Monday, October 26, 2009
A New Vet for Henry
My first words were, "Please don't tell me there is nothing wrong with Henry."
Her first words, in a great, reassuring, emphatic tone, "Of course there is something wrong with your kitty!"
Henry now has a supply of Clavamox, an antibiotic, for when he has aspiration pneumonia, which he started again, and, best of all, he is starting Reglan. He had his first dose today and ate almost twice as much for dinner and it's staying down. Of course it's too soon to know if he was just feeling better from the antibiotic or if the Reglan really did clear out his stomach better. He also has a new eating position to help the food go down his esophagus and into his stomach, though if he'd sit it would be even better. Tonight he actually had bowel sounds (aliens) WHILE he was eating, which is normal, though his were still pretty loud.
The vet thinks that Henry has a condition called Megaesophagus or Esophageal Hypomotility. It means that his esophagus, the tube that carries food from his mouth to his stomach, is too large in diameter and is flaccid, the muscles can't move the food down to this stomach. He may also have too small an opening from his stomach to his intestine or it could be that he has nerve disease or defect in part of the brain stem, the part that controls all this, which often accompanies Magaesophagus. The Reglan will help his stomach move the food into the intestines. Once the food manages to get into his intestines, things go into hyperdrive, hence the "aliens" or rucous bowel sounds.
She told me to keep doing all that I've been doing plus give him Reglan and feed him more upright, even more than I had been doing. If I don't notice a change on the Reglan, Henry will have a special x-ray (barium study) that shows what happens to his food when he swallows and if surgery is needed, he can have it now. She is going to consult with a specialist and make sure there hasn't been some new development that she doesn't know about yet and get back to me. She also agreed with me that it's best not to have him neutered yet because of the risk due to certain types of anesthesia.
Honestly, I was prepared to go to war. I had all the charts I've kept on his eating and weight from June, a written description of his symptoms, treatments, medicines, food, supplements, his chest x-ray from his first bout of pneumonia and the vet records, the video of him regurgitating, plus, I brought Brother for comparison. The vet studied everything I'd written before she came into the room. She didn't need convincing. She noticed him swallowing constantly, like he always does, right away. She supported me in feeding him the raw food and was glad to learn about the things I've done to supplement his food, such as the ready-to-feed KMR vs. the powdered. I finally feel supported and validated for how hard it's been to help Henry. Now, there might be some of you reading who might be thinking, "Well if it's been that hard, why not euthanize him?"
The only answer I have is this: It's not the right thing for him. His condition is treatable, I just couldn't get the vet Henry had been seeing to get his head out of his, uh, behind, and quit telling me that Henry was fine, that he was too small to do anything with anyway, yeh, go ahead and give him the Pepsid if you want, it won't hurt him, nope, there's nothing but Pepsid, since you insist, oh, and he shouldn't be drinking KMR any more and that raw food you give him could poison you and your daycare kids, and Henry. So long Dr. G and welcome Dr. W!!!
Here's the video I gave her. I took it about 10 minutes after Henry had breakfast. Count how many times he swallows and watch for the head shaking thing. That's what he does when he's gagging and trying to clear it out. Also note, this was actually a good day. Usually he does the gag thing constantly and I have to burp him. I don't usually touch him the way I did in the video, it was to bother him so he'd move and be more obvious with his problem.