Posts Tagged ‘Max the Cat’

Max the Cat Loses Weight

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Max the Cat is our 16 year old kitty.

The Incredible Max the Cat

I may have mentioned before what an incredible cat he is.

Max was in for his wellness care the other day.  He had lost ANOTHER pound.  He used to be twelve pounds.  Now he is 6.6 pounds.  This most recent pound was lost in the past nine months.  At Max’s age, that’s scary fast to lose weight that is not lost on purpose.

A sixteen year old cat losing weight with no explanation on examination, urinalysis or blood work is a strong suspect for cancer hiding somewhere.  Look at me being objective and doctor-y about my own cat.  I can (usually) do it when needed.

I called Dr. Krapfl, who does ultrasounds for most of Omaha and whom I work with at Gentle Doctor (one of my many favorite things about Gentle Doctor – blog post idea – write THAT list).  ”No rush…” I said calmly.  (Calm AND objective!  You know this can’t last through the whole case.  This is MAX!)  What Dr. Krapfl heard was “my cat”…”16″…”weight loss” and within SECONDS (a couple days) Max was upside down with his tummy shaved having his first abdominal ultrasound/cancer search – me praying for no cancer and Dr. Krapfl probably praying I would not cry.

I’d Love to Go to Work with You, But I am Washing My Ankle. Sorry.

In those couple days between weighing Max and reviewing his lab work and his ultrasound, I went through all the possible emotions associated with all the possible outcomes.

I diagnosed a ten year old (SO YOUNG) cat who was feeling great, eating great and losing weight with probable intestinal lymphoma, and bawled.  You are right, I would have bawled anyways.  But he is six years younger than Max!

At the doctors’ meeting, we discussed the most recent AVMA euthanasia guidelines.  Every time someone said “euthanasia,” I sniffled.

I tried to dwell on the fact that Max has been too skinny for almost a decade…and the 25 year old cat I once knew…and how great Max felt…and I spent the time I was not sleeping at night petting Max, and telling him things would be okay.  He didn’t really seem interested in what the future held, but loved the attention.  Cats are awesome like that.

Today came.  I packed Max up and headed to work.

Noodle Wanted to Know Why Max was in His Fort

The entire team rallied to support me.  Dr. Thomassen said she was going to have me help with a detail of a case but she would get it in case Max’s appointment ended sad – “Then you can just get home with him.”

Dr. Belfiore came into the appointment with me.  ”I’m going to hold him so you can just be the Mom.”

And Dr. Krapfl said my favorite thing of all.  ”Well, you could have done this on a work day after all.  I have no sad news for you.”  ”I might still cry, Bob,” I said.  ”Oh,” he said.

“I can’t promise you ten more years,” he said.  ”26!” I thought.  ”I was hoping for 25!”  And then I did cry.

Clearly, I was no longer being calm or objective, so I thanked Dr. Krapfl, tucked my cat under my arm, and ran to the corner of the doctor office, set my kitty on the desk, and wrote down all the things Dr. Krapfl ACTUALLY said, and my thoughts on follow up care.

When You are Overwhelmed, Write a List!

We tested Max for feline leukemia (negative – yes!) and feline immunodeficiency virus (negative – yes!)  Over the next few weeks, we will run a few more tests, but the Big Scary Stuff that was keeping me up at night has been ruled out.  My day is TOTALLY made.

Max Contemplating…

Max Being Awesome

Max Back at Home, Resting with his Poodle – Don’t Tell Anyone He has a Poodle Friend! 

Thank you, Dr. Krapfl!  

*Mental Hugs*

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Happy Birthday to my awesome husband, Russ…

*whispering* He is forty!

and to our equally awesome cat, Max the Cat…

*YELLING* HAPPY SWEET SIXTEEN MAX!

*smooch!*

Square Foot Gardening!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

I cannot even tell you excited I am about this article published today by Mel Bartholomew on his website!

If you have been to our yard, or seen my pictures, or gotten excited with me about the first chives of the season (chives!) or let me help you plant a kitty garden or had my husband Russ build you a Square Foot Garden box…well, you know how much I love gardening and especially love Square Foot Gardening.

Thank you Thank you Thank you to Kevin Espiritu of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation who said “nice picture” and I said “thanks” and he said “Do you have more?” and I said “Do I?” and next thing I know he and Mel apparently stayed up till 2 am and made THIS…

Gardening with Pets and Pests

by Mel Bartholomew

Thank you guys!  I love it, and I have been waiting for a chance to tell you…I love Square Foot Gardening!

Yay.

See full size image

Holiday Safety and Purple Trees

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

We have our second purple flocked Christmas tree up in our (much too small for such an obnoxiously large tree) living room.  Our first was in 2009.  Last year I told Russ “I never want to not have a purple tree again.”  So we went back to Cirian’s Garden Center in midtown Omaha this weekwhich is equally awesome for gardening stuff as it is for brightly flocked Christmas trees, and a really nice group of people – and got our tree.

The guy told us to get a Scotch Pine because it would look “more natural.”  I said, “We are kind of going for the opposite of natural.”  Ha!  But we did, and it is gorgeous.  Here is my first pic, more to come…

Max has NEVER cared about a tree, Christmas or otherwise!  He LOVES this year’s Christmas tree!

This week’s Life with Dog’s article is on Holiday Safety.  It has a picture of our three dogs by the 2009 purple tree and lots of other dog pictures that were fun to gather…

Holiday Safety

Thank you Amanda Jean for encouraging me to write that one!  You are right, holiday safety is NOT boring.  It is super important.

Here is a link to all of the other articles I have written so far on Life with Dogs…

Articles on Life with Dogs

Coming Soon…

More Purple Tree Pictures (I know, I know!  If it is not a healthy obsession, it is at the least a harmless one. :))

Preschool Sunday School Craft 2011 – Peanut Baby Jesus

Oh, and more pet stuff :)

Have a wonderful holiday season!


Max the Cat Teaches Sunday School

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Oh Yeah! This is a Pet Blog…

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Yesterday (Friday) was a REALLY good day!  So is today.  Here are a few pictures from today of my Saturday friends :)

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I had to wait for Noodle to take his head out of Russ’ boot to take this picture. In hindsight, that picture would have been equally cute.

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Max enjoying his Caturday…

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The other Betta is taking a much needed rest after a bowl switching-Lego castle arrainging-counter flopping incident. All involved parties are fine.

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“Do you have more pizza crust or are you just saying you have more pizza crust?”

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Abby and Joy the Puppy :)

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Abby and Noodle the Poodle. They will sit for Abby for “free” – all others must pay pizza crust…or something.

Happy Saturday!

Tomorrow…Back to “WITW Does This Have to do with Pets?”

Then…Back to pets! Though, I will of course wander off on many more tangents in the future. Fun. :)

Update on Max the Cat’s day! —>

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Camp Kindness 2011

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Happy Heartworm-Free May!

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

January

February

March

April

Actually we have had two cases of heartworm disease this spring, which is really discouraging.  Another sobering fact – last year Banfield Pet Hospital diagnosed over 5000 cases of heartworm disease in dogs!  I did not hear how many cases were treated or how the dogs did, but FIVE THOUSAND!  Granted, there are 750 + Banfields across the country, but that is still so many for a disease that is 100% preventable.  As a community of pet people, we can do so much better.  The number will not be zero this year (It will be at least two) but I hope it is WAY lower than 5000!

This month’s topic…

Proheart 6

Where does Proheart 6 fit into the world of heartworm preventative medication?

Proheart 6 is an injectable sustained release medication labeled for dogs only (not cats or ferrets).  Its active ingredient is moxidectin, which, like the heartworm larvae killing component of all of the oral and topical preventatives available, is a macrocyclic lactone.  Moxidectin is also found in Advantage Multi, a combination topical heartworm-flea preventative that is applied monthly.  Proheart 6 is also labeled to treat hookworms.

Why is Proheart 6 only given every six months?

The moxidectin in Proheart 6 is in a sustained release formula, which means medication is constantly released over several months.  It stays in the dog’s body at therapeutic levels for six months, after which it tapers off to levels that are both ineffective to kill heartworm larva and are also safe when combined with another full dose.

Will Proheart 6 save the world?

No.

Pfizer recommends that veterinarians not give Proheart to dogs who are too thin, dogs who are ill, puppies under six months of age, and dogs who have not had Proheart before the age of seven.  If they have had Proheart before the age of seven, they may then have it at any age.  They also recommend that Proheart not be given to dogs who have allergic dermatitis.  Generally, allergic dermatitis includes any allergies, food, inhalant, or contact allergies that manifest as itching or skin problems.  Reactions to Proheart may occur.

Who should be on Proheart 6?

Every other dog, unless he or she has issues your veterinarian has deemed incompatable with injectable moxidectin, should be considered for Proheart 6.  I really think this is a great tool in the fight against heartworm disease.  Joy the Puppy had her first dose of Proheart 6 on February 1, 2011 and has done great.

Things to consider when deciding whether to use Proheart 6:

  • Proheart 6 is an injection given every six months (thus the clever name).  You have two chances a year to space giving your pets’ heartworm preventative instead of twelve!
  • Even better, the responsibility, at least in part, for remembering your pets’ heartworm preventative switches from you to your veterinary team!  You will receive a reminder when the time for Proheart is approaching, and the visit itself will be a quick one, or incorporated with a biannual wellness exam you would already have planned.
  • The cost of Proheart tends to be similar to that of monthly topical and oral heartworm preventative medications.
  • You will not be tempted to flout the American Heartworm Society‘s year-round heartworm prevention recommendations and guess at future weather patterns  and presence of mosquitoes in those iffy (AND VERY DANGEROUS AS HEARTWORM RISK GOES!) spring and fall seasons, as the twice yearly Proheart administration will protect your pet all year.
  • You could put a box of chocolates for yourselves on that safe-from-pets tip-top shelf where you used to keep the box of heartworm preventatives.

Great Heartworm Posts I Have Read This Month:

“Reading About Heartworm is One Thing, Watching a Dog Suffer is Another” – guest post by Pet Saver Ashley on Dawg Business by Jana Rade

“Don’t Let Heartworm Become Heartbreak” – guest post by Awesome Veterinarian Lorie A. Huston on Dawg Business by Jana Rade

…And maybe the best, and also the most discouraging, heartworm post I have read this month is on heartworm preventative resistance:

Heartworm Prevention for Dogs:  New Concepts and Concerns – by Lorie A. Huston, DVM on her website, Pet Health Care Gazette

Yes, heartworm preventative resistance does indeed seem to be a reality in a very, very small portion of the dog population…*sigh*  I was hoping it was not.  But I trust Dr. Blagburn, one of the very best veterinary parasitologist in the world – I have always very much admired his work, and I trust Dr. Huston…It sure looks as if it is true.  All the more reason to be neurotically vigilant about heartworm prevention…And because Proheart is so easy and convenient, you can be vigilant without being neurotic…if you want.

Tomorrow’s Checklist…

Noodle the Poodle - Wormshield tablet

Max the Cat - topical Revolution

(Joy the Puppy is on injectable Proheart 6.  Perhaps I will spend the few saved minutes reading her this post.  Naw, I will give her a cookie!)

 

Happy Heartworm-Free April!

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Wouldn’t that be something?  If we went through this entire month and NOBODY was diagnosed with heartworm disease??  We just saw another case of heartworm disease very recently…So sad.  I know I have been on an “I hate cancer” kick lately, but as always, I am on my “I hate heartworm” kick too.  (I have quite a few kicks…)  Heartworm disease is 100% preventable, and though treatable (treatable in dogs – not so much cats and ferrets), prevention is so much less expensive and easier on the dogs’ systems.I promised to be more upbeat here at Riley and James as soon as possible!  So here goes…

Today’s monthly heartworm post is on how heartworm preventative medications work!

Science…medicine…the wonders of canine physiology…heartworm examined not as a pet stealer or dog damager, but more clinically, as a very cool (disgusting) mortal, intricate parasite.  How exciting is that??  Well, I think it is exciting…

The Medicine

All heartworm preventative medications currently on the market are a form of macrocyclic lactones, medications derived from bacteria in the Streptomyces genus.  They do not prevent heartworm infection in the strictest sense, they prevent heartworm disease – they kill the larvae (L3 and L4, “baby heartworms”) before they can mature into adult worms.(Interesting side note!  Until the late 1980′s, only daily medications were available because they were only powerful enough to kill the “L3″ stage, which lasts only two or three days.)Macrocyclic lactones are neurotoxins to the heartworm larvae (L3 and L4), paralyzing their mouthparts and causing them to starve to death.  The medication needs to be repeated monthly because they kill all of the parasites that are in the pet’s system that have infected him or her in the last thirty days.  The picture that came to mind when I was trying to make it understandable was one of a rainstorm.  Bear with me…Heartworm preventatives are not umbrellas – they are windshield wipers.  Your dog is continually at risk of being bitten by a mosquito that is carrying heartworm larvae (L3) – the mosquito would be the cloud and the heartworm larvae would be the raindrop…if clouds were buzzy and annoying and raindrops were potentially fatal.

The Worm

We think of heartworm preventatives as protecting our pets against heartworm disease, and they do.  But they do it more as a windshield wiper (that sweeps every thirty days) than an umbrella that is a constant barrier to infection.  Our pets are at risk of being infected by heartworm larvae – but are protected from heartworm disease that is caused by adult heartworms in the pulmonary vessels and heart.

The Disease

I think the disease should be called subcutaneous-tissue-then-pulmonary-arteries-and-if-it-is-a-really-heavy-infestation-even-right-heart-and-vena-cava-worms, but it is not.  Heartworm is too cute of a name for such a horrid disease.

That’s All I’ve Got.

If that helps you understand the pathogenesis of heartworm disease, awesome.  It helps me to be disciplined when giving heartworm preventative medication to my pets to think of it as a “windshield wiper” stopping heartworm larvae that may have already started their unholy travels to the very heart of my pets, rather than a barrier or “umbrella” that I can just put up when it is sunny and warm and just right for a heartworm attack.  If it just grosses you out, and you like being grossed out, that is good too, I suppose!

Coming Soon…More Awesome Heartworm Information of Some Sort

Let me know what other heartworm related topics you would like to cover.  Ideas…heartworm disease in cats and ferrets, treating heartworm disease, I would love a guest post from someone who has had a pet with heartworm disease, or worked in a rescue organization and dealt with heartworm disease, or any guest post with a heartworm-related story!  Let me know if you have topic ideas or would like to write a guest post here!

Today’s To Do List:
Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet
Max the Cat – topical Revolution
(Joy the Puppy is on injectable Proheart 6.)

Coming Next Month…

How do injectable sustained release heartworm prevenative medications (Proheart 6 and Proheart 12) work?

Previous Happy Heartworm Free Month Posts…

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

American Heartworm Society Website

Isn’t this FUN?

 

The more that you read,The more things you will know.The more that you learn,The more places you’ll go.

-Dr. Seuss

Tomorrow Will Worry About Itself

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Our herd is down from eight to three, 37.5% of capacity, and we are not repopulating.  Fortunately, Max the Cat, Noodle the Poodle and Joy the Puppy all tolerate hugs*, because they have been put on Grief Duty.  I find myself asking “Who’s next?” and waking the poor things up if they are sleeping too comfortably.  Noodle has been known to sleep with all four paws up on occasion.  He has been the recipient of the rudest awakenings.

In an attempt to back off from this dangerous path, I am making the conscious decision to appreciate my pets on a day-to-day basis and enjoy the time I have with them.  Yes, approximately 67% of the remaining herd is oldie-old, but they are also all healthy, and probably tired of being included in my late night panics.  So hold me accountable.  There is much grieving yet to do, but I do not want to miss out on today.

I can’t really pull myself out of this of course, even with all of your wonderful support (And you ARE wonderful – thank you so much for walking through this with us) – This is going to take the power of God Himself.  While I hope you are in a happier season, this next quote is a good reminder to us all, and then a word of “encouragement” from my very favorite singer ever, Rich Mullins.  And then, I will come visit the blogs of other pet blogger friends on the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop.  And then…I am going to go hug my cat.

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“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

-Jesus

“It’s hard to be like Jesus.”

-Rich Mullins

*Note:  Hugging most dogs is ill-advised.  Normal dogs do not like hugs.  Hugging most cats is just asking for it.  Our pets are all sorts of special.  Do not attempt this at home unless you are a Trained Pet Hugger.  I am not.  I just have really tolerant pets.