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Agatha update

Agatha went back to see Dr. Dunn today, for a three-week check on how the high blood pressure is responding to medication. Short answer: fairly well, but more is needed.

The visit went more smoothly than the last trip, all round. We got into an exam room immediately and Dr. Dunn came in within 5 minutes. The superior blood-pressure machine was available, so instead of the contortions needed last time all it took was putting the cuff around her hind leg. As the pressure was still higher than it should be, we're starting benazepril, an ACE inhibitor, in addition to the amlodipine (Norvasc), which is a calcium channel blocker. The amlodipine works directly on the circulatory system: the benazepril works in the kidneys and can possibly slow the kidney disease as well as helping the blood pressure. (If I ever develop high blood pressure myself, I've got a head start on understanding the medication options!) We'll go back in a month for another check, and may add periodic subcutaneous fluid therapy then--it's hard for cats with CRF (chronic renal failure) to drink enough to keep up with their kidney output and stay hydrated.

Dr. Dunn also checked Agatha's eyes. I could tell that the eyes are much more reactive to light, instead of the hugely dilated pupil she had 3 week ago. She's still blind, or at least is only seeing light and shadow--though I haven't seen her walk right up to an obstacle recently, she did walk past the door to the bathroom where her food bowl is last night, when the light was off in there so the doorway was dark. Anyway, Dr. Dunn checked the interocular pressure (good, another sign that the blood pressure is down some), and looked in the eyes with her ophthalmoscope. The retinas aren't "billowing like parachutes" any more, allowing Dr. Dunn to actually see the blood vessels and the optic nerve. An improvement, even if no miraculous restoration of sight.

Agatha seems to have adjusted very well, and roams the house as she did while sighted, including getting up on the Cat Room counter and on my bed, and then finding the steps at each location to help with the jump down. She's even wandered into the study tonight and is sleeping on the couch behind me--she had been in before (since the blindness), but only to let me know that she needed something, generally food.

Side note: I bought a soft-sided carrier last weekend. My two other cat carriers are the plastic shell types and have only front openings, which means dragging your reluctant cat (attached to whatever bedding material you use) awkwardly from the crate at the vet's office. The new soft one has the improved design of a zippered top opening in addition to the end flaps, making it much easier to extract a cat. (You can get hard crates with top openings, too, but I wanted to try the soft variety.)

I put the crate on the floor of the laundry room when I got it to let all the cats get used to it. Both Fish and Fred sniffed it and Fish sat in it briefly, but that was it. Fish had his annual checkup Friday, and got hauled to the vet in the new carrier. Since then, he's in love with the crate--he can be found napping in it, or just sitting to watch the world go by. I thought the vet visit would have created UNpleasant associations.

Agatha also likes the new crate, or perhaps she just got comfortable this morning. During one of our waits for Dr. Dunn to check on medication amounts, Agatha lay on her side (abandoning the defensive position of feet underneath/ready to run) and seemed ready to take her morning nap. Pity the various noises of the vet office kept disturbing her peace....

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
ann_mcn
Nov. 3rd, 2008 11:32 am (UTC)
It's good to hear that Agatha is coping and adjusting so well. Wish I'd had that much information when I started BP meds!

I have a soft sided carrier, and my cat is much more cooperative with it. The sheepskin type insert stays put so footing is stable, which makes her more secure. She stays in it when we travel, and doesn't meow and complain.
nlbarber
Nov. 4th, 2008 01:33 am (UTC)
This one has a fake-fur insert that's sewn around the rigid base. Then I added a different fake-fur cat mat I found at PetsMart that has been a real cat magnet--I put it on the bed for a few days, and it always seems to be occupied by one cat or another. That also got it smelling 'right', which I think must help Agatha keep calm.

But both Aggie and Fish kept up the complaining all the way to their respective vets.
allyra
Nov. 3rd, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
Hooray for kitty improvements!

I love the two soft-sided carriers I have, and so does Squeaker. He likes to get into them all the time...which is very odd considering the serious trauma he had the last time he had his shots. (He had an allergic reaction, so I had to haul the poor thing right back to the vet.) Maybe there's just something about them that makes cats love them no matter what?

The zippered top also makes it easier to stuff them into the carrier. My hardest thing is getting them into the front door of the plastic ones. I usually have to fight with four splayed legs!
mmegaera
Nov. 4th, 2008 01:14 am (UTC)
The trick with the plastic carriers vs. the cat is to stand the carrier on end, and lower the cat into it hind legs and tail first. Works like a charm, although it does tend to mess up the bedding.
nlbarber
Nov. 4th, 2008 01:37 am (UTC)
You manage that? Mine can splay the hind legs to block the opening.

However, they usually don't fight too hard, and I can gather hind legs in one hand, scruff of neck in the other, and stuff about 2/3 of the cat into the carrier rear first. Then the front legs can be shoved in with the head as the door is closed, a process that reminds me of Ista combing Joen's demon away as she clings to it.
mmegaera
Nov. 4th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
Well, you do have to hold the hind legs together as you lower the cat into the carrier [g]. The real trick is knowing exactly when to let go. I do agree with you about the efficacies of using the door to complete the job. I hadn't thought about comparing it to Ista's demon-cleaning, but I think the cats might be slightly miffed...
idiotgrrl
Nov. 3rd, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad she's doing better, and the comfortable carrier is the best invention ever. I have mine set up on bookcase ledges in hopes they will also become portable kitty dens. Spot has slept in his off and on, especially during the winter. And Shadow went into his and had a nap. Dufus has to be stuffed in, but that zipper top makes it a lot handier. (Buster can't be wrestled even into a collar.)

If they treat it as a portable den, it also adds to their sense of security, especially if it's lined with nice soft stuff. And consider a secondary lining consisting of ratty old T-shirts etc that Smell of Mommy. They seem to take comfort from it.
nlbarber
Nov. 4th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
I added a mini cat-mat, which first spent time on the bed where both Fish and Agatha slept on it to break it in. (Fred, as best I could tell, was not allowed a chance at it--this seems to be a very prime cat-attracting mat.)

I do leave dirty clothes on the bed when I travel, though, to have CatMom smell available while I'm gone.
coalboy
Nov. 4th, 2008 05:57 am (UTC)
Glad things are working out. Who is the cat in the icon? Very pretty.
nlbarber
Nov. 5th, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
That's Miss Agatha herself--she's a very pretty calico, with strong coloration. And dainty white gloves on her front paws, which helped get her the 'little old lady' sort of name.

Fish is the black-and-white cat in my default icon, and Fred is a medium hair brown tabby who never looks as pretty in photos as she is in person.
filkferengi
Nov. 5th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC)
Yay for improvements!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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