More Wrenches In Our Summer Plans
They say when it rains it pours and I guess our time to get sloppy wet is now. There’s never a good time in life for bad news, and when you’re living in an RV it’s really no different. Everybody has plans whether they live stationary or not, and those plans can disintegrate on a dime when unexpected “stuff” comes along. I can’t say I like it, but it’s a part of life and as long as I’m present here on earth I do my best to accept it.
Now before you all go into a panic I should say that this particular wrench wasn’t for us, but instead hit our sweet 14-year old kitty, Taggart. Now I fully understand that not everyone is as attached to their pets as we are. The cats have been with us since very early on in our relationship and have traveled (literally) around the world with us. Our paws are our nearest family so anything that affects them also affects us deeply. It’s just how it is in “the beast”, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. That said, I feel like a bad kitty mom in that I missed this particular problem for a while.
What has happened is this…(folks not interested in detailed kitty stuff can skip the rest of this post)
Taggart has been acting more “playful” over the last 6-8 months, almost kitten-like, something I thought was just a reflection of her good diet and healthy outdoor walks. Who doesn’t admire a playful 14 year old gal? I didn’t actually realize anything was wrong until she started loosing weight despite having a rather ravenous appetite, and honestly I didn’t even notice that until the weight loss was quite significant (several pounds). One day it suddenly clicked, and in the distant recesses of my mind I remembered this was a sign of something I’d read several years ago in my kitty forums (yes, I was a member of several kitty forums and even owned/ran a forum on Feline Urinary Tract Disease for ~4 years = that’s how paw-crazy I am). I knew something was wrong.
So, after Paul flew off to Miami I booked a visit to the vet and got her T4 (thyroxine = thyroid hormone) levels tested. The diagnosis was immediately confirmed. Taggart has hyperthyroidism (= her thyroid gland is over-active). It’s a serious problem that will only get worse over time. Poor little kitty cat!
The result of this is that we have a sick kitty that requires one of either two treatments. Either life-long thyroid meds dosed twice/day which taste horrible, require gloves to handle and have a slew of lovely side-effects (plus they only control/slow down the progression of the condition and don’t cure it) OR/ an expensive radioactive Iodine (I-131) treatment which requires an in-hospital stay of 4-10 days, plus an additional ~15 days of special handling at home due to residual radioactivity, especially the “hot” radioactive pee. Plus, not many clinics offer the treatment aaand do it correctly (such as conducting a thyroid scan prior to treatment, dosing individual to the cat etc.). The latter does however completely cure the problem, assuming kitty is a candidate for treatment.
What a fun choice, right?
We’re honestly not sure what we’re going to do at this point. We’ve started the meds, which is recommended in cases like this to see if the hyper-T has masked any underlying kidney issues (a common problem and something you can only “see” once the thyroid levels come down). Once we know THAT result we’ll know whether kitty is a good candidate for the radioactive treatment, and THEN we’ll decide if we need to drive “the beast” to a clinic, somewhere in this great country, to have the I-131 treatment done.
Phew! New jello plans on top of new jello plans, and all for a kitty! Who knows WHERE we’ll end up this summer?
For the short term we’re just doing the meds, and we’re sticking with our plans to host all June in Cape Disappointment State Park. This will give us time to do any dosage adjustments, if needed (each dosage change needs ~3 weeks to see effects) and monitor her kidney function. Plus we need to stay near a major airport anyway for Paul’s family issues. Then once June is done and (hopefully) all family issue are squared away we can decide on our next move. Where we go from there we do not know.
So, how is Queen Taggart doing so far? Well first few days on the horrible meds were pretty horrible. Kitty was vomiting, nauseous and wouldn’t eat any food (which is a great?!#$ side-effect for a kitty that’s already too thin, right?). I re-joined all my old kitty groups on Yahoo Groups (remember those?) and immediately got feedback that revealed the vet had over-prescribed the thyroid meds, apparently a very, very common mistake. Once I lowered the dose and added some nausea support (Slippery Elm Bark, a fabulous gastro-soothing herb that every pet owner should always have on-hand) kitty did much, much better. We’re going to take it slow and easy, re-test the thyroid and blood values in ~3 weeks and then go from there.
And how are the kitty parents doing? Honestly I’m the kind of person that gets super-analytical and hyper-practical whenever a problem like this comes up. Understand the issue, do the research, make a plan and go from there. I feel terrible that I didn’t catch this earlier, but I’m also determined and Paul feels the same. We’ll just do whatever we need to do. Plus, we have the advantage of wheels. No matter what we can just take our “home” to wherever we need to take care of this. There’s definitely a plus side to being mobile!
So there you go. New wrenches and new, completely unknown plans. Here’s just hoping no other “unexpected” issues crop up this summer. We’re definitely crossing all fingers and 12 paws for that….!