cat update, a Canadian friend of mine called almost immediately and said to get her checked for Lyme disease. She had lost her dog to that and was adamant. More research. She was not exhibiting any Lyme disease symptoms but we wrote it on our list of questions. Once we finished up the antibiotic she seemed to be better and her appetite improved. We continued to give her the appetite stimulant and it works. You can pretty much set your watch by it. Steve gave a different type that you can apply to their ear daily, so they continue to eat.
We planned to stay at the Elks through the Labor Day weekend in case she needed to go back to the vet. We had a good spot to park and Astrid was improving, going outside and eating better.
Our view from the bus.
We made an appointment for Tuesday after Labor Day, just in case. We took her back in and he checked out her mouth; it was all healed. Her claw is growing back and is no longer tender.
He took X-rays and everything inside looked good. He saw a little piece of bone in her colon and said it may have come from her food.
Because the Internet needs to see the inside of our cat…
Once she was done with the antibiotic, she continued to improve. Steve said that could be the cause of her lethargy. She was grooming herself, not hiding and her mouth was healed up enough to eat well. He said the dental problem could have been exacerbated by her sojourn into the wilderness. He wanted to make sure “she got back online.” And so did we, of course.
We were planning to leave for Columbia on Wednesday but it was pouring down rain when we got up and it continued all day. I didn’t have a good feeling about taking off in the driving rain so we stayed another night. Astrid continued to act more normal and we passed the day by provisioning, reading and taking it easy. We had already been in Kansas City way longer than we planned but the vet was crucial to the plan.
By this time she was acting pretty normal (for her) and continued to eat without the appetite stimulant. We finally began to relax a little and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It has been a very long and very stressful six weeks but it was worth it to have Astrid back. Thank the Lord! And Dr. Steve Smith. He is thorough, experienced and responsive. And he got results! If you are in Kansas City, we highly recommend Brookside Animal Clinic at 85th and Wornall.
Now she is interested in food again and going outside regularly. Today she even climbed partway up a tree! We are getting our life back.
We moved on toward Columbia on Thursday but not without a hiccup or two.