Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thank You, Anonymous!

Whoever you are, I can't thank you enough for telling me about this machine. Just a couple days ago, I asked a fireman friend of mine how I could get some oxygen for home use and he said I couldn't. Then you told me about this great machine and you were so right. I found one on my local craigs list for a very small amount of money. Henry isn't keen on the little mask I made or being in the "box" but he seems to like when I hold the tube up to his nose. I'm going to work on making a better tent so he can see and I've added those frozen blue things for use in coolers to keep the "box" from getting too hot, something I learned from my vet. My vet was thrilled to hear about this, too, and, in all fairness to them, they've been great about making Henry's care affordable. If I was still in my old area, I would not have been able to afford the vet care there, which would have run over $1000 by now. It's such a great feeling to have the support of a great vet team. I think they are also fascinated by how long Henry has lived with his birth defect and how good his quality of life has been until his last two bouts with pneumonia.

He looks pretty bad, very skinny and a bit grubby since he doesn't move when he vomits and it usually gets on his legs, but he still follows me around, sleeps on my chest at night, and eats well. He's still vomiting a lot of lung stuff, which is very good, but makes for a ton of laundry and he usually gets me at least once a night along with my blanket. I'm using the grubbier blankets right now so I can keep tossing them into the wash.

Some might think I should euthanize Henry, but he has a very strong desire to live. Otherwise, he'd stop eating and stop following me around. I appreciate the support and advice I've been getting, especially from Anonymous!


Anonymous said...

Different Anonymous here. I've seen a cat oxygen tent made out of a 10 gallon fish tank with plywood on top and a hole for the oxygen tubing going through the board. If you cut the plywood to the right size, and seal the tubing with hot glue or similar you can get a decent seal.

Anonymous said...

Actually, a "seal" is not needed or desirable. If it was really sealed, the back-pressure would stop the oxygen flow from the machine, and the carbon dioxide would build up from the animal exhaling.

The optimal oxygen concentration is 40%, and it's not healthy to have an animal spend any significant amount of time in a much higher concentration. I found that leaving a loose entry/exit flap cut in the plastic sheeting and weighed down at the bottom with a pencil, and putting the end of the inflow tube towards the opposite corner of the enclosure, resulted in a good oxygen concentration being maintained. The air that escaped through the flap edges was higher in carbon dioxide, because the pure oxygen was flowing in at the other end of the enclosure.

Anonymous said...

Fencing Mama:

You're very welcome. I love caring for ancient, infirm cats and those pictures of poor little Henry set off all my "help this kitty" instincts.

There's no need to put a mask right over his face. The oxygen coming out of the machine is close to 100%, and you really only want the cat breathing about 40% (which is nearly double the oxygen concentration of normal air, and what oxygen cages at vet hospitals are normally set at), except in cases of brief, immediately life-threatening bouts of respiratory distress. I bought a rectangular shaped plastic juice box at Walmart, drilled a hole in the bottom for the tube, and removed the lid so that opening could go in front of the cat's face. I just set it down (on the big flat side) with the opening an inch or two from kitty's nose, when he was lounging or sleeping, and moved it whenever I noticed he'd rearranged himself. My tester showed this was getting about the right concentration to his nose, and for the last couple of days of his life, when he was dying of cancer-related anemia, this arrangement made the difference between a cat wailing from obvious respiratory distress, to a cat lounging and napping comfortably.

Good luck with your little Henry! He is obviously a much-loved kitty.

K said...

Good to know about the mask because he didn't like it. I have been doing "blow by" which is what you recommend, and he's much more comfortable. He's finally starting to be able to actually cough the phlegm up now. I've heard him do it twice, which is supposed to be a good sign, but I sure wish he's improve faster - for his sake.

K said...

I did leave an unsealed area for his CO2 on his box. I was thinking about the buildup of the concentration of gasses, too. Thanks for all the good advice.