Monday, April 14, 2014

Henry's Recovery

Henry is still alive, but last Thursday I took him to the vet because he'd started to get worse. The x-ray showed more fluids in the lungs. The vet didn't really know what more to do and suggested IV antibiotics, the same ones he's been taking orally. However, I wasn't comfortable with that since they clearly weren't working. He'd maintained his weight, 4.9 pounds, but tonight when I weighed him on my scale, he was 4.1 pounds - shocking to have that big a difference in scales, but I trust mine because he looks that skeletal.

Since I still didn't know what to do, the vet went to give me an estimate for the IV treatment and realized she didn't even have the antibiotic she wanted to use in stock. She also suggested the possibility of using a diuretic to try and rid the lungs of fluid, but it's very risky so I declined. I brought Henry home and gave some serious thought again to his quality of life. His appetite was voracious and that's not a cat ready to die so I called my old vet and caught her on a layover in the Denver airport on her way flying back east. She suggested the antibiotic Azithromycin. It made perfect sense since this antibiotic targets mycoplasma, tiny bacterial cells that act like a virus and don't have a cell wall. The other antibiotics Henry was taking target the cell walls and prevent the bacteria from forming a cell wall and then they die. Azithromycin prevents mycoplasma bacteria from growing by interfering with their protein synthesis. It binds to the 50S subunit of the bacterial ribosome, inhibiting translation of mRNA so it can't replicate. There is definitely progress! His breathing is so much better now and he's learning to relax in his oxygen tent.

He had a very good sleep last night. He's resting during the day much better. He's extremely thin, though, scary thin, so nutritional rehab is still of upmost importance. I also have to watch for toxicity with azithromycin since cats don't clear it very well. Today Henry drank water for the first time on his own though not enough to stay properly hydrated so I'm still giving him sub-Q fluids. Poor thing hates the needle. It must be so painful in his condition. He also tried to bury his waste. Until now it was all he could do to get in and out of the litter box.

I made him a much more comfortable oxygen tent using my packing shrink wrap and a little kid table. Today he went inside willingly for the first time so I think he's understanding it helps him. The first day, he looked like he was in jail. I took the pictures below on the first day.

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