It has been a really crappy past couple of days in the Robesky / Haft household. On Saturday afternoon I noticed that Roley’s breath was a little bit funny. He seemed to be breathing sharply. I thought maybe he had a cold, but he didn’t seem much different than usual (ie, sleeping all day and hanging out in the Slanket).
Sunday was pretty much the same. Little dude was just chilling with Arlie, Greg and I in the living room. But his breath was still a bit weird.
Monday decided to take him to the vet at the end of the day after Greg gave me the update:
I’m not cat expert, but his breath does seem a little bit strange.
Took him into the vet and immediately the vet started freaking out. Which got me freaked out. Was told that it was really serious. Then next thing you know he is being x-rayed and I’m being told that his heart is enlarged and I need to take him to hospital. All of this sort of happened in slow motion as I was trying not to cry in the vet’s office in front of the 15 year old assistant. So Arlie and I rushed poor Roley across town to Victoria and left him at the emergency hospital overnight for observation.
Flash forward. Next morning, pick up Roley at hospital. He was on oxygen all night and his heart rate was about 230 (normally should be about 180). Drove him back across town to a specialist to have an ultrasound of his heart. Went to have a hot cocoa with marshmellows while we waited. Then came back and the specialist tells us that his heart is enlarged and he has DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) and the prognosis is very bad. In which case I started bawling my eyes out again. Thankfully Arlie stayed home and drove us around while I sat in the car crying on Roley’s head and he hid his little face in my jacket.
Drove Roley back to the hospital and left him there while we waited for a cardiologist to take a look at the ultrasound and give some treatment recommendations.
Went home and had a (few) glasses of wine. Talked to the vet at around 4.30 and was told that his prognosis is very bad. In fact, the worst. The same prognosis would be what they would give to an animal suffering from the “most aggresive forms of cancer”. I was basically given 3 options.
1) Give him some experimental drug – could help him quite a bit, could kill him more rapidly
2) Give him regular treatment and wait to see if I can bring him home, but after he is home he could drop at any minute and he could have to be hospitalised many more times
3) Put him to sleep
All of those options end in one thing…inevitable death at some point. I’ve been told it could be days, weeks, months. But not much longer than that.
So what do you do in this situation? Kill your best friend? I don’t think so. Obviously I would never let him suffer, but I have to hold out some hope that we can have a little more time with Roley.
Spoke to the vet this morning and they started his treatment. He was “brighter” today but they still want to observe. The vet has consulted with 2 cardiologists and they have recommended that we give him the experimental drug (pimobendanm) which I told them to go ahead with.
In the meantime, it turns out that DCM is extremely rare in cats. It used to happen quite frequently when their diets lacked taurine, but most cat foods have been supplemented with taurine and the cases have dropped off. So now we are doing a test to see if he is taurine deficient. It has been told to me that it is unlikely, but I can always hope, can’t I? The thing with taurine deficiencies is that the cats, once given supplements, can actually have their hearts repaired and back to normal in about a month.
That is where we are now. Roley is in hospital. Heart is failing. Can’t breath. Prognosis = bad.
I just want the little fellow to come home and get into his own bed and feel comfortable while he lives out whatever his short life may be.
come on supercat, you can do it!