Sunday, September 20, 2009

Henry Update

***Update Sept. 26, 2009: My boy is BACK! He's a REAL cat, playing, pouncing, running, nipping, getting in trouble and growing. He's just over FOUR WHOLE POUNDS! I have to add that Brother is almost 8 pounds now and Poppy is an ounce or so heavier than Henry. So, the new protocol with Henry will be aggressive (meaning no wait and see time) antibiotic treatment at the sign of any back-sliding and definitely at the sign of any wheezing. I've paid close attention and know what it sounds like when he aspirates. He does it much more than I thought, so he will be prone to pneumonia and must have had this for the past month.***

My tiny little man-cat "crashed" last week. It snuck up on me, I didn't put all the symptoms together, but I finally realized he didn't play any more, slept all the time, didn't ask me for milk or food and stopped eating solids and was decreasing his milk intake. I didn't put it together that three nights last week he woke me up with his wheezing so that I had to "burp him down" to get it to stop and on Friday was breathing rapidly and starting to retract (sides heaving with effort to breath). It was when I realized Poppy was the same weight that I began force-feedings him fortified food and realized - duh! - He has aspiration pneumonia again due to his reflux. He'd just gotten over this when he became mine. I tried to get him some Clavamox through my vet, but couldn't get an appointment for 5 days and they wouldn't just give it to me, even with his history, so I put in a plea to my contact at my local rescue group and she brought me the medication. After just two doses my little man was back, eating like a champ, playing and talking to me again. He's continued to improve by the hour and even gained 2 ounces in less than two days!!! I still hear a faint wheeze but once I do the full course of the antibiotic, he should be fine - until the next time - and I'll be more informed as to the early symptoms.

I am fortifying his food again. I think I should have done this all along, but I didn't know how. There's not a lot of information online about this and what is out there is terrible stuff - very artificial or just sugar. What I decided to do was this regime:

Fortify his feline-balanced raw meat food with 1/8 tsp. powdered KMR. This adds balanced calories (protein, fat, carbs).

After he eats as much of this as he can, which isn't a lot, I then add the ready-to-feed KMR to it so it's very soupy (this has one more calorie per tbs. than the powdered formula and is smooth, not chalky. One calorie more is about 8% more, so it's significant. He'll then eat this.

Afterward, he'll sometimes get a bite or two of what the healthy cats are having (same raw diet but chunkier), but they eat very fast and even when I offer him is own right next to them, I have to fend them off and it's a little confusing for Henry so he stops eating.

I've added the calorie gel again, once a day only because it's essentially sugar, and do not give him plain milk (kitten formula) any more. I always put at least a little meat (homemade balanced raw feline diet), except tonight because he ate so well and I knew he'd go for it and I wanted to sneak in those calories even though I know he'd be pretty full and I'd have to burp him for awhile. About 30 minutes later he did a huge gag, but, by some miracle, nothing came out. That's the beauty of the raw diet, it's digested so quickly!

I'm giving him the huge calorie push right now because I suddenly noticed that Brother, Henry's brother, is almost fully grown now at six months old. Their bone growth plates are going to fuse soon and then he won't grow any more. If Henry can't get bigger then his diagnostic and treatment options will be limited. My conservative goal is to get him to 5 pounds. My hopeful goal is 6 pounds and in my dreams he finally catches up to Brother and I get my identical twins back again. Right now he's 3 pounds 15.6 ounces.

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