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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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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.

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Nancy Barber

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