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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....



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.
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.


Nancy Barber

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